‘’We do not learn from experience, we learn from reflecting on experience’’
John Dewey – philosopher, psychologist, and educational reformer
Each December instead of releasing my monthly blog on 21st of the month, I release it early in the month giving readers time to reflect before the Christmas ‘rush’. As it is coming up to the traditional Christmas and New Year holiday period in Australia where employees head off for holidays, it is a good time for managers and business owners to reflect on the previous year.
While it is normally considered a good time to plan for the year ahead, by setting goals and targets ready for the resumption of work after the holiday period, being well-rested, with batteries recharged ready for the challenge of the new year, it is also a good time to “look back”, that is to reflect on the previous year.
Is looking back bad?
If you are not reviewing the previous 12 months you often lose perspective on what has been achieved and what has not worked out as planned. Here are three questions you should ask yourself and your team in looking back over the previous year.
- WHAT did we do well last year and WHY?
While it is important to recognise and celebrate wins, it is just as important to ask the questions
– ‘How did we have these wins?’
– ‘What were the actions that we as a team took to get this great result?’
Note the reasons down, share these with the team and have a goal to continue this strategy.
- WHAT did we do badly this year and WHY?
Sadly, many of us blame others, and make excuses as to why things fail. It’s time to put our egos aside and be honest as to the causes of the failures.
– ‘Where did we fail?’
– ‘Where did we not strive hard enough?
– ‘Where did we not act like a team?
– ‘When was the customer not put ahead of ourselves?
– ‘What happened and what did YOU do to contribute to that result?
Make a note of the answers to the above questions and ensure that we do not do that again. After all, as managers we are accountable!
- WHAT goals did we set this time last year that we did not achieve and WHY?
As Albert Einstein said, “Insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting different results”, so establishing the same goals and associated actions as last year will most likely give you the same result.
– ‘Why did we set them?
– ‘Why didn’t we achieve them?’
‘- Did these goals really matter?
– ‘Is it different this time?’
Discuss with your team as to whether the goals are still a priority, and should they be the same goals again for this year?
Having answered these questions, honestly and openly you and your team are ready to set goals and plans for the next calendar year.
Does your team have the skills, capabilities, work ethic and behavioural characteristics to be a ‘winning’ team for next year?
To my blog readers, best wishes for Christmas and 2019