6 Steps to Uncover Your Theme For Next Year

As one year winds down and another lies ahead, it’s an excellent time to reflect on where you’ve been and where you’re going.

I recently went through this process with two different firms when I facilitated their offsite retreats. They had both asked me to help them create a theme for 2012. For one of the companies, it was a matter of revisiting an older strategic plan they were already happy with, but had put on the back burner when the economic landscape changed. Their theme became “Resetting the Plan in 2012.”

For the other company, an accounting firm, the managing partner wanted to change the culture of his workplace so that the other partners weren’t coming to him when they had the authority to make decisions on their own. He wanted their theme to be, “2012 is the Year of Independence.”

Here are six steps you can take to uncover your own theme for the year ahead. You can take these steps as an individual and also for a company or team as a whole.

1. List your accomplishments for this past year; big and small, tangible and intangible, significant and seemingly insignificant. The idea is to celebrate and recognize that you have done a lot and you are capable of a lot. You’ll be able to refer back to this list of wins whenever you need to reinforce your worth as a capable, committed and persistent winner.

2. For each of your wins, ask yourself what you did to accomplish this, looking at the specific tools, techniques, resources and people that were most helpful.

3. Next, list the things you did not complete, and be really honest with yourself about why you didn’t follow through. Some possible reasons might be:

● It seemed like a good idea but turned out not to be
● It’s something I thought I should do but didn’t really want to do
● I did something else, instead, to please someone else
● I did not have the resources I needed to complete this project
● I recognized that, for whatever reason, it wasn’t doable at this time and I chose to let it go

Now that you have a clean slate and you’ve set aside your wins and losses from this year, let’s look ahead to next year.

4. Imagine that your firm has it’s own version of the Superbowl, except yours is in December instead of in February. Reflect on the goals your company needs to achieve in order to win your Superbowl.

5. Break those goals down into small, achievable tasks. Remember, there are many steps along the journey to completing your goal. I recommend you distinguish between your destination goals and the journey goals that will get you there. If scoring a touchdown is your destination, your journey goal might be catching a pass earlier in the game that kept the game moving forward. Hint: Incorporate your list of tools, techniques and resources from Step Two so you’re not reinventing the wheel in the New Year.

6. Reflect quietly on everything you’ve written, and sum it all up into one overall theme for the New Year. Start by saying: 2012 is the Year of ________________. Here are some examples that my clients have come up with:

The Year of Living Dangerously (sure, you can borrow from movies and TV!)
The Year of Having Full, Loving Relationships
The Year of Giving Up Struggling
The Year of Adventure
The ME-lenium

Play with this process and make it your own. Above all, have a safe, fun and HAPPY NEW YEAR!

If you’d like to set, revisit or stay on track with your goals, Alan M. Dobzinski is a masterful meeting facilitator who can get your team working together. Contact him today to get started.