Tis the season of year-end evaluation. You may be thinking of New Year’s resolutions like getting in shape, drinking less, or being more present. Great ideas and I ask “what about work?”
You will likely spend 2,500 hours at work in 2020. That’s just about as many hours as you’ll spend sleeping. Use these questions to evaluate your 2019 and build a happy New Year at work in 2020.
1. How did I positively impact people this past year?
As much as we like to “win” at work, the force that keeps us engaged, motivated, and focused is having a positive impact on people. Unless you’re a psychopath, you desire to be a force for good in the lives of your coworkers, clients, and vendors.
So how did you do in 2019? What were some of the ways you benefited those around you through the actual work you did and the way you went about your tasks?
What tweak or change can take your people-impact up to a new level in 2020?
2. What were your greatest results-oriented achievements?
What were the productivity wins, the milestones achieved, the core numbers you put on the board in 2019? What behaviors and investments of time and influence capital led to these successes? (If you don’t know why you win, you won’t be able to guard against loosing!). How do your “wins” match the achievements that are celebrated in your division and your firm as a whole?
3. What were your greatest misses and why?
As you look back on 19’, where did you fail, where did you miss the mark? Learning always involves trial and error. Where did you err in 2019 and what did you learn?
4. How do you use your core abilities on a regular basis?
This is a talent audit and it is essential in your annual personal review.
We know that when we use our core talents daily we have more energy and we are on a path to excellence.
What are your greatest hard-wired abilities? How are they needed and rewarded in what you do? How will you lean into your talents more intensely in 2020?
5. Where are your company and industry headed?
Many of us are lacking the “you are here” sticker for our current job and career. We get so caught up in the details of the job that we fail to step back and take a look at the health of our current company and the track of our current industry.
Pick a grid and evaluate the health of your firm. You can use Phil Fischer’s 15-factor list from his Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits or Greg Brenneman’s 4-part grid from Right Away and All At Once. Pick one and analyze your firm.
Read ten articles on your industry in the Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg News.
Based on what you find, what dangers and opportunities lie ahead?
6. How is work forming me?
We spend so much time at work that it shapes our habits and the way we see the world. Some of that is probably good and some of that, not so great.
When it comes to values and priorities, what about the culture at work is making you better?
What about the culture at work is at odds with what you profess to be important?
When it comes to habits (patterns of relationship, tasks, rest, sleep, etc.), what about work is making you better? Which habits, if extrapolated ten years into the future, are not sustainable?
How do you need to re-form yourself based on what you discovered under this question?
7. How does work fit into the rest of my life?
How does work affect and sit in balance to the other areas of your life that matter? (Are there other areas?). Would you say you are working too much? Is it possible you’re not working enough, or at least not with the kind of focus to allow you to invest in other areas outside of work in the future?
How do you answer the balance question? What commitments do you need to make, to have the right work fit in 2020?
8. What would you do if you lost your job tomorrow?
With full employment, an ominous global economic mood, and the threat of constant disruption, the danger of job-loss in 2020 is real. Three questions prepare you for this possibility:
What data do you need to see if job-loss could be a possibility for you?
What’s your financial plan for a hiatus in income (how much do you need, how much do you have, what expenses can be cut?)
What do you need to do, to be ready to search (resume, LinkedIn profile update, a top-10 list of people to contact for information interviews)?
9. What behaviors are detracting from your reputation?
Thinking about your reputation is thinking about the sentence people will say about you after your current role is done.
Every job is temporary. Someday, you will not work where you work; you will not see the people you currently see.
After it is over, your colleagues will give you a sentence. What do you want them to say?
This question can help you dial into whether your current reputational trajectory is the one on which you want to leave. “Caring, competent, responsible, obnoxious, self-absorbed, isolated” how will you be described? How do you want to be described? What needs to change for you to feel peace and pride over your tenure at your current firm?
10. What are my first 15 plays of 2020?
Great football coaches often script the first 15 plays of offense for each contest. They have studied the opposing team. They know their strengths and weaknesses. And so they set the tone for the whole game in their first 15 plays.
What will be your first 15 moves of 2020 at work? As you consider tasks, relationships, skills, roadblocks, and habits—what should be at the top of your priority list to begin a productive New Year?
How will having a winning game plan impact the energy and confidence you bring to work with you in 2020?
Making the Big Better
Work is the biggest “thing” in our schedule. Intentionally evaluating our 2019 with a view towards growth in 2020 will make your work better.
For those of us who are people of faith, we find that God is with us in the evaluation process, helping us to become all that he has made us to be—both in the victories and the failures, both through insights and emotional strength to be more focused and disciplined in 2020 than we were in 2019.
To all our readers, we wish you His very best in your work in 2020.