Four Questions to End and Begin Your Year

It’s about this time of year that everything comes and goes so quickly. If you’re like me, you’re stepping on the gas pedal to get everything done and have yet to think about your 2018 strategic plan. There are so many deadlines in the days ahead, so what I’m about to tell you is going to seem counter-intuitive.



I know how hard this is. I’m struggling to put my foot on the brake too, but that’s what makes this even more important. You see, there are four questions that every leader must live by and use to guide their actions in the days ahead. They’re challenging. They’re not always fun. But it’s necessary.

  1. How does your business look?

When I ask “what does your business look like” I mean this literally. Start by taking a look around your office. Is it messy? Are papers strewn across your desk? What about your décor? Does it feel warm, inviting, does it make you feel comfortable and inspired?

Your desk is often a reflection of what’s going on in your mind and business. A desk that’s bare means you’ve probably been too busy to sit down and focus. A messy one can easily represent “organized chaos” (emphasis on chaos). What do you need to do to change your desk? Turn it into a true hub for your needs as a leader. Now, apply that same question to your entire business. What do you need your facilities to look like to function in the way you need them too? Does this look like new artwork that invites people to stay? Or new filing cabinets so things are right where you need them?

  1. How does your business act?

What do you do when you need to get work done? Are you running all over the place? Procrastinating? How are decisions made? The way you act when you’re working is exactly how your business is going to act. If you don’t have the necessary systems in place to get the job done, imagine how your staff feels. Every leader needs to get specific and process-oriented from the top down.

  1. How does your business feel?

How do you make others feel when they need your guidance? Is that same attitude being represented throughout the business? With your staff? Leaders need to embody the attitudes they want to see reflected in their business. Start with your values, and go from there.

  1. How does your business perform?

This is a trick question, but I’m not sorry for asking it. At the end of the year, what does YOUR job performance look like? Think about what you want your position as a leader to give you, and how you need to perform to get there. Then, as you’ve probably already guessed, apply that same logic to your business and see the great things that will happen.

There are more questions than answers here, and most of them are all about you. It’s time for you to give yourself a personal performance review.

The truth is, your leadership is what runs the business. As you start to review the year-end financials, work on performance reviews for your team, and take into account all the ups and downs of the past year, you need to stop and think about yourself too. What you do, say, act and think about will affect everything. So if you want to make change for the year ahead, now’s the time to get serious about it.