We’ve made it through the first week of Q4, and I wanted to take this time to check-in. The truth is: your year is pretty much made, so if things are going poorly, it’s probably time to stop, drop, and roll. Hopefully, that’s not your year. Hopefully, you’re rolling in it, and assuming you’re in good shape, the start of Q4 is a good time to stop, reflect, and learn. This is the best way to get the most out of your fourth quarter and set up a spectacular 2020.
As a leader, this is a great time to look back on 2019, think about what you’ve learned, and how you can put that to good use next year. Taking a few minutes to do this is one of the things that differentiates really talented executives from great leaders.
So, looking at the year so far, how would you rate your performance?
Have you hit your goals? Why or why not?
What changed this year?
How will that affect next year?
How would you rate your team’s performance?
Did your team get better at working as a unit this year?
How hard is your team working to achieve the results?
How can they improve as a unit?
Are they excited about next year?
What can you learn from the straightforward comparison of where you are today and where you said you wanted to be? Looking broadly:
Do you still believe in your strategy? Steady as she goes or time for a change?
Finally, as you think about your key stakeholders—direct reports, peers, managers, clients, and customers—do you have the right people in the right places to drive home your last quarter? Have you been putting in the right amount of time and effort for these relationships? What do they need from you to be great?
Looking at Q4 as an important reflection point is a way we often work with our clients to set them up for success for next year. In particular, the fourth quarter is a great time to do this work because as long as you’re not scrambling for survival, you can look around at how things are going. Even so, it can be difficult to look objectively at the things you’ve worked so hard at, which is where your executive coach or mentor comes in. Reflect on these questions and then have a rigorous review of the answers with that person you trust and who will hold you accountable to the commitments and plans you make.