Yes, you read that right. End year review for 2016.It would make sense to look at 2015 and do an end year review, but I’d like to throw down the gauntlet to you: imagine this is Dec 2016.
What would you like for 2016 to have looked like?
Have you consistently pursued your goals? We live in a fast pace world economy and that means that unforeseen opportunities arise which can build towards our goals or lead us away from them. This is why, focusing on our goals is a daily/weekly/monthly discipline amid all the noise. For that, a one page year-long / high-level strategy document is quintessential, which helps benchmark where any new opportunity might fit in or not. On the other hand, use your imagination and creativity, and think of those unforeseen or highly improbable opportunities: what did it take for them to become realities? Would it have made sense to consider them as part of your yearly plan?
What was a success, or where did you fall short, and why? Now, of course that you might say that “there’s no way for me to know what will be certainly bring success,” and you are right to think that way. The one thing you can do, however, is increase the probability of that success, by planning for various scenarios, starting with a best case to a worst case (be slightly paranoid if you have to ). Not to be ironic about it, but the best way not to do make mistakes or experience failures is to avoid them. So, plan ahead on what needs to happen or not happen! Do you know what brought you success at the end of 2016 or was it all just “luck”?
Projects and organizations that helped you be a better professional (or not) during 2016? Looking back, it’s great when we can enjoy a fruitful year, but isn’t being busy equally mesmerizing? It’s important to align our own professional development with business goals and ensure that we play to the tune of our strengths, experience and background. This makes you picky, and that’s OK. Some of the organizations and stakeholders whom you interact with might understand that right off the bat and will respect you for it. Others will need to be educated about it, and you’ll need to make pitches as to why your involvement isn’t a necessary or added value step. Saying “no” can be tricky and can be even more difficult than to convince someone you’re critical to a project. At the same time, you don’t want to remain in a status quo. Challenging yourself is what will make you a better professional by learning how to deal with uncomfortable situations, projects, and people.
Are there persons that held you back? Perhaps one of the most challenging areas (or hats) of our professional lives is working with people. If you are in a position to choose whom you are working with, you could be well underway towards efficient collaboration. A common trap is to have in your organization or team only people that you like or who always agree with you. To avoid it, consider that it boils down to their character and ethics, since personality traits, temperament, and background will always be different (as for skills and performance, for me at least, they’re key to success, but always come second to character and ethics). So choose (hire and fire) wisely. If you are not in such a position, you still have a choice. You might want to take on the challenge to deal with people that hold you back by spending the extra effort to compensate for some of their lacks. Otherwise, if any compromise on your side would cross the line of your own principles/values, it could very well be the time for you to make a significant change in your career. Weighing in on the right time for such decisions can save you a lot of effort, frustration, and stress.
Here are a few more questions for you to consider:
- How was 2016 in comparison to 2015 (that means you would have done the same exercise for 2015?
- Did you persevere in your growth/development in 2016 versus 2015?
- How do 2015 & 2016 fall into your professional development long-term plan?
- Oh, do you have a long-term professional development plan?
I would love to hear how did 2016 go for you!