Prep for a Successful 2017

The Past is Prologue…

Looking Back at 2016 to Prepare Your Team for Business Success in 2017


It’s a time to celebrate and acknowledge the people and accomplishments of the past. Expressing appreciation to friends, family and in all aspects of your business is like money in the bank….

And,  you want your company ready to move forward from January in order to achieve bigger, better and greater things in the new year, you’ll need to lay a little groundwork as 2016 wraps up.


Start by taking an objective view of the past year’s performance. If you find it difficult to evaluate things from a neutral point of view, enlist a trusted friend, associate or mentor who can be a voice of reason as you go over the past twelve months. You’ll have to address the challenges and issues your team faced before you can get started on a successful 2017.


Take a comprehensive inventory of strengths and weaknesses – not just the good and bad, but also any feedback you received from clients, co-workers, employees or anyone else involved in each project (you should be doing this throughout the year after the completion of each project or phase of a long-term project; it doesn’t have to be comprehensive and time-consuming, just a few notes that give you enough info to look back and identify any patterns or trends you need to take a closer look at as you’re reviewing). Which practices and standards will you leave behind and which ones will you take with you into the future?


Get your team members on board – make sure they know this is a constructive, not critical exercise. Emphasize the fact that each person has an important role to play and a stake in the company excelling in the new year.


Conduct group and individual interviews. Talk to your team members – and more importantly, listen to them. Sit down and have a frank discussion.

  • What went well, and why?
  • What didn’t go well? As you talk through the issues be careful not to place blame or allow any finger-pointing. Stick to neutral language (“Communication wasn’t as clear as we strive for,” instead of, “Jim really dropped the ball on keeping clients in the loop.”) If you’ve been doing your job as an owner/manager throughout the year, you addressed the problem privately with Jim at the time, in a constructive manner. This conversation is aimed at reviewing, not rehashing, the things you want to do better next time.


Talk goals. You’ll have business goals, which you can discuss as a group. But what are your team members’ goals for the next year, individually as well as collectively? How do they see themselves contributing in new ways? The answers to these questions can help frame the way you strategize and make adjustments going forward.


Once you have a clear picture of the past you’ll have an idea of what you need in order to move forward successfully. Don’t be afraid to be brutally honest with yourself and your team members – the new year is all about better business practices, rising above challenges, and allowing your team and business to shine. Here’s to a great 2017!


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