Before you move forward take a look back

Before you move forward take a look back


‘’We do not learn from experience, we learn from reflecting on experience’’ – John Dewey


As our well-rested minds and bodies commence the new year with optimism and vigour, we can get carried away with New Year’s resolutions, clean slates and extreme amounts of energy that comes from lying on a beach for a couple of  weeks.  

So many of our clients are in the midst of staff planning days, strategy meetings, team love-ins, all getting pumped up for the year ahead.  Goals are being set, targets are being mounted on the wall, and lots of fist pumping is happening for what will be achieved together this year.  

I know, we are doing exactly this ourselves!

I don’t want to be a dampener on your enthusiasm for the year that is going to be ‘the best year yet’, however it is not time to close off 2015 completely.  Before you look forward take a look back and ask yourself and your team these four questions:

1. What did we do well last year and why?

It is incredibly important to recognise and celebrate wins however among the bell ringing, cheering and high fives we can often forget to stop and ask ‘how did we have this win’?  What was the actions that we took to get us this great result?  Now let’s do some more of that!

2. What did we do badly this year and why?

Let’s cut the excuses and the blame and get honest with ourselves.  Where did we stuff up?  Where did we not push hard enough?  Where did we not act like a team?  Where did we put ourselves before our customers?  What ever happened that was not so good, face it head-on.  What happened and what did YOU do to contribute to that result?  Now, how do we not do that again?  I love the quote by Robin Sharma “Our current conditions are echoes of our past choices.”  It’s all about true accountability.

3. What goals did we set this time last year that we didn’t achieve and why?

Are we on the road to setting the same goals again and having exactly the same result?  Why did we set them (they were obviously important enough at the time) and why didn’t we achieve them (they somehow became not as important at some stage)?  Before you go putting them on the goal list again ask your team whether it really matters.  What is going to be different this time? Why is it more important now that we will actually achieve it?  Sometimes we just need to agree that whilst we want to achieve a goal or want to care about a particular process, it actually isn’t a priority and we should just let it go.

4. What makes us a winning team?

No doubt the make-up of your team would’ve changed since this time last year. What new skills, capabilities and behavioural strengths is within your team and what will make your team a winning a team.  There is an emphasis on ‘your’.  Don’t worry about what makes ‘a’ winning team, understand ‘your’ team and what actions, targets and rewards are going to work for you.

Once you have clarity on the above you are free to run forward into the frenzy of target setting!  Don’t forget to set some stretch goals with awesome stretch rewards to match!

Remember, commitment means staying loyal to what you said you were going to do long after the mood you said it in has left you.  

Happy new year everyone.  I wish you and your teams a fantastic 2016 full of accountability, honesty, consistency and focus.

Sue-Ellen Watts is the founder and director of wattsnext, specialists in HR, recruitment, compliance and people performance.



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