How to Start Your Team Off on the Right Foot in the New Year

Tuesday January 2nd, 2018

2018goalsThe new year is a fresh start for everyone, both in our personal lives and at work. It is an opportunity to reflect on the past year – what worked, and what didn’t – and set new goals for the days ahead. As a manager, you are tasked with leading your team through the process to build on the success of the previous year and reach new heights as a team over the next 365 days.

We have three steps to starting your team off on the right foot in the new year.

Evaluate the Past

Before you know where you’re going, you’ve got to understand from where you came. So, before you start making plans for the year ahead, it’s important to talk about the successes and downfalls of the previous year. This is a prime opportunity to include your team in the conversation by allowing them to submit anonymous assessments, while also dedicating some of your time to reviewing the work of each employee.

When asking your employees to provide feedback on the past year, ask questions that will allow them to give thoughtful, detailed responses that will help you pinpoint successes that should be amplified in the new year and failures that must be eradicated. Some questions you should include are:

  • What was our greatest accomplishment as a team this year?
  • What was the biggest downfall of our team this year?
  • What do you need to feel more supported in the work place? More motivated?
  • What aspect of our company culture do you most appreciate?
  • What was your greatest personal accomplishment within the company this year?

Asking these questions will encourage your employees to not only share their thoughts on the previous year, but also will encourage them to remain vigilant in the year ahead regarding anything that might hinder the success of the team, or areas that could be improved upon for greater success.

Once your employees have shared their feedback, and you’ve had the opportunity to review each person’s performance, consider scheduling a team meeting to discuss the results. As a team, decide on which things you should continue doing, which things you should stop doing, and which things you should start doing. It’s a great exercise to get everyone on the same page going into the new year.

Research What’s Coming

An important part of planning for the future is understanding what’s coming on the road ahead. And, while you can’t predict everything, you can do some research to learn more about industry trends and developments that will affect your company.

This could include trends in marketing, social media, branding or developments in technology that may impact how you do business and how your employees do their jobs. Encourage your team to actively engage in the world around them to learn more about such trends, so that your company can stay at the forefront of the industry as it continues to grow. No matter what space you occupy in the marketplace, there are always trends and developments that will affect the plans you make for the future. Keep a finger on the pulse of your industry to ensure that your team continues to function at its highest level. This will give you the best opportunity to make new plans for the year ahead.

Set Your Goals

Once you’ve evaluated the successes and failures of the past year, and you’ve got a clear understanding of where your industry is headed, it’s time to set goals. Encourage your employees to be part of establishing those goals, as giving them a sense of ownership over their objectives will increase their dedication to reaching success as a team.

Set goals together as a team, but encourage each employee to set their own personal goals within the company as well. Employees should use the feedback given during their annual reviews to create their personal goals.

  • What could they improve on?
  • What was their greatest strength?
  • How do they contribute to the team’s goals?
  • How can they improve upon the successes of the previous year?

Involving your employees in this process supports a company culture that is inclusive, motivational and effective. Work together to pave the road to success in the new year, and 365 days from now, you’ll be celebrating a year of positive growth as individuals, as a team, and as a whole company.