The final months of a calendar or fiscal year are an important time for teams. When you consider the goals you established for the year (or were assigned to you and your team), how are things looking at this juncture? Are you confident you will meet the goals by the end of December, cautiously optimistic, concerned, or slightly panicked?
A helpful practice for leaders and managers to undertake is to have the people you are responsible for leading document what they’ve accomplished year-to-date. In these documents, encourage people to include as many accomplishments as possible — big and small. Once you receive everyone’s accomplishments, create a master document that groups the accomplishments under your team’s priorities and goals, and an “other” category that includes accomplishments that don’t fit under one of your team’s annual priorities.
Why take the time to do this now? Assembling this information should bring clarity around three facets: perspective, progress, and performance.
Perspective: Casting a Vision by Clarifying What Still Needs to Happen
First, reviewing all that has been accomplished so far this year gives you perspective on what you will want to accomplish during the remainder of the year so that you and your team can focus on those actions and finish the year strong. Without this review, your team may spend too much time in areas that have already made substantial progress and inadvertently overlook forgotten areas that are lagging.
Progress: Motivating Your Team
Second, reviewing all that has been accomplished provides a sense of progress toward meeting your annual priorities. Seeing all that you have accomplished so far can motivate you to keep pressing toward the goals. Be sure to share the master document with your entire team so they also experience that motivating and connecting sense of progress.
Performance: Coaching Your Team and Spotting Opportunities to Express Appreciation
Finally, having a detailed list of individual and team accomplishments will give you insight when preparing performance reviews. It will help you identify who you want to recognize for the good work they’re doing and who might need assistance, coaching, or some course correcting. It may also bring to light any gaps in skills on the team and help you consider the people you need on your team to accomplish your priorities next year.
Just as the beginning of each year brings an opportunity to unite your team around a common vision, the end of each year brings a similar opportunity to foster connection around shared goals. By including your team in the process of documenting their accomplishments to date, you can help everyone to see how their daily work makes a difference and motivate them through the final sprint to the finish line.
This article was coauthored by Katharine P. Stallard.