The ancient Babylonians made them 4,000 years ago. The Romans began their tradition around 46 B.C. with promises of good conduct for the year to come. The Christian tradition is thought to have started in 1740 with the “Covenant Renewal Service,” which was created by the English founder of Methodism, John Wesley.
These days the practice isn’t necessarily a religious one. It’s mostly practiced in a spirit of fun, and while surveys indicate that only 8% of individuals succeed, we continue with the tradition nonetheless.
If you guessed the above revolves around the origins of New Year’s Resolutions, your New Year is off to a good start.
In the spirit of fun, I thought it would be entertaining to name my top 10 New Year’s Resolutions for Household Managers. And no, there will no partridges in pear trees… although I suppose that’s a different tradition altogether.
In no order of significance, here I go:
- I will endeavour to add one new and significant skill to what I can offer my employers. It might be taking an Italian Cooking Class or it could be enrolling in an Excel Program so that I can start creating inventory spreadsheets like a pro. One thing is certain though, all good Household Managers are always on the lookout for ways to improve.
- I will continue the best practice of creating all-important checklists for myself and my employees. Checklists are valuable management tools. They provide organizational frameworks, help employees to do a better and more thorough job, and go a long way in preventing “to do” items from not getting done.
- I will stick to my policy of conducting one weekly staff meeting. I will make sure that the agenda is set beforehand, the meeting is kept to a maximum of one half hour, and sufficient time will be saved so that staff can express feedback or bring important matters to my attention.
- I will stick to my policy of making sure that every staff meeting includes one training item. It might be how to answer the front door or how to take an accurate telephone message, but my relationship with staff will be built upon a foundation of ongoing training.
- I will continue to never succumb to the temptation of breaking my professional obligation of discretion and confidentiality. What happens in my place of employment, remains in my place of employment… always. While dinner party companions might express various levels of curiosity about what I do, and for whom I do it, at most I will only ever respond with a friendly smile and a wink of the eye.
- As a Household Manager I belong to an elite community of a handful of individuals spread across the globe, each of whom have highly-specialized skills and attributes. Because of this, I will strive to be an Ambassador for my profession. I will provide mentorship and coaching for those seeking to enter the field. This might include something as simple as responding to a query on social media or speaking about what I do on a Career Day at my alma mater.
- While I know the expression is verboten in my field, I will seek to strike that elusive “life / work balance.” I will do this because I know that when my body and mind are in good health, I will provide a superior service for my Principals. So, I will make the time to be with my family, or go out on a date, or go to a yoga or spin class, while never sacrificing my responsibilities as a Household Manager.
- I will complete the Household Manuals I started when I began my job. I will do this because it was a promise to my Employers, the manuals will provide my colleagues with an information resource when I am not available, and they will capture valuable household data for my replacement if I decide to move onto a different position at some point in the future.
- I am aware that the role of Household Manager often requires patience and that, in the past, I have seen my patience tested and go up in smoke. This year I will strive to cultivate greater stoicism by doing things like taking a mere 10 minutes in my office to quietly meditate and focus on something other than work, or go for a refreshing walk around the block, or call a friend or colleague who has a special ability to put matters in perspective.
- I work for UHNWIs, but their lives do not define my own. Because of that, I will seek to carve out space in my busy schedule to volunteer, even if for only a day, for an organization that means something significant to me and my community.
While the above exercise is more than a little hypothetical since I am not currently working as a Household Manager, I want to believe that I would fall into that very small group of people who are successful in keeping their New Year’s Resolutions, mostly because I think there are some good ones in there.
So, that’s my “kick at the can.” What is your New Year’s Resolution as a Private Service Professional? I’m probably not the only one who would love to hear from you. In fact, I believe we could all learn by hearing from you.
Before I go though, thank you to everyone who have read and responded – both affirmatively and critically – to my articles. I would like to wish everyone a Happy New Year. On behalf of Portico Inc., may each of you achieve what you hope to achieve in 2018.
Article written by Scott Munden of Portico Inc and comes highly recommended if you are looking for private staff for your home in 2018