Foresight is 2020
It is that time of the year. We are wrapping up 2019 with only a few weeks to go. Perhaps it is time to take inventory of what we set out to accomplish, what worked, what we learned, what could have gone better. Because that is the kind of thing that we like to do at the end of the year. How do we usually go about this? We ask stuff like…
- What were my/our goals?
- What did I/we accomplish?
- What do I/we want to do more of?
- What should I/we do less of?
- What did I/we learn?
I usually do some form of this during the last week of the year! However, this year let’s begin from a foundation of success, positivity and build on what is working! Let’s enter the new year by doing more of what we do well and play from our strengths.
When I work with teams, and I do this quite a bit, I like to begin with their successes and what they have accomplished before diving into what needs to change or be different. I use an exercise I call “Most Proud Of…”. It is super simple but has a big payoff. Here is how it works:
1) Everyone takes out 3 sticky notes and a sharpie (part of my facilitation kit) and on the top they each write the following in small letters:
- ME + their name or initials
- TEAM – this refers to the team they work on
- OTHER – a name of another team member that they pick out of hat
2) Write “I am Most Proud Of the ______ for…” and finish the statement on each sticky
(write in something specific on each separate post-it that represents the team; what you and the others did that you appreciated, are proud of, found helpful, etc.)
3) Share. Go around the room in 3 rounds and share what was written.
Now, here is the simple yet amazing part… this is often the FIRST TIME that anyone has said aloud what they are proud of for what the team, you, or themselves accomplished! You also tend to get a rounded sampling of what successes you all value:
- The big accomplishments get listed
- The little (and most important) things get shared
- The quiet person who never speaks up gets a fair chance to share and be heard.
It is a simple exercise that has a big payoff. Amazing! Try it at your next team meeting!
And one more suggestion… instead of just stopping there, let’s take it one step further when we start thinking about setting goals and planning for the new year. Because this is where it tends to fall apart. Now we start talking about what do we need to do differently next year. What did not work? How did we screw up? What uncharted territory are we entering? Our first response to many of these questions will be – “We can’t do that”, “That did not work”, “We don’t have…”
Well, let’s flip the switch and try a useful tool that shifts our thinking to possibilities and options versus dead ends and “no’s”. Add one of the following “invitational stems” to the beginning of a statement and something very interesting happens.
- How might we…
- In what way could I/we…
- Tell me more about that…
- Let’s think about all the ways we could…
Instead of saying – “We can’t do XYZ”… say, “In what ways could we do XYZ?” Humans tend to be wired toward solving problems, to be curious and inquisitive. These stems recalibrate our thinking and move us into the land of probability and possibility.
Let’s use what we learned, build on what we accomplished, and use what we know worked as our foundation. As we move into 2020, let’s enter the year with eyes wide open and have 20-20 Foresight.
Maybe hindsight is only twenty-nineteen…