At year end, an entrepreneur’s mind is on many things, from a look back at the past year to a look at next year and how to organize it. To that end, I created “The December Project” to help take stock of where I’ve been and where I’m going in order to hit the ground running next year.
These four basic questions are usually pondered one at a time, but when separated out, they help us to see things a bit differently. And when asked of your entire management team, these questions help foster an enlightening and productive conversation on the current state of the company and where it’s going. (Plus, their answers and perspectives just might surprise you…)
Q1 – What 2016 accomplishments are you most proud of?
This is tough for most entrepreneurs, as we rarely take time to pat ourselves on the back and usually focus only on the misses. But taking the time to reflect and expand on our wins reminds us how good we really are. It also allows your team to feel good and celebrate a bit too.
Q2 – What were your major challenges/failures for 2016?
OK, back in our comfort zone. We can create this list, but this time, write it down. You can then better discuss each in-depth in terms of what went wrong, and you can then learn from it and let all of it go—because it does you no good to enter the new year harboring past guilt.
Q3 – What are your key goals/focus areas for 2017?
To be sure, we all have an extensive list rattling around in our heads, so here again, write it down! This will prevent the pace at which business runs from combining with our short attention span and causing things to fall through the proverbial cracks. Plus, hearing your team’s list in its entirety helps you to prioritize the first quarter, ensuring a fast start to the year.
Q4 – What must you stop doing in 2017?
You may think this is the same as Q2, but it’s not. This is more about what tired old habits need to change going forward in order to grow and succeed. Just because it has worked since 2010 doesn’t mean it’s effective today, so identify those soon-to-be bad habits and let them go before they really cost you.
As always – these are my thoughts, I could be wrong. So, if you disagree or simply want to add to it, please do so. I look forward to the conversation.
Dwain – CEO Rider