Most management teams fail to take advantage of the most strategic conversation available to them at year-end — the one that unveils the hidden gems of learning that can have a profound impact both on next year’s strategy and on operational plans.

What is the crucial conversation you ask?

It’s the year-end review of the successes and failures of the past year. Having this discussion with the entire executive team present and doing it thoroughly ensures that the gems of strategy are mined, extracted, and polished to spectacular brilliance, ready to be applied immediately when the year begins.

If the budget is already set for next year the new year strategy has been defined and they were not created with a full exploration of successes and challenges of the past year, then pull the team together and conduct the year-end review, keeping the following tips in mind:

1. Set aside sufficient time to complete the process – at least a half-day or better an entire day to flush out issues and implications.

2. Make sure the entire executive team is present. If that is not possible, it’s ok to wait until the beginning of the new year. It’s better to do it right, even if a little late.

3. Ensure that all the issues are put on the table, that they are sufficiently explored, and that conclusions are drawn and decisions made. Hiring a facilitator to manage this discussion is a good idea.

4. Meet with each executive team member before the debrief meeting, to start mining the gems. This will prime the participants so they are digging into and thinking more about the most important issues, and having conversations with others before the meeting. This will make the review more productive and strategically relevant.

5. Discuss the elephants in the room and don’t pull back if it gets messy or heated. Business is just as much about the people who operate it as about the organization, its process, strategies, and numbers. Those “hot” issues are the ones that are holding the business back and a good reason to have the meeting professionally facilitated.

Completing the year with valuable new insights and having new plans in place will allow your team to lead more effectively from the start of the year and even your Q1 results will be better for it.

Wishing you an extraordinarily successful year-end and New Year!

Your Humble Results Catalyst,


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Matthew Levy Results Management Group Executive Coach deepwork deep work coach Family businessMatthew Levy is the Chief Catalyst and principal of RESULTS MANAGEMENT GROUP, LLC, a growth management consulting and executive coaching firm that dramatically shifts business results by facilitating the creation of compelling visions and strategiesaligning executive and other management teamsdeveloping an organizational capacity to manage execution and designing organizational environments that support the attainment of dramatically better results in any area.