Executive Leadership Coaching

3 minute read

5 Actions to Take Now to Ensure Year-End Success

Jul 26, 2018

Written by: Shawn Sweeney

To avoid end-of-year surprises, take steps now to ensure year-end success for 2018.

I know it’s hard to believe, but we’re already over halfway through 2018. Earlier in my career, I considered July the midpoint—meaning I had plenty of time left to accomplish my goals. Now that I’ve gained experience, I realize July is the start of the final stretch.

To ensure your year-end success for 2018, take these 5 actions now:

#1 Review Your Goals and Commitments

You set goals and made commitments at the beginning of the year, and your year-end success will be measured by how you meet them. Hopefully, you’ve been reviewing those regularly. If not, now’s the time. Ask yourself:

  • Are we on track to deliver on our goals and commitments?
  • Are these goals still the right priorities?
  • Are my resources (people and dollars) focused on delivering on these goals and commitments, or have they become scattered across a laundry list of other agendas?

You and your team have likely picked up other agenda items through the year. Right now is decision time: Do you need to re-focus on the original goals for the year—which may require you to say “no” to a few additions? Or do you need to update your commitments to reflect changing business needs and priorities?

When you think about your year-end success, know what you’ll be measuring.

#2 Provide Feedback To Your Direct Reports

We all know the importance of providing regular feedback to our teams. Yet, we often fail to take the time once we’re in the heat of battle. Now that we’re at the midway point, making time for feedback is critical and will impact your year-end success.

Feedback shouldn’t be a tedious process for you or your direct reports. Schedule a 30-minute meeting with each person and share two things: 1) One strength the person can further leverage this year to have the biggest impact, and 2) One opportunity to work on that could be the biggest obstacle to year-end success. That’s it. Any more and you risk the person not hearing—or acting on—the feedback. It’s also important that you be specific.

It’s a good time to ask for feedback on how you’re doing as a manager as well. Be brave! What you learn will impact your team’s year-end success as well as your own.

#3 Check In With Your Boss

It’s time to manage up by scheduling a check-in with your boss. You likely have regular interactions with your boss, although they’re probably about projects or team-level meetings. Schedule one-on-one time to get specific.

Review the progress you’re making on your commitments. If there are items at risk, now’s the time to highlight them. Alerting your boss about issues early is always the best approach. If appropriate, ask for additional support in achieving mission-critical items, through things like additional resources, increased budget, or senior leadership support. If priorities have shifted, formalize alignment on those shifts with your boss—to ensure you’re both measuring year-end success by the same criteria.

#4 Schedule Time For 2019 Planning

This may seem premature when you’re focused on year-end success for 2018, but you should be scheduling a 2019 planning session now. Ideally, schedule time with your leadership team for the early part of Q4. Blocking a half day is a good starting point.

Why now? By getting the time on the calendar in advance, you can ensure the time is protected. If you wait, end-of-year fire drills will make it tough to carve out the time. It also gets you and your team thinking about the future.

#5 Take Action Now!

I know what you’re thinking: “I’m too busy to do any of these things!” But these steps don’t take nearly as long as you might think.

Here’s what I recommend:

  • Review current goals and priorities: 1-2 hours
  • Provide feedback to your direct reports: 30 minutes/person
  • Schedule time with your boss: 30 minutes
  • Schedule time for 2019 planning: 15 mins (or 5 mins if you have an admin!)

Take these 5 action steps now. If you don’t, you’re resigning your year-end success to a crapshoot: Maybe it will work out, maybe it won’t. I don’t know about you, but I don’t like to put my results—think compensation, bonus, and advancement opportunities—into the hands of chance. With a small investment of time now, you will tilt the odds in your favor and ensure you’re celebrating year-end success instead of wishing you’d made changes when you had the chance earlier in the year.