Why End of Year Reflection Matters and How to Make the Most of It

The end of the year is the time when everyone, especially executives and CEOs, should spend some time contemplating and reviewing “why we are in business.” It’s important to take time to step back, look at the Company and assess if you are achieving your purpose.

The importance of intentional reflection

The single biggest thing that would change things for every CEO I work with is to carve out space for thoughtful deliberation. Reflections are often forced by the nature of year-end reviews, but it’s important not to fall into that process with no intention – you must make the intentional time and space for quality meditation.

I highly recommend Cal Newport’s book Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World for some inspiration on how to make the most of your reflection time. One easy suggestion is to purposely carve out time in your calendar. Make the time for deep deliberation without distractions to make the most of your review period.

Topics like how closely the team came to achieving the goals set for the year, who’s accomplishing which things, and whether the right people are on the team make rich fodder for reflection. During this time, it’s important to look at the skills and capabilities of the leadership team. Who are the trusted “deliverers”? A map of future goals for 2017 will help you evaluate whether the necessary skillset matches up with the existing team. Make some time to review your direct reports and quality of the work they’re giving you.

The surprising question leaders fail to ask

As you think about skill development and acquisition, don’t forget to keep an eye on unused resources within the organization. A surprising question many forget to ask is “What are you good at that I’m not taking advantage of?”

What would you hear back from your team if you asked this question?

When you go through the process of asking this simple question, it reveals new insights from your team, and wins employee adoration and enthusiasm. Many times, employees are thinking “you’re not even using me for what I do best.”

Sometimes people avoid making the time and space to do a deep year-end reflection because they’re afraid of the answers that will come up to the questions, but they know what the questions are they need to ask. Don’t let your fear of confrontation hold you back. With some proper scheduling and planning, you can use all the information at your fingertips to plan for a 2017 that is your best year ever.