In one way or another, your team has had an incredible year. Fill in the blank: It was incredibly ________(successful, challenging, stressful). Maybe it was all you hoped and planned for. Maybe you got thrown a whopper of a curve ball. Or maybe you can’t wait for the calendar to turn over and start again. Your team’s feeling it too. Don’t throw the opportunity out with the holiday wrappings. Carve out time to talk about it.
It’s tempting to have a “no one talks about work” luncheon, do the secret Santa thing and have a few giggles. Or, to jump right into 2018 planning, “after all the past is behind us.” The best meetings build both results and relationships, and an end-of-year meeting done remarkably well sets the stage for thoughtful reflection and a more energized start to the new year.
How to Have a Remarkable End-of-Year Meeting
Make a CAREful plan and have your best meeting ever.
Celebrate both results and the human beings who achieved them. Be sure your team knows the Most Important Things (MIT) they accomplished in terms of both results and building relationships. For example, it’s not just the 28% increase in efficiency, it’s also that they improved the contentious relationship with IT that made the collaboration possible.
If you’re doing formal recognition, resist the urge to just pick the top three by the numbers of a stack rank. Consider HOW the results were achieved. There’s nothing more demoralizing to a team than seeing their boss recognize some bozo who gamed and back-stabbed his way to the top. If there’s any chance your team will be texting one another “WTF” when an award is given, supplement your criteria to include behaviors that matter.
Acknowledge the disappointments. Acknowledge what you could have done better. Acknowledge the effort that may not have paid off the way you would have hoped. Acknowledge the effort that did. When we ask our audiences “What’s one thing you feel underappreciated for?” at work, the number one answer is always, “The time I spend developing my people.” Acknowledge that too.
Do something to refresh and renew. One year one of my sales managers took his team bird watching in the local park, before digging into their strategic review. Another year I hired a caricature artist to come do a composite sketch of the team. Another time, we had white elephant exchange, but instead of wacky presents, each member of the team brought their favorite business book– people were stealing from one another right and left, and the side effect was a lot of strategic reading and dialogue happening that year. Most years at Verizon, I brought my team to my home for a planning session followed by a dinner celebration. Find some way to refresh and have some fun along with the reflection and planning.
Engage the team. Ask each team member to reflect on their own contributions in terms of results and relationships this year, as well as disappointments.
If you’re holding a small meeting with just your direct reports give them time to share. If you’re hosting a larger event, there are lots of fun ways to engage and capture reflections, from sticky notes and grouping themes; to “best of”/”worst of” reflections on index cards collected at the beginning and sorted into themes; to simple polling texting apps, with results projected immediately on the screen.
Find a way to get your team’s best view of the year into the conversation.
2018 Fast Start
Get your team off to a fast-start in 2018. Learn more about our Let’s Grow Leaders Operational Excellence Rallies. Let’s us help you and your team have a remarkable fast start to the new year. We’d love to talk more about how we can custom-design a one or two-day strategic working session with high ROI.