We have eight major departments here at the Academy and this is the time of year that we all gear up for department retreats. Since many of us suffer from “shiny ball syndrome” (the uncontrollable urge to jump to the next great idea), we often spend a good deal of our retreat time brainstorming and setting goals for the coming year. Don’t get me wrong, goal setting is imperative. It is what drives an organization forward. But we also balance it out by stopping and reflecting on all that was accomplished since the last retreat.
Isn’t it funny how difficult it can be to remember all that was done in the last 12 months? Accomplishments or “wins” as we like to call them, are a lot like stop signs – as soon as you pass one they are left standing quietly in the dust and quickly forgotten. That is why it is important to not let them become a distant memory and get overshadowed by the next big project.
As you move into this new year, be sure to spend time with your team to review and acknowledge all that has transpired in the last year. It works even better if you ask each person to look back at their calendars and emails to “remember” what things they played a role in looking after or pushing through to completion. Perhaps it was the closing of a long drawn-out case, how you saved money using a new product or vendor, or a new implemented system that streamlined the workflow. Small or big, you want to add these to your master “WIN list.”
Then come together as a group to discuss those achievements. You’ll likely remember several more that aren’t even on your list! We always do. By reviewing the list together and focusing on how the group accomplished so many amazing things, it can be an incredibly positive experience and energize the team looking out to the rest of the year. They will see just how much they can do together and anything is possible.
Also, since many of us work independently and at such a fast pace, we sometimes forget to stop and appreciate each other’s hard work and talents. This activity intentionally creates the opportunity to acknowledge each person on the team and their contributions in a group setting.
After reviewing your wins, have your team share what has them most excited for the coming year and new goals they would like to set for themselves or their department. Next spend time agreeing and declaring together what “new wins” you want to accomplish and why. Once you commit to those goals, you can layout a plan that identifies steps and the people who will help make those goals happen.
Are you like us and you like tracking your wins? Let us know how your team is measuring and reflecting on your accomplishments. We’d love to hear about them.
Director of Member Services
American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys, Inc.
9444 Balboa Avenue, Suite 300
San Diego, California 92123
Phone: (800) 846-1555