This is a slow week for any of us working, and yes I'm right there with you. I use this time to prep for next year. One of the projects you may find useful during this time is to go back over the vendor logs to determine which vendors and vendors' reps have had your back during the last year. We often lose track of folks who have saved our butts over the past year and during these hard times they are more likely to lose their jobs as a result. What I'm suggesting is to take part of this week and determine the vendor relationships that we want to preserve and the ones that need to be fixed.
Write Commendation Letters
Commendation letters this time of year can cause a company to rethink a post-New Year's layoff, and many companies hold off on downsizing until the New Year to not spoil the holidays for their folks. A letter right now that speaks to how much the person you depend on is important to you could imply that your account would be at risk should they be replaced and both help assure their job and provide them with the feedback that going that extra mile was worth it. More importantly, doing stuff like this tends to get around and others are likely to take better care of you if they know you'll take better care of them.
Don't just think about vendors though. Include the support people in your own company that don't report to you. And if you are lucky enough to still have an aide or a secretary, it isn't a bad time to write a nice note to them either. For most of us, that job went away a long time ago.
Plan to Replace the Bad Ones
Come up with an action plan to replace the people or vendors who have been a problem during the last year. Get on their manager's calendar, put together your documented evidence, and/or prepare a bid for their replacement. Often we get too busy to take care of problem vendors or employees that don't report to us and while I don't suggest executing the fix over the holidays, because these folks might take it very personally, now is a good time to put together a well-thought-through plan to take corrective action after the holidays are over.
Wrapping Up: Make Sure You Are on the Right List
Now, just as you are reading this, so is someone that you or your department serves. Think about that relationship and ask yourself which steps they are likely to take with regard to you. If it is the latter, consider being proactive and addressing the problem directly with an action plan to make them satisfied again before they go to your management or put out a bid to replace you. They may not write a commendation letter, but you sure as heck don't want them doing the other thing.
So, to make sure your New Year isn't spoiled, take some time to make sure you take care of the folks who took care of you, have a plan to get rid of the problems, and assure you have more people who place you and your group in the former category and fix those that put you in the latter category.
One more thing: Sometimes there are customers who are more trouble than they are worth. You may want to think about firing them as well.
Have a wonderful week and here is hoping you get one of those commendation letters!