Posted tagged ‘Next Year’s Annual Report’

Writing next year’s annual report

November 7, 2017

The end of the year is fast-approaching. In addition to holidays, gift-giving, and resolutions at home, I’m also thinking about annual reports at work. I don’t think it’s too early to start summarizing our accomplishments over this year, and what we hope to accomplish next year.

Last week I wrote about mock-exit interviews, and how they could help identify and address existing problems in an organization. The mock-exit interviews made me wonder how businesses and organizations can make positive changes today – not just put out fires, but build something better.

Then I remembered a TEDTalk I watched recently – “How to gain control of your free time” by Laura Vanderkam at TEDWomen 2016. She offers a strategy for figuring out our priorities: writing next year’s performance review.

She says, “So I want you to pretend it’s the end of next year. You’re giving yourself a performance review, and it has been an absolutely amazing year for you professionally. What three to five things did you do that made it so amazing?”

This is it, I thought. This is one way that companies can set their priorities and make positive changes: writing next year’s annual report. When you “look back” at this year, what does your organization hope to accomplish? What will be the highlights of this year?

By envisioning your future successes, you can make a realistic plan for the coming year with confidence – because you already pictured it. By envisioning your future challenges, you are more likely to spot problems before they occur – because you are on the look-out for them.

In addition to financials, here are some of the things I want to read in next year’s annual report:

  1. Just the highlights – with graphics. What three accomplishments did your organization achieve? How do they align with your company’s mission or goal? What have you learned from them and how will you improve on them?
  2. People, not programs. Who are some of the people or communities that were positively affected by your organization? Tell a personal story about a customer, partner, donor, and volunteer. How did you gain their support? How did you show your appreciation?
  3. Put a face to the organization. Who are some of the people who made a difference in your organization? I don’t mean just the executive management, but the people who interact with customers, who look beyond their department, and who accomplish something great outside of the organization. What can you do to help these employees deliver stellar service? How can you recognize their efforts?

Professionally, maybe we all need to write next year’s performance review for ourselves – and next year’s annual report for our workplaces.

How does your organization set goals for the coming year? What do you look for in an annual report?


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