The beginning of the New Year is always a good moment to reflect, by looking back and learning lessons from the past to bring them forward into the upcoming year. When you do so, think about what went well and what didn’t go so well. Or, in other words, what were your successes and failures? Personally, I’m not a fan of the word failure, because of its negative connotation. Both successes and failures should, in my view, be regarded as valuable lessons. If you do consider both as so, they can be used as a great step forward for your journey of continuous improvement.

In coaching we often use a simple “start – stop – continue” exercise to determine what to take forward and what to stop doing from the past (as well as what to start that you haven’t yet done). You can do this exercise by creating three lists as follows:

  • A Start list for things you don’t do yet, but should be doing.
  • A Stop list for activities or habits that are not effective or not adding value.
  • A Continue list for activities and habits that have proven to be effective and should be taken forward.

Practising reflection in this manner can be undertaken for many purposes, i.e for your own development, for your team’s development, and for improving your alliances too. For teams and alliances  this type of practice is most effective when doing it with your teams and/or your alliance partner so you jointly make progress on your improvement journey. It’s also essential for your own development and additionally, it adds value to solicit input from your colleagues or stakeholders. Ask them for tips on what you can do to improve. Always keep it positive and don’t dwell on the past or argue about their views. Just thank them for their input and then create your own start – stop – continue lists. As you go forward, make sure to review your lists regularly, changing habits is simple, but not easy; you might need to remind yourself of that every now and then.

Happy New Year and let’s share a glass of champagne to your success in 2023!