At the beginning of the year, you set goals, you built strategic plans and you worked with your team to put those plans into place. Your team worked extremely hard, your business grew and you found ways to work ON the business instead of IN the business – but you didn’t meet all of your goals. As the end of the year approaches, it’s easy to be bummed about the progress that fell short of your mark, but as a business leader, you can’t take time to wallow in what might have been. Your team needs you and, if you’re going to motivate them to meet the goals you set for next year, you have to start with recognizing your progress this year and celebrating your successes.
The end of the year is often a time for business owners, company leaders and managers to evaluate progress for the year, compare goals with outcomes, do staff reviews, think about raises, etc. If your company or department didn’t quite meet the mark for the year, it’s important to talk about why and make adjustments for the New Year. That said, be careful not to weigh your team down with disappointment. If they know what your goals were (and they should) then they know whether those goals were met or not. Chances are that they are already worried about the end of the year.
If you are having staff meetings, board meetings or even just sending an all-staff email about the year, take the time to talk to your team about the things that went well and put together a list of the great things you want to celebrate. A reminder of those specific examples, especially if they happened in the first half of the year and might not be top of mind, will help get your team pumped for January.
Also, don’t fall prey to putting those successes into a compliment sandwich – a success bogged down with failure doesn’t feel like a success at all. Instead, try an approach that says, “We all know there are goals we didn’t make this year, even though we all worked really hard, and we’ll make adjustments for next year, but for now, here are all the things we did really well…” If you take that approach, then your successes can stand on their own and you have the opportunity to discuss the shortcomings your leadership team or your staff as you plan strategically for the New Year.
The heart of this issue is mindset. Remember that your staff members need to feel supported and encouraged if they are going to start the New Year with their best foot forward and that starts with recognizing their work and celebrating your collective successes.