10 Questions To Ask Yourself When Planning
This time of year you most leaders turn their thoughts to the past year and plan for the next one. Karen Schmidt suggests the questions to be asked are the same as for a gardener . . .
1. What grew? What new ideas that you planted came to life and grew . . . in a good way. Remember, weeds are prolific growers too and you don’t want more of them. For example, which of your people have grown this year in terms of knowledge, abilities and confidence? How have you grown as a leader? Has your team grown closer?
2. What died? What didn’t work this past year? Was it a new policy or procedure, transferring someone to a new role, re-organising job responsibilities, taking on a new client or a hire that failed to thrive? On the positive side, what unhelpful or negative attitudes died off this year?
3. What would I plant again? Who would you hire again? What projects would you do again? Which marketing campaigns or training programs would you repeat? Remember, just because something grew doesn’t mean you would plant it again. Some people and projects require too much effort to be worthwhile repeat investments.
4. What is ready to be moved? Do you have people that are ready for their next role in your team, elsewhere in the organisation or maybe outside the organisation? What about you? Do you need to consider your next move?
5. What worked for others? Look around your organisation for signs of what worked for other leaders and their teams. Maybe those same initiatives could work for your team. If you can learn from other leaders you will shortcut the path to success.
6. What needs a rest? Gardeners rest beds to allow the soil to regenerate or they can run out of nutrients. What projects need a rest this coming year? Which of your staff need a holiday or at least a break from demanding tasks? What long established practices could do with a rest?
7. What new things would I like to try? If you’ve been keeping an eye on the latest thinking in your industry then you should have some ideas on what you could try next. So what research and reading have you done to identify new things? What is on your “to do list” for the coming year?
8. What circumstances were within or outside of my control? The weather and the GFC you can’t control but there are many other things that you can control. Did you ignore the early warning signs of a problem? Did you make decisions that you knew from the start had a minimal chance of success? Did you fail to take action when you should have, hoping the problem would solve itself?
9. What’s changed since this time last year? People and plants grow, changing the look and feel of an environment. How can you summarise the way your team has changed, for the better or the worse, since this time last year.
10. What do I want to change by this time next year? Imagine your team a year from now and describe exactly what it would be like . . . what it would and wouldn’t contain, where it would be headed and how it would be performing.
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