How to celebrate and reflect on the year that was

Dec 17, 2016

The countdown is on to the end of the year.  And for our not for profit organisations this time of year can be met with joy and elation at the thought of holidays and time spent with family, and/or dread and a gearing up for the sad side of the holiday season that can affect the people we support in our not for profits. Most likely, it’s met with a combination of both.

Regardless, as we travel at a rate of nots towards the end of the year we do it with a sense of “completion” of the year that was and a looking ahead to the year that is to be. We start to seek closure on our challenges, to put some things behind us, and set our goals and wish list for how we want our next year to pan out, be different or be ‘better’.

Generally, we are so caught up in the delivery of our services and making a difference to our communities that we don’t pause anywhere near often enough to reflect on and celebrate our progress and achievements, or to simply enjoy and appreciate each other’s contributions.

Given the natural flow, this time of year is the perfect time to take stock, reflect, plan, appreciate and celebrate!  And in doing so – to make it as productive, positive and conducive to positive action in the future – it’s worth setting aside some dedicated and structured time together as a team. Here are some tips on what to include:

Team Recognition – Expressions of gratitude and appreciation to your team, for both their collective and individual efforts, is paramount in creating a culture that values people, learning, development, initiative, and innovation.

This can take any form that is most appropriate to your team and to the individuals within that team. It can be as simple as putting on a lovely spread, sharing a meal together, public recognitions, telling your team members what you have most appreciated about their contribution privately or in an open forum, and the list goes on.

The most important thing is to genuinely express and recognise their efforts and contributions.

Close the loopsReflection and Endings: No doubt the year wasn’t full of all rainbows, sunshine and lollipops – there were challenges, mistakes, fails, mishaps, misunderstandings, loss, endings and conflicts. Spending time to reflect on the good, the bad and the cringe worthy (and you will know what’s appropriate and what’s not here) will help your team find closure of some of those difficulties, challenges and emotions that come with endings (such as projects, programs, people leaving/moving on etc.).

Celebrating and highlighting the successes, the wins, and the joyous moments is where greater time is spent.  Joy and celebration brings us together, reminds us of the common goal, and our commitment to our purpose and each other as a supportive team. It reminds us of what we are capable of and encourages us to dream, imagine and reach!

Set Intentions – The execution and outcome of any action is determined by its underlying, and true, intent. Spend time with your team to set the intentions behind the goals for the coming year.

Motivate your team ready for that high vibe, refreshed beginning of the new year.  Having that shared common vision of what the organisations intentions are for the new year creates unity, excitement, commitment, sets expectations and a looking forward to getting started.

Now don’t get me wrong, reflection, recognition and planning should NOT be neglected and held off until the end of the year – no, no, no.  They are necessary ongoing ingredients to creating a great organisational culture.

What I am highlighting is that the end of a year is a naturally occurring cycle and flow – it lends itself to completion and beginnings. Honour this natural flow. Go with it. Your people will appreciate it, and your organisation will benefit because you’ve invested in celebrating, reflecting, planning and unifying.

Need a guide to help you with your end of year team meeting?  I’ve created this easy to follow, take it or leave it, tips and guide for your end of year meeting. Click on this image to request your copy: