As we scurry madly into the Holiday Season, the year-end retrospectives are beginning. It’s time to look back on what was and ahead to what can be. This is also what highly effective – and disciplined – management teams do so much more regularly that their mediocre peers.

Many management teams have a limited or faulty understanding of what’s working, what’s not, and why. Reviewing, assessing, celebrating, and refocusing are essential to continuous growth and leadership development. It’s the follow through that both completes and restarts the endless improvement cycle. Without this essential component, learning, energy, and momentum dwindle.

And it’s all too easy to let what’s wrong and what still needs to be improved overshadow what we’ve accomplished and how far we’ve come. The pressure of continuous performance improvement can be very draining. If we’re going to maintain high energy levels, we need to develop the habit of periodically taking the celebratory pause that refreshes.

Reviewing, assessing, celebrating, and refocusing come from an understanding that it’s ultimately our improvement action that determines our performance results. The effectiveness of that action hinges on our follow through and stick-to-it-iveness. Failing to follow through and follow up is a way too common and deadly management team trap.

You’re likely well into – or finished – your 2010 budgets and operational planning. Can you produce those new and different results by continuing to do the same things? Not likely. So does your team know what’s worked and you should keep doing, what you should stop doing, and what you need to start doing or do more of?

As 2010 winds down, hopefully you’ll get some downtime to reconnect with loved ones and people you really care about. It’s a vital time out to recharge yourself. How are you also going to reconnect, recharge, and renew your team?

Further reading:

Celebration is the Pause that Refreshes
Stepping Back to Step Ahead Through Reviewing and Assessing
The Law of Improvement Displacement