The end of the year is just over a month away. On the one hand, we’re eagerly counting the days until the end of the year so that we can go on our well-deserved holidays, and on the other we’re aware of what’s in our inbox to be completed before the Christmas shutdown. This time of the year is often associated with pausing, looking back, and taking stock. If you were to ask yourself whether 2019 was a good year for you or not, your answer will most likely be based on your experiences during the year. There were no doubt some happy moments, and obviously some sad or less enjoyable ones. However, some experiences weigh more than others, so your reflection process will be a subjective tally, and you’ll decide whether it was a good or not so good year.
Reflection is commonly used to assess our personal and professional life but seldom do we use the power of reflection process within a team and consciously take the time in our companies to reflect and celebrate. When I talk about celebrating, I’m not referring to the traditional year-end functions or team-building activities, but the process of really going inward and reflecting on the team’s successes, learnings, and challenges.
Past research suggests that focusing, planning, and setting meaningful goals for the future is important to increase well-being and positive functioning. Also, the main goal theory researchers, Locke and Latham state that goal setting is an effective way to receive feedback on performance and progress. During the year, we tend to focus on completing goals, sometimes perhaps even doing it without questioning whether we’re moving towards the goal or away from it. We don’t often take the time to reflect on what we’ve accomplished and whether what we’re doing makes any sense. We’re extremely focused on getting things done and meeting deadlines.
It’s very important to engage with a reflection process in your team and spend time, especially at this time of the year, to look at what has happened over the past year. It’s good to assess the goals you’ve achieved, which ones weren’t met, and what you’ve learned as a team. You’ll also need to consider what you’re taking into next year and what you’re leaving behind.
A Three-Step Reflection Process for You and Your Team
The following exercise will assist you to consciously monitor your progress and take you through a three-step reflection process you can use in your team and company to accurately review 2019.
Step 1: Explaining the Process and Intent of Goal Monitoring
This stage is self-explanatory and doesn’t require much elaboration. From the outset, you’ll need to tell your team what you’re going to do, why you’re doing it, and what the purpose is. This is to make sure that there is no resistance and that they all participate honestly. Highlight the importance for them as a team as well as individuals.
Step 2: Create Review Questions
Together with the team, think of questions that will help them track their 12-month progress. Start with light questions and then move onto meatier ones. Some examples are:
- What did we accomplish over the last 12 months that we’re proud of?
- What experiments did we attempt, and how successful were we with them?
- What are some of the things we’ve learned about ourselves in the last year?
- What are the things we want to take into next year?
- What didn’t work for us in the past year that we want to stop doing?
- What do we want to recognise ourselves for?
- What are some of our goals for the upcoming year?
- How do we want to celebrate our wins?
Step 3: Plan Future Review Meetings
Invite the team to schedule a 30-minute meeting once a month – or once every quarter – to review progress made. Waiting to do this at the end of the year can be a long time, and bringing in frequent check-ins maintains motivation, energy, and commitment. Also, it’s important to give regular feedback on whether they’re progressing in the right direction or not. Make the meeting non-negotiable, and if for some reason it can’t happen, reschedule it rather than cancelling it.
This three steps reflection process is easy to follow and doesn’t require any preparation. Your team will give you all the answers so make sure you really listen to them. It’s things like this which open communication, establish future developmental areas, and highlight past successes. It also brings to the forefront any weaknesses and highlights what didn’t work. We need to talk about all of it. Make sure that you focus on growth, achievements and acknowledge the members of your team. It’s also extremely important to end the session on a high note.
You might be concerned that you don’t have the time for a reflection process at this time of year and that it sounds like a lengthy process, but it shouldn’t take you more than an hour to 90 minutes. Trust me, it’s time well spent time investing in your team and giving them the necessary energy to be more engaged in their work at this time of the year.
For more information on how you can start creating a healthy workplace culture, contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org. Our consultants are available to help you set up a sustainable and strong strategy which puts your best resources – your people – first.
- Kahana, E., & Kahana, B. (1983). Environmental continuity, futurity and adaptation of the aged. In G.D. Rowles & R.J. Ohta (Eds.), Aging and milieu (pp. 205-228). New York: Haworth Press.
- Locke, E.A., & Latham, G.P. (1990). A theory of goal setting and task performance. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.
- Locke, E.A., & Latham, G.P. (2002). Building a practically useful theory of goal setting and task motivation. American Psychologist, 57, 705-717.
- Wills, T.A., Sandy, J.M., & Yaeger, A.M. (2001). Time perspective and early-onset substance use: A model based on stress-coping theory. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 15, 118-125.
- Zaleski, Z., Cycon, A., & Kurc, A. (2001). Future time perspective and subjective well-being in adolescent samples. In P. Schmuck & K.M. Sheldon (Eds.), Life goals and well-being: Towards a positive psychology of human striving (pp. 58-67). Göttingen: Hogrefe & Huber.