Business leaders need to hold both the short term and long term simultaneously. A year in review exercise can help align our short term objectives with our long term vision.
I know… not another blog post on year in review planning. But in this one I’m not going to tell you how to do yours. I’m going to share an aha I’ve gained – should I say earned – in working through mine.
Every year I do an exercise to complete the year and plan for the next.
As an entrepreneur, my complete the year mixes business and personal. I step back and take a wider view of everything that happened. First without evaluating anything. A dump of what happened. Then I revisit the story to pull out the insights and lessons learned.
I sort of do a lean stop-start-continue to embrace the new year afresh. I have a few gurus I follow that come up with year-end templates. And then I morph something that works for me.
Regular Practice of Reviews
I also do a regular business practice around OKRs (objectives and key results). I set them for the near term 4 months and review them 3 times a year. This way OKRs don’t get mixed into quarterly looks at financials and KPIs.
All this clashes together at year end. Or is that year start.
This 2020 clash was of titan proportions.
It was such a huge year for me (doesn’t everyone say that). A lot happened. It was foundational for the launch of my online course business line. And… the pandemic and getting COVID last March upended my trajectory. I was forced to slow down, roll with it, learn hard lessons. I call it digging in the dirt to get traction that will come to fruition in 2021.
In truth, I know how I faired with my OKRs the last quarter before looking at the measurements. The results were mixed. Some successes. And I missed the mark on my most important one. Was that me setting bad OKRs, or just part of growing a new business line during a global pandemic.
2020 was a hard year to review
It was hard to sit down to do the year completion his year. January held so much promise. And real disappointment bookended December. So, I just took a breath and began the completion exercise. And something amazing happened.
I began to see everything in it’s entirety. How much I have grown. That I have stepped up as a leader. And I exercised my resilience muscle. And deepened relationships. What I am learning about what is essential – for me and for my customers.
So the aHa is… yes, I’m a big believer in creating a few tight focused objectives. To setting up concrete ways of measuring results. I also believe it needs to be complimented with a wider view that gives you more perspective to how this tight near-term focus fits into the longer view. To regain clarity on meaning.
Wasn’t that also the lesson of 2008. When the financial bubble created by short term incentives finally burst.
For me, one of the challenges for entrepreneurs is holding the short view and the long view simultaneously.
How’s your review and planning going this year?
I believe OKRs can be hard for marketers who already measure everything and can have too many competing objectives and demands. But that’s another story… that you can read about in these blog posts: