This Year Kind of Sucked: Take Some Time to Take Stock

This has been a rough year for the Federal Government: sequestration, shutdown, almost shutdowns, questions about government IT and effectiveness, and another potential shutdown coming in January. I’ve been thinking about the need to take some stock in this small breathing space we have between the pressures of recovering from the shutdown, the time of use it or lose it vacations over the holidays, and the drama leading up to another continuing resolution deadline.

I’m recommending that federal managers bring their teams together over the next several weeks to do a short Year in Review. This is a time to look back and see what you’ve done and look forward to what is coming in the New Year. It’s also a time to get your team together and get your heads out of the day-to-day craziness for just a few minutes. I’d ask questions like:

• What are we proud of? What do we want to celebrate from the last year? There’s always something to be grateful for (see this blog on gratitude).
• What are the big things we screwed up or missed and why?
• What are the one or two things that we can control that we want to do next year?

I don’t think this is a long meeting. 30 minutes to an hour. You’ll find things to appreciate, improve, and build on for the future. It’s a mini strategic plan without all the formality and cost that plans typically involve. It’s also a time to breath and focus. What do you think leaders and teams should be doing going into the New Year?

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