Conduct a 2012 Review

conduct an end of year personal reviewIt’s the end of the year, a perfect time for conducting a personal review of 2012, using a simple template listing successes, failures and opportunities for the upcoming year. Write out some corrective actions addressing where you fell short and resolve to hold yourself accountable for any needed changes. What do you want to accomplish? Set solid goals that will support making it happen. Approach this activity as an investment in your future, entering 2013 with a plan for personal and professional success.

There’s power in writing it down. There’s a reason that teachers made us write sentences such as, “I will not…” when we misbehaved in school. When you wrote it down, particularly over and over, you remembered whatever it was better. Now writing down your review of the year is anything but a punishment but it is a formal exercise that deserves a dedicated approach. Writing or typing it down, in black and white, on some paper you can regularly pull out and review is the first step in a process that will enable future accountability. Keep it brief, making it a one-sheeter if you can. The idea is to keep it simple and straight-forward, so you’re more attracted to the idea of regularly reviewing it for motivation, checking in, and assessing your progress against your goals.

Be honest. This review is something “for your eyes only,” so being utterly truthful about the good, the bad and the ugly is in your best interest. Paint a picture of the year, pulling together any stats and data you have, as well as feedback you might have gotten from clients/customers, employees or fellow leaders in the organization. Bring those tangibles and non-tangibles together, assessing both what’s qualitative and quantitative, and approach all you’ve got with a non-emotional perspective. Consider using the SWOT analysis if that’s easy and familiar to you. Ask: What really happened this year? What’s not working? What could be better? What’s right or missing that we could do more often? What “vital few” goals should you set? Where are the opportunities?

Regularly read over your review. You don’t want to dwell on the past, but if you just pull out this review once a month, it will be a helpful reminder of your pitfalls, achievements and potential. Just as coaches show old game clips to their teams for lessons learned, this handy tool will serve as a visual reminder to avoid certain moves or to “repeat” a certain “play.” The fact that this handy review is good and short, as well as that it includes your “vital few” goals for 2013, will keep you focusing more on the future, giving you the forward momentum you need to succeed.

Stay accountable. This goes beyond just revisiting your review on a regular basis. Tell someone (e.g., a mentor, professional confidant, your co-leadership or managers) about your goals, what you’re trying to achieve, and a deadline for doing so. Maybe go so far to share that it’s a New Year’s resolution to follow through on your review’s “opportunities.” No plan is ever perfect, so you might need to make adjustments and share those with this confidant, but having someone to check in with, who knows about the review and your desire to meet its identified goals will add a layer of seriousness and discipline to your assessment and its ultimate objective: better business health for 2013.

How can you keep on track with this New Year’s “review” resolution?

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