January is a great month to pause and ponder the past and forecast the future. So gather your team around to celebrate 2008 and discuss your hopes and dreams for 2009.
Celebrate Big and Small. Ask each team member to recall the best part of 2008. Encourage the team to remember significant accomplishments as well as small triumphs.
Step Back. From these comments, look for the themes and patterns: What made you successful in 2008? The answers are the elements that you’ll want to bring forward into the new year.
Review the Foundation. Before you project forward, take a moment to remind the team of the “business basics”:
- Your mission or purpose
- Your primary customers
- The products and/or services that you provide to those customers
- How you add value
- What makes you different from others who provide the same products/services
Make a Wish. Ask each team member to individually jot down his or her wishes or goals for the coming year. Remember, this is a wish list. Be creative!
Brainstorm Possibilities. As a team, offer your ideas to the larger group, allowing team members to contribute — but not criticize — the wishes. Allow some time for all the possibilities to be mentioned.
Look for Themes. From this collective wish list, look for predominant themes. One or two ideas will float to the surface. These are ideas that the team can aspire to and be inspired by.
Create a Goal and Vision. From these few ideas, formulate a goal statement or create the picture for success. At this point, you should be able to tell whether the team is interested and committed to moving forward. If it isn’t interested, do not proceed. Otherwise, you’ll just have a benign New Year’s resolution.
Plan Action. If the team is interested and committed, create a simple action plan — who’s going to do what by when — of the first few steps or the key milestone to achieving success.
Ask for Volunteers. Don’t fall into the leadership trap and take it on all by yourself! Allow others to help achieve the goal.
Encourage and support progress so that in January 2009, your team can celebrate your success and ponder new goals.
Question: Has your team discussed its hopes for 2009 and agreed upon an action plan?