Year End and New Year Checklist

December 19, 2018

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Year End and New Year Checklist

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This is the time of year where we are both wrapping up the current year and ramping up for the new one. Mix in several major holidays, and it is no wonder everyone is busy.


As you reflect on “YEAR END,” here are some ways to ensure you finish well.


Yourself – While the focus can and should be on others, goals, and activities, be sure to take some time for yourself as well. Your energy as a leader is an essential tool for all you do. It is important to take time, as Stephen Covey wisely advised, to “sharpen the saw.”

Eliminate the Unnecessary – Many seek to make up for a year’s worth of unmet goals in a month or to take on new initiatives that, in their ideal estimation, can be done before year-end. The result? Stressed out team members and disappointed leaders. The solution? Consider everything that is on your plate and on the plate of your team between now and year-end. Then eliminate everything that is not essential. Your chances of completing one thing are high. But if you go after everything, it is likely nothing will get done.

Ask – Are you stuck on a project, idea, or plan? Maybe you have been stuck all year! There is a simple solution: ask for help. Very often, the viewpoint or actions of a person whose strengths are opposite of yours brings great clarity and results. Reach across the aisle, and you will gain added perspective.

Reflect – Take some quiet time to consider what has gone well and what could be improved for next year. This is a good practice anytime you come to the end of something, whether it be a project or a year. Reflection is a powerful tool, yet a step that many avoid. The result of avoidance is repetition. Reflecting will help you avoid making the same mistakes next year.

Engage – For many, this is the time of year when they mentally “check out.” But in doing so, you could be losing two to three weeks of highly effective time. That’s 4-5% of your year. Yes, take some time to recharge and reflect; but guard against year-end “check-out” for yourself and your team.

No – This one word should be used liberally at this time of year. The distractions are myriad, but as a leader, you must ask yourself if the opportunity fits your goals. If it does not, simply say, “No.” “Yes” leads to overwhelm and failure when used without discretion.

Decide – Are there decisions you have been putting off all year? The good thing about year-end is that it provides a hard deadline. Use that deadline as incentive for making a decision – do, delegate, or discard. Don’t carry unsettled decisions into a new year.


As you embark on a “NEW YEAR,” here are some ways to ensure you begin well.


Narrow the Focus – It is likely that you and your team have set goals for the new year. This is a good time to review them and narrow the focus. Are they in alignment with the company vision and mission? Are your personal goals in alignment with your personal vision and mission?

Estimate Realistically – Our C-wired accounting professionals know that in order to project well, you plan high on expenses and low on income. This applies to other areas well. Plan that goals will take two to three times the time you are currently allocating. This allows time for testing and risk management, which are often overlooked steps that have the potential to save a business. When looking at a new year, it is human nature to grossly overestimate the time available and therefore overload our team with expectations. Instead, choose one to three meaningful and measurable goals per quarter. You will notice a definite impact.

Wait – John C. Maxwell talks about the “Law of Timing.” While leaders tend to push ahead aggressively, there are times when they need to listen to the voice of caution and simply…wait. That voice of caution may come from within; or it may come from a team member who sees something you do not see. If you and your team are not in alignment on an initiative, wait. It may be the wrong timing…or the wrong initiative.

Yes Strategy – Take a little time to develop your “Yes” strategy. What will you say “yes” to in the new year? What do you want to accomplish personally and professionally? Write it down. The activing of writing down your goals and objectives creates your “yes” list. As opportunities arise throughout the year, this gives you a litmus test. If they fit your “yes” list, then by all means, take advantage of the opportunity. If they do not, saying “no” will keep you focused.

Equip your Team – It is one thing to set goals; it is quite another to accomplish them. For that, you need a team. And, beyond that, you need a team that is well informed and equipped. Before the new year begins, look at each goal and ask yourself if you have the team members who can carry it out, and if they have the resource they need to complete it.

Ask – Wise leaders ask questions. This is a great time of year to ask questions. What do your employees see that you do not see? What do customers need in the upcoming year? How can you be a better leader? Every new year should begin with these three questions.

Recharge – This again goes back to your most important asset as a leader – your energy. As you plan for the new year, plan also for the other parts of your life that give you energy and balance. The last thing you want you want is to end next year with all your business and career goals met – at the expense of lost health and relationships. Plan now for how you will make regular deposits into each area of your life.


Enjoy the holidays, end this year well, and begin the new year with a strong start!


To learn how you can have greater leadership impact in the coming year, click here to learn about the Maxwell Method of Communication Impact Report.

As the CEO of Strength Leader Development, Deb Ingino is a highly sought-after international executive mentor, coach, trainer and speaker. Deb is well versed in global business operations and helps business leaders and their teams to discover and leverage their strengths, so they can create highly collaborative teams that deliver great results. With a refreshingly direct style, Deb helps leaders and their teams to deliver profitable results. Connect with Deb to learn more about her mentorship and coaching programs to equip you with advanced strategies to elevate your results.

When you have a strong team that collaborates well,
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