Taking Stock – The Year in Review
I don’t mean to scare you, but 2015 is right around the corner – maybe sooner than you think. Whether you will be spending the next three weeks thinking about your business, your current job, your department performance, your career direction or your own personal situation, it is time to begin begin a year in review. It is the perfect time to take stock – where you are, where you’ve been, and where you want to go – before it is next year.
Each good year must come to an end
The end of each year is most often used to wrap up loose ends. If one is really on the ball, it is also set aside to plan new beginnings. Some may have started a few weeks ago (least some preliminary work) while the majority will be reviewing their year this month. Often going back over your year is aligned with employer year-end bonus programs or year-end performance reviews.
As 2014 draws to a close, ask yourself “How am I feeling about my year? Whether you are looking at the business or yourself, requesting feedback from colleagues, employers, friends and family can be extremely helpful. Why not begin engaging now over lunch, coffee or a drink with those who know you best, understand your ambitions, and sincerely wish you success? There are most certainly benefits to hearing the perspective of your ‘support team’ through casual conversation.
The year in review
- What worked & WHY? (start by giving yourself a pat on the back for what you achieved, produced, created and accomplished in 2014)
- What didn’t work & WHY? (what assumptions, projections, threats, opportunities, came into play)
- What on-going initiatives will carry forward in 2015?
- What are your Core Competencies (strengths, weaknesses, skills, knowledge, processes, etc.)?
- What can be improved and what actions can you take immediately to make this happen?
- What will it take daily, weekly, monthly? Who will you need to help support you? What resources are needed?
Although we may celebrate the highs, it is often the lows that stay with us. Remind yourself of your successes and consider how you can position yourself to repeat them. Believe it or not, this effort is usually forgotten in the eagerness to plan for the future.
Plan the next year – or five
- Did I set any goals for my career this year — formally or informally?
- What is my longer-term career goal, and how does my current position help me move closer to it?
- How will I know if I am on the right path?
- What are the responsibilities for which I am best suited, and is there a way to incorporate more of these into my work so I am able to achieve my career aspirations?
- What should my timeline be for achieving key milestones in my career?
- What’s the next step in my career and when should I be taking this next step?
- What do I need to prepare myself and position myself for this next step?
- Does my current job reflect my future careers goals?
- What do I want to be doing more of in my career?
- What do I want to be doing less of in my career?
- What new skills have I acquired and what have I learned?
- What opportunities were gained and lost?
- Do I need to find a new employer to make the next step?
Your year – perception vs. fact?
If you spend any time online, you must have seen the “Perception vs. Fact” tongue-in-check postings on Facebook. It is interesting how much truth there can be in sarcasm. If you were to make one of these charts for yourself, what images would you choose?
- What I Do
- What Others Think I Do
- What I Should Be Doing
Once you’ve finished collecting, digesting and writing all of your revelations down, you should be in an excellent position to evaluate your business and/or your achievements and challenges in 2014. The good news is you are now exceedingly well prepared for any year-end meetings with shareholders and/or your next performance evaluation!
If you are feeling challenged and struggling with this kind of exercise, you might want to consider engaging and collaborating with a trusted adviser, “support team” or career coach. Sometimes working with completely objective individuals is the best (and only) way to receive effective and realistic feedback to work on your goals and career plan.
That’s it. It is as simple AND difficult as that!
Evaluate. Plan. Execute. 2015 is going to be your year!
Hope this very inspiring TEDTalk Draw Your Future gets you off on the right foot!