Okay, January is the time of year to make New Year's resolutions, so I would like to offer some resolutions for EW's readers. I promise that they will be more than the two most popular New Year's resolutions: getting organized and losing weight from holiday binging. These resolutions won't force you into a guilt-induced trip to Organized Living to fill a shopping basket with Day Planners, a new filing system or new shelving to organize your office, basement, workshop or garage, or cajole you into trying a “revolutionary” new diet to drop any extra weight accumulated during the recent holidays.

Borrow or steal great marketing ideas and adapt them to your own company

It's easy to forget that marketing your company's services is just as important (if not more important) in a bad economy as in a good one, and that proven marketing ideas often aren't that hard to find. While brainstorming on marketing ideas for the magazine, John Behmke, a former publisher of Electrical Wholesaling used to always say, “Don't shade your eyes, plagiarize.”

He meant to be on the lookout for ideas that other publishing companies were using that we could adapt to this magazine. For electrical distributors, this could translate into seeing how distributors in other trades market their companies.

I am a big believer in the value of the National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors (NAW), Washington, D.C., to electrical distributors, because they can learn from other distributors on marketing their businesses, as well as many other aspects of the distribution business. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. But it's also a way to get great ideas for your company from other distributors working in other trades.

Make a real difference in someone's life at your company

We have all had a boss, coach or teacher somewhere along the way who somehow made us a better person. Try to be that person for a co-worker. For electrical distributors, I mean more than just teaching a new warehouse worker how the inventory is organized in the warehouse — mentor a co-worker by helping him or her with “life skills.”

Maybe it's setting an example, and showing that person that when managing other people, you don't have to yell and scream at people to gain their respect, and that as the old saying goes, you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.

Or perhaps it's leading by example in a job-site crisis. New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani recently said during a television interview with Barbara Walters that he relied on an inner calm while in crisis-mode, and that it helped him think clearly and make effective decisions. He said — only half-joking — that when there wasn't a crisis to work on, he liked to create one, because that's when he was most effective as a mayor.

Be thankful

With all that happened in the world in 2001, taking some time to count my blessings gave me new insight into how fortunate I am to have my health, family and a job that I enjoy.

For me, it really hit home while reading the ongoing series of bios of the victims of the World Trade Center attacks that The New York Times has been running since September. These articles are a very powerful reminder of how quickly one can lose it all. The sudden and devastating impact of the tragic events of 9-11 had an imponderable affect on thousands of ordinary families and communities.

Ridgewood, N.J., a suburb of New York where many residents commute by train to Lower Manhattan's financial district, lost at least a dozen citizens in the attacks. Think about the cars that sat in that train station's parking lot for several days until the fate of the owners was known. It doesn't matter much now that many of those cars in that affluent suburb were probably BMWs or Mercedes, or that their owners were making a killing on Wall Street. Think of the impact that loss has had not only on those families, but also on that town. Some of those victims were leaders with Scout troops, coaches, Sunday school teachers and otherwise active members of that community.

Take some time to reflect on what's really important in your life, and on just how good you really have it.