As we get closer to the end of the year, things can get a little busy (okay, maybe very busy). I find myself racing to bring projects to the finish line and adding to my to-do list faster than I can cross things off.
In the midst of all this, my 2019 planning calendar arrived in the mail today – the old-fashioned paper kind. The new calendar is clean and new and open to all the possibilities of the new year. The blank white pages remind me that it’s time to take stock – both personally and professionally. If you’re doing the same, here are some ways to plan for the coming new year.
First, think about the past year. At work, you may have a formal review with your boss to talk about all the great things you’ve done. But in addition, you may want to think about the things you didn’t accomplish – missed opportunities, ideas that weren’t brought to fruition, tasks that could have gone better.
While it might not be fun to think about what went wrong, this reflection can be the fuel that gets you fired up about the coming year. What projects do you want to tackle? What new skills do you want to add to your repertoire? And if you’re a people manager, this same line of thinking can be applied to your team and your team members.
Next, talk to the people you interact with every day – your team, your boss, your peers. What are their thoughts about the coming year? I like to use the start-stop-keep model. Ask them: What should we start doing? What should we stop doing? And what should we keep the same? This helps frame the conversation and should yield actionable ideas that you can incorporate into your team goals – or your own.
Talk to your contacts outside the company. What are their challenges with their companies, their daily work, or their teams? How do they plan to address these issues? These ideas may apply to you as well, or they may spark an idea. I meet monthly with two of my peers who I really respect. And I always learn something that helps me to be better.
After all this thinking, it’s time to start plotting tasks on your calendar. If you manage a team, your ideas can be developed into an action plan and goals that can be cascaded down. Collaborating with individuals on these goals can help get buy-in and may also uncover additional action items. Goal-setting software can be helpful in this process, allowing you and your employees to set goals and track performance.
Whether planning for your team or just for yourself, I hope you’ll make time during this busy season to reflect and plan. Having clear goals for the coming year can help you find a good path forward and might just help you get there.
For more on planning strategies, see “Scenarios In Collaborative Enterprise Planning.”