Make Time for Reflection

December 11, 2019

It’s that time of year. The time where endings and beginnings are all jumbled up together.

Planning for the year to come bumps up against the scramble to complete everything that still needs to be done this year.

Our brains…and our schedules…are overcrowded. It’s natural to think that there couldn’t possibly be time for reflection.

The truth is there couldn’t be a more perfect time. This is when learning becomes leading.

At the end of the year, we have all the evidence about what’s working, what’s not working and what can work better with a little adjusting.

Success leave clues.  So does failure.

It’s our job to look at those clues carefully so that we can set the path for success in the coming year. A careful reflection brings insights that can save a lot of time, energy and stress if we use those insights to influence our decisions moving forward.

That’s what leadership is all about.

It’s about connecting the dots between past choices and future actions. Knowing what to do more of, what to do less of and what to do differently.

Year-end reflections can be personal or a team effort. Good leaders do both and use the process to understand where there are gaps between the leader’s vision and the team’s perspective.

Before you shout at me that you have no time, take a minute to think about the time you’ll waste in 2020 if you don’t take the time now.

It doesn’t need to be a crazy, complicated affair. No need to get lost in the weeds or go down the rabbit hole.

In order to do a year-end reflection, ask yourself three simple questions:

  1. What went well in 2019? – Do as much or more of this in 2020.
  2. What didn’t go well in 2019? – Do less (if any) of this next year.
  3. What came close to doing well in 2019? – Decide what to do differently that can make this a win in 2020.

The answers to these questions will give you a good foundation for where to focus your energy as you chart the course for 2020.

In the midst of the holiday hustle and bustle and the year-end rush, take time for reflection. It’s a great investment.

Go forth and do great things,

Martha Hanlon and Chris Williams

Martha & Chris