The economic landscape has changed quite dramatically since the start of the year with the cost of living crisis biting hard: rising inflation, soaring energy bills and petrol prices, as well as staffing issues, are most definitely having a negative effect on businesses.
There has never been a more critical time to conduct a multi-season review to reassess progress and plans. It’s a chance to step back and look at what’s working and what’s not. This insight can be used to make modifications and improve or double down on your goals for the remainder of the year so that 2024 is your best year yet.
Start on a positive note. It can be tempting to focus on what went wrong and overlook what went right
Taking time for reflection
Taking time to reflect on what has happened so far might also uncover fresh opportunities for learning and growth. The type of business, the size and its ambitions may vary but there are common questions that can be asked to conduct a meaningful review:
1. What great things have you accomplished?
Start on a positive note. It can be tempting to focus on what went wrong and overlook what went right, but this is just as important. Taking an objective look at what went well and why is a great way to capture what works for your business and highlight the learning within each success.
2. What did you do to make it happen?
Look specifically at what you did as a learning and development leader to make these things happen. It is often easy to brush over your contribution, especially if you have a large workforce but jotting this down can build recognition and confidence in your own abilities as a leader, to support personal growth and development.
3. What hasn’t happened that you planned?
With this question, it’s essential, to be honest, and not judge. Reflect with curiosity and kindness, rather than being critical or disappointed. Often there are good reasons why things didn’t happen as you thought they might. Thinking about what went wrong and really understanding the reasons why can help you improve your plans, upgrade your skills or update resources to better prepare for the future.
Take time to think about what this is telling you about you, your values and your ambitions
4. What has worked best for the business this year?
Look at what marketing strategies, relationships, products, processes and clients have worked best over the course of the year. Consider everything that’s had a positive impact on the business and what this means for the remainder of the year. Spend some time thinking about what can be improved, adjusted or even stopped to build on what works best.
5. What have you personally enjoyed the most, and why?
Take time to think about what this is telling you about you, your values and your ambitions. Richard Branson once said: “If it’s no longer fun stop doing it”. Businesses and individuals are always evolving so writing down what you enjoyed (or didn’t enjoy) over the last six months may give you a different perspective on where you are heading next.
Also, as you go through this review process, pay attention to how you feel in your body and to any negative or limiting thoughts that come up for you. Don’t judge these thoughts or feelings, but give them space and listen to them respectfully. Take note of what they are telling you, and what that means for your approach to your business.
6. How are the finances?
Taking stock of finances is essential to ensure they are on track with expectations. Look at income and expenses, as well as any unexpected or outdated costs. Look back at income targets and make any adjustments needed to end the year as planned, or better!
It’s essential to plan for any slow periods too, such as key holiday periods such as summer and Christmas when business activities can slow down. Consider what needs to be done to maintain momentum and traction, so that you have a steady income throughout the year.
Conducting a review puts you and your business in the best place for success
Mapping out goals for the rest of the year
Finally, use the information you have learnt from the review to set out your goals for the rest of the year. These need to be SMART – specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-based. Once goals are set, break these down into clear plans and activities, then schedule and assign these so you know what actions need to be taken, when and by whom.
Conducting multi-season reviews put you and your business in the best place for success. Instead of just carrying on with the plan that was set at the end of last year, it’s an opportunity to make adjustments based on the current trading environment.
It will enable you to capture personal as well as organisational learning points, make changes to the current strategy, processes or resource allocation, and fill any gaps, so you can continue to build on your existing strengths and feel fully equipped for the rest of the year.