Great questions for the team to reflect on the past year

We recently came across an interesting Fast Company post How (and why) you should give yourself a year-end review which discusses the value for individuals in undertaking a personal review of the past year, celebrating achievements and considering how to further evolve their career. The article posses some great reflective questions to ask yourself.

However, you can also adapt these questions slightly to apply them for an annual reflection as part of an annual team review and planning. Given that we are at the end/beginning of the financial year, it might be timely to use these questions as part of a team planning session. This year, in particular, it may be important for the team to engage in ‘balcony’ review of the whole year when the last few months have been so dominated by COVID-19.

So, here’s my slightly amended version of the questions in the article that could be used for a team reflection activity:

  1. What were the top three ‘highs’ and the three major ‘lows’ for the year? This enables the team to share, acknowledge and celebrate the successes of the team while also recognising the reality of any disappointments that inevitably arise during the course of a year.
  2. What enabled or motivated us to reach those ‘highs’, and how did we successfully move through the lows? This is fundamentally a learning question. While it is important to acknowledge the successes and disappointments, this question asks the team to take out the lessons learned from those experiences.
  3. What worked well and what didn’t work well? This is a classic open-ended reflective question that enables the team to flush out matters relating to the ‘how’ aspects of team functioning – things that are being done well (continue/do more of) or things that are not quite working (change/do less of).
  4. What caused us the most stress and how could we navigate it better in future? This question opens up a discussion about well-being within the team. It signals the importance of well-being to the team and provides the opportunity to identify improvements to team practices to prevent or better manage high levels of stress.
  5. What were each of us most grateful for in 2019/20 and how can we take that into 2020/21? The first part of this question enables individuals to express personal gratitude and can help create deeper relationships in the team, while the second part of the question provides opportunities to build and sustain a positive workplace climate.

Now, of course, some of these questions could generate similar responses, however by asking a range of slightly different questions it is likely that different perspectives will emerge. This helps generate a more holistic shared understanding within the team.

This is now a wonderful combination of questions that has the potential to engage the team in a deep conversation about the impact of work of the team; the work of the team itself; how the team works; and team well-being. While there will likely be insights and improvements identified from exploring such questions, a well-managed reflective conversation (with sufficient time allocated) can also have a positive impact of itself – deepening the relationships and climate within the team through the actual dialogue.

Click here to access the link to the original article.