A Different View in Your Year-End Review

I was just talking with a friend of mine about change. I was describing that in order to create effective change, we need to first inspect the situation in order to understand where we’re starting. It helps us understand where we are and what might need changing in order to get where we’d like to go.

As we near the end of the year, it’s a natural time to evaluate where you are. How far have you come this year? What have you done well? What has happened that was “less than” what you hoped it would be? What mistakes do you think you made?

Are you ready and willing to take a look at your year?

I suggest that you first begin by reviewing your business. Imagine that you see in front of you a small scale model of your business. This model is complete. It shows the building and space with each room exactly as it looks right now. It includes all of the people that are in the business doing whatever they might be doing right now. It includes mini-clients, as well. Remember to include yourself, too. So, this model is sitting on the table in front of you. It is large enough so you can see the detail and, yet, small enough that you can easily view it all in a glance. Once you  have this model clearly in front of you, then it’s time to begin your evaluation. Put yourself in the role of objective observer. Then, inspect each aspect of this business. Have a pen and paper handy so that you can record what you observe. How are the people interacting with each other? How many of the rooms are full and for how many hours of the day are they full? Are there any staff members that are doing less than the owner might like? Which staff members are doing even more than what is expected? How well is the marketing plan working — is there even a marketing plan? Take the time to assess each aspect of the model you see in front of you. Make sure that you take good notes on what you “see”.

Now that you’ve completed that review, I have a more difficult task for you. It’s time to do the same thing with your own life. Imagine that you could hold a small version of yourself in your hands — maybe like a doll. Then, take time to inspect this person as an observer. How happy is this person? How often does he smile? How does she interact with others? What are his days like? What mistakes does this person make in their day or week? What does this person do extremely well? Again, remember to write your observations on your notepad. Is there a cloud hanging over this person you are observing or is it always sunny weather? What is this person’s daily life like? Is this person happy with their home life — spouse, children, pets and extended family? Take time to notice each aspect of this person and their life. Make sure to write down all that you’ve observed.

Once you’ve completed the review, it’s time to make some recommendations for improvement. Pick a few aspects of the business and the person where you could make a suggestion about how to improve. Write down what you think could be improved and how that business or person might accomplish this change. Second, make sure to write down specific things that the business and person are doing well. Be as detailed as possible. Lastly, write a brief outline of the next step that the business could take towards improvement. Then, also write that same brief outline of the next step for the person’s improvement.

Doing this exercise from an observer’s point of view makes you more neutral as you evaluate it. Your review is more likely to be complete this way.

This week, I’ve already given you the Coach’s Challenge right in the article. So, I hope that you take some time to do this exercise. Remember to be neutral and kind to yourself!

May this work help you create an effective plan for improvements in the coming year.