The best part about this time of year is being with family, buying presents and gorging on deliciously rich food. (And not necessarily in that order.) The worst part about this time of year is the terrible exercise called, “Where did we fall short this year?” That is the piece I want to talk about today.
No matter who you work for (yourself or others), the very harmful exercise called ‘take stock of the year’ seems to be a permanent requisite rite of passage. Because it ALWAYS starts with, where did we go wrong? What target did we miss? What customer did we lose? And the dreaded, Why (or how) did we let it happen?
Many enlightened business souls call this time The Post-Mortem. As in, what were the learnings we need to take on board so that next year, we don’t fall short nearly as badly?
These meaningless annual processes
Are nothing more than a nasty, demoralizing way to get everyone to recognize their best is not good enough. And to work harder, not wiser. And an opportunity for all to appear earnest – despite knowing there is precious little real opportunity for improvement.
Lest you think I have become a heretic, let me hasten to add I am solidly behind the ‘how are we doing, how close are we, and what do we need to change to shorten the gap?’ conversations. Right now, I think it is high time to change the way we look at our previous twelve months. Let’s ease up on ourselves!
When it comes to our family and friends, we all recognize there are times when we need to decide to ‘go with the flow’ rather than dictate the course we share with one another. As a matter of fact, we know we must let go of the need to have things our way and simply allow the relationship to shape our direction.
So how come we find it so damn difficult to loosen up with our businesses?
Most of us know nothing, especially results, is ever a straight line. Despite what experts and gurus and some leaders pontificate. Very little is under anyone’s direct control. There is always an ebb and flow — a natural flow of events.
The last two years are a huge testament to that. Could anyone have predicted the pandemic? That it would last this long? And that the light at the end of the tunnel still burns faintly?
Here is my suggestion
Have you noticed everything seems to flow or work out when you stop scrambling and simply allow the sea of opportunities to wash over you? To get into that flow, we need to address our beliefs about money, profit and the true meaning of our personal currency. Personal currency is about our skills, talents and abilities, and most importantly, our core beliefs. Everything flows from our inner world and is reflected in the outer one.
Let’s get in the flow!
A much more effective annual exercise is —.
1. If you met your objectives, go and celebrate. Loudly.
2. If you didn’t meet your objectives, answer these questions.
• Did I give it my best?
• Is there something else I need to learn to give it my best?
• What did I honestly get from or take away from this experience?
• If the world were perfect, what would I do differently?
• What three things can I tackle (better) next year?
And for goodness sakes. Celebrate. You’re still standing! Given the way parts of the world have toppled these last two years, the fact you are still standing, — bruised and battered or shiny and robust – is what is most meaningful.
If you are interested in exploring a different path in your business next year, and perhaps getting more in the flow, please reach out to me.