Reflecting on the Past Year and Preparing for the Best Year Yet
A Guide to Setting Leadership Goals and Achieving Success in the New Year
The end of the year is an ideal time to reflect, celebrate, and plan.
- What highlighted the year for me?
- How did I meet my goals?
- How did we do this year?
- What should we do next year?
Over the past few years, I have taken an intentional, introspective look at my year each December.
I find a quiet spot, either building a fire by the creek or setting up at a coffee shop. I walk through a process of reflection and vision for the year to come so that come January 1, I’m ready to launch into the new year.
Leaders need to reflect on the past year and set goals for the year to come. But this process should be more than just individual achievement.
We must also include the team.
How can we align our personal goals with the team's focus?
This year-end goal-setting process and reflection can help leaders to:
- Improve individual performance
- Build cohesion within the team’s efforts
- create a more productive team.
Let’s walk through the building blocks of a transformative year-end plan:
First, it's important to take a step back and reflect on the past year.
- What worked well?
- What didn't?
- What did we accomplish?
By taking the time to reflect on these questions, leaders can gain insight into how they can improve their own performance, as well as the team's performance. This lays an important foundation for the future.
We have to know where we’re starting, right?
Speaking of starting, we need to take a pulse of the current reality.
What headwinds are we facing, what is on our plate right now, and what are the immediate needs?
- Staffing gaps
- Skill gaps
- Financial gaps
Each of these put pressure on our current reality, and it impacts how we start in the new year.
Now we can finally get to the good stuff, right?
Don’t forget: not all of us are wired to look to the future.
73% of us are rooted in yesterday and today, so this might not come naturally to you.
Once we have adequately reflected, though, it should help us lift our eyes to what comes next.
Looking ahead needs to take a few factors into account:
- Personal leadership/development skills: what areas do I need to grow in during the next year?
- Team-oriented: what gaps do we need to fill? Do we need to develop our team/culture/productivity? Are there BHAG goals we need to set?
- Personal, outside of work: what sparks your curiosity and needs focus in the new year?
SETTING STRONG GOALS
These goals should be specific, measurable, and aligned with the team's focus and your personal mission.
For example, if the team focuses on improving customer satisfaction, a leader might set a goal to increase the number of positive customer reviews by a certain percentage.
It's also important to communicate these goals to the team and involve them in the goal setting process.
By doing so, leaders can create a sense of ownership and accountability among team members.
This can increase motivation and help to create a more collaborative and productive team.
“There’s two buttons I never like hittin’, and that’s panic and snooze.”
- Ted Lasso
The 100 Day Sprint
In addition to setting goals, it's important for leaders to regularly check in on progress throughout the year.
Our Leaders Rising Network team lays out 100 day sprints. These are short enough we can see the finish line, but long enough that we can accomplish a lot of great work.
When we only set annual goals, we tend to forget about them for 10 months of the year.
Setting, remembering, and staying accountable to your expectations will make the new year far more productive.
This can be done through regular team meetings or one-on-one conversations with team members. By doing so, leaders can identify any issues early on and make adjustments as needed to stay on track.
The end of the year is a great time for leaders to reflect on the past year and set goals for the upcoming one.
But it’s not enough to do this in a vacuum. It's important to focus on aligning those goals with the team's focus and involving your team in the process. The goal, after all, is to build a high-performing team.
Follow through on this year-end journey, and you will be a leader worth following.
Build Your Growth Plan
Our Leaders Rising Network team is embarking on this work for ourselves, and we want to invite you along.
We are hosting virtual Growth Guide workshops. These workshops are designed to carve out time with you to walk through our Growth Guide, reflecting on the past year and building toward the new year.
This workshop is our gift to you.
We’ll give you 60 minutes of focused time to walk through our 18-page guide, build your gameplan for the new year, and ask clarifying questions.
What's coming for you in 2024?
Build Your Growth Plan