2009 will go down as one of the toughest years in many people’s professional careers and personal lives. “We dodged a bullet” is how many of the more fortunate would characterize their current situation. The unfortunate are licking their wounds; the lucky are exhausted and relieved and a small few are celebrating.
It’s common at this time of year for people to take some small amount of time off to be with family and friends. Only to come back a few days after the holidays and begin with a list of incomplete items left behind at yearend. Unfortunately, this leaves people less than ambitious and energized about the New Year. Merely surviving last year – while a relief – is not a powerful platform upon which to achieve great things in the next.
The end of the year affords the opportunity to take a deep breath, reflect on successes and shortfalls, learn as much as possible from the good and bad, and prepare ourselves powerfully for a new year.
It makes a big difference for managers and executives to take stock of this year, and position themselves to enter the New Year with energy, conviction, clarity of purpose and focus. From this centered, deliberate stance, they can support their teams in creating the kind of momentum that will allow for the achievement of bold, audacious strategies and objectives.
We recommend managers and executives take these three steps:
Step One: Review these questions personally, making notes of the answers, and ask your team members to do the same:
1. What am I most proud of accomplishing?
2. Where did I/we fall short?
3. What regrets do I have, if any?
4. What have I learned, personally and professionally?
5. Is there anything I would like to be acknowledged for?
6. Is there anyone I would like to acknowledge?
7. Is there anything else I need to say to feel complete?
Step Two: Gather as a team and share your responses to 1-7 with the entire team. Once this is complete, ask each member to share their vision for success, answering the following questions:
8. How would I like to see our team wining this year?
9. What would I like to see us accomplishing this year as an organization or team?
10. What is most important for me (my group) to accomplishment this year?
Step Three: After everyone has completed, engage your team in a discussion around the following question:
11. Do I have any requests of others to help me/us be successful in the New Year?
One thing to note. Reviewing everyone’s key objectives for the New Year and reconciling any support, resource and alignment issues could lead to a lengthy discussion. But the time you invest getting it right at the beginning of the year will pay off in significantly increased traction later on.