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Not so fast. Each December brings about a variety of conflicting business mindsets, each of which is important to recognize and explore.
You have likely set 2022 goals and projections by now. As you enthusiastically anticipate great things for your business this coming year, you may also feel defeated by goals that were not accomplished over the past eleven months. Look for the learning.
You may be pushing back feelings of disappointment that the recovery from the pandemic didn’t happen as quickly or easily as you had hoped. Along with the joy of your many accomplishments, you may be disappointed in yourself or certain members of your team for not having advanced enough to your expectations. Look for the learning. What held you or them back?
As all you great leaders are also human beings, there are also your personal experiences to explore and learn from. You may have had many enjoyments such as adding new friends or family members; having set and mastered your personal goals; finally purchasing and actually using your Peloton bike.
Blended in with your personal 2021 experiences may be a sense of loss. You or someone close to you may have suffered an illness or injury. Many of us have lost someone important to us this past year. There is huge learning from each of these experiences, happy or sad.
There’s wisdom in slowing down to list, explore and learn. Moving too quickly into the new year we may miss the many valuable lessons that each month of 2021 has taught you.
Entrepreneurs and business leaders are typically more likely to spend time planning their future than evaluating the past. Yet, how can you fix something when you don’t know it’s broken? How will you celebrate achievements when you don’t realize how significant they are to your overall success? Taking time to conduct a year-end review of your business will ensure that you won’t begin your new year with the same troubled systems, processes and problems.
I can assure you that I, along with most of my clients, choose not to relive painful experiences of the past. However, if we don’t stop long enough to delve a little deeper, we miss the valuable lessons. So where do you begin?
One of the first questions I ask clients during sessions is simple: “What have you learned since last we met?” Once they get in the rhythm of knowing this question is coming, their answers flow easily.
There’s always something to learn, week-by-week, month-by-month and now we’re looking at the larger picture of year-by-year. Unless you pause and process your significant experiences, your learning evaporates. Thus, you find yourself in the same sticky situations, attracting the wrong people onto your teams or making mistakes that feel all too familiar to you.
This learning begins with you, my fearless leaders. The time you take to work through this process pays long-term dividends beyond your imagination. You can make this a quick and easy process by looking at your year as a whole. Simply ask: “What went right?” “What went wrong?” “What needs to change?” And go from there.
Or you can get more specific with detailed questions. For example, look at each month with the shifting government regulations and economic conditions. What staffing or other changes did you make that proved successful? What didn’t work so well? What employee feedback helps you decide what to keep, modify or eliminate. Listen to your clients, customers and employees.
Or you can segment your business out into functions. What successes or failures did you experience in your marketing, sales, customer service and other departments? Make this a department exercise to analyze what went right, what went wrong and what improvements need to be made.
It’s important to not leave out the personal side of your year-end review. I have a list of questions that I’d be happy to share with you for this purpose. One item I find intriguing, beyond the typical need to eat better and exercise more, is the need to deepen relationships outside of work. These are important categories to explore prior to beginning a brand new year.
I’ve given you many questions and considerations to investigate and learn from as you close out your year. It mostly boils down to what major goals were accomplished, and which were not? What contributed to both results? What are your primary lessons learned? What needs to change or remain the same? Who on your team excelled and who did not? What factors contributed to each scenario?
Leaders, as you and your teams enjoy the Holidays, I implore you to take time out for these important reviews and revelations. It all starts with you, then bring in others for their vital insights, feedback and suggestions. May each of you close out 2021 on a high note with this newfound knowledge. Your very Happy New Year is right around the corner. Enjoy.
Executive and Leadership Coach Ann Golden Eglé, MCC, has steered highly successful individuals to greater levels of success since 1998. Ann is President of Golden Visions & Associates, LLC, can be reached at 541-385-8887, firstname.lastname@example.org or GVAsuccess.com.