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Retrospective to engage…

by | Dec 28, 2020 | engage, Retrospective, Return To Forever

This week will end with probably the most anticipated change in numbers – ever.  Rolling from 2020 to 2021, there will be a collective sigh that this year is over.  The fascinating thing was remembering back to last year, many had the same feeling – this was going to be THE year … for whatever it was you thought might happen.  None of us probably anticipated the way it would roll out, but I have found no matter how the year went, a Retrospective is always in order.  How should we engage in the process to think about What was, What might have been, and now What will be… 

… and to my mind, the perfect soundtrack is one of my all-time favorite jazz fusion groups – Return to Forever.  The name alone fits perfectly with the topic, but if you are not familiar with their music, you are in for a treat.  Formed almost 50 years ago, most of the members of the band deserve a week on their own which I will deliver on in 2021.  For now, they were like The Band with Dylan, having backed up Miles Davis on groundbreaking Bitches Brew in 1970.  Could they bring that same energy, creativity, and spontaneity to their own compositions?  That was the question, and their first few steps were not steady. 

Chick Corea went first with the music he was familiar with – Latin tempo jazz.  If you recall the series on Santana, many were trying this in the early ’70s, and their first album was only released in Europe. It was met with a  luck warm reception, although the cut for today would become a jazz standard and one that would increase attention on the band and particularly the young composer Corea.  Its’ quiet pace is a good way to slow the craziness of last week before plunging into New Years…. 

To be honest, there is nothing different engaging this week, or next week, or last week really.  They are fairly artificial boundaries that help mark our time.  Yes, there are projects like mine that have to end on the 31st, and we tend to focus on scoring the year based on markets, income, etc.  I have found that there are some simple practices that you can engage in now for the year, and hopefully, they provide a rhythm and momentum that can continue into the New Year. 

First, assuming you have done some type of Weekly Accomplishments report, pull those out. They will always contain things you have completely forgotten about.  In my case, with no real “boss” to report to over the years, I have gotten lazy… but actually this is the 280th posting I have written – every day since March 1.  So I have a record of what I have been thinking and can start to digest the journey.  If you don’t have those weekly/biweekly records… let me strongly suggest you engage that as a practice for next week…and every week.

Second, it is time to write your year-end appraisal/self-assessment.  Sure your boss can/should assist, but frankly, even at the manager level, you want to do this yourself.  Dust of the goals that you thought looked good this time last year, and then try to construct a story that makes it look like you did that and more.  It also allows you to take control of the narrative of the things that “didn’t” go the way you thought… and at least bend the story more in your favor.  And here is a clue – most people are MUCH harder on themselves than their boss… so if you can make it sound reasonable, then they will actually make it sound even better.

Next, as you are doing that, it is time to update your Development Plan.  Where you want to be in 5 years is now … one-year closer… are the goals?  And are they even where you want them to be now…. Particularly this year, I suspect that many long-term goals will need to be adjusted.  As you work through the year that was, pay special attention to places that felt better/worse… and why.  What was happening that you need to make happen more often? And what type of projects or goals do you want to watch for so when they arrive, you get them to take you forward, vs just accepting the goals that help others.

Finally, time to take all of that and update your Resume – remember that thing?  Yearly it is good practice, and with your Development Plan, a time to update what it might look like a year from now.  I actually recommend that people write their Resume as if it is a year or 2 from now – clear targets help you ensure you have realistic targets to steer you through what will likely happen in 2021… 

…which like 2020, or 2008, or 2002… (pick your year) didn’t go the way we all thought.  What surprised us this year will likely surprise us again.  The fun thing about well-done Retrospectives is they hopefully remind us of what is timeless.  Come engage with us for the week, and think about your own need for … the Return To Forever and the blessing of Crystal Silence…

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