How to Finish the Year Well

Spoiler alert: Do less, not more.

At this point in the calendar year, most of us tend to be optimistic about what we can get done by year-end. So we and our teams rush, burn out, waste energy, or fall apart trying to finish it well.

Instead of plowing through, let’s pause.

Let’s invest an hour now to set up for a great year-end. Here’s how:

  • Cold, Hard Optimism Using what Jim Collins calls the Stockdale Paradox, let’s start with mindset check. Let’s be brutally honest with the cold, hard facts about where we are now and optimistically sure that we will finish well. Being only realistic or only optimistic won’t work. In this uncomfortable tension between what’s real and what’s wanted, we carve the best path forward.
  • Clarify the Year-End Goal Given where we are now, what would a successful year-end look like?
  • Shine a Light on the Obstacles Make some lists. What are our own and the team’s internal obstacles e.g. beliefs, worries, habits, conflicts, administrative tasks, old processes? What are the external obstacles including client- and talent market conditions, supply chains, competition, prices, costs? What might be our numbing distractions e.g. social media, food, drink, substances, busy work?
  • Clear the Decks Now use what Brandon Schaefer calls Intentional Neglect. (Tip of the hat to Brandon for teaching me this method.) We are going to say, “Hell, yes!” to a few things and “Hell, no!” to everything else. Based on the above, make two short lists and one long one: (1) What are you going to do? (2) What are you delegating to others to do? (3) What are you delaying until at least the first quarter of next year?
  • Document It Capture the year-end goal and your “Hell, yes!” items in no more than five statements or objectives. For each objective, list no more than five measures. Since we are being intentionally neglectful, err on the side of less is more. Two or three objectives with 2-3 measures each? Hell, yes.
  • Deliver It Now, go. Meeting weekly with your team, use your “Hell, yes!” list to set next steps and hold each other accountable.

If you’d like some help to work through this, pick a convenient time here.

In your corner,


Image by anncapictures from Pixabay