There are a few years ends that I enjoy celebrating. NYE, obviously. As the years have passed it has veered towards a glitzy night at home, where we over-dress, pop the champagne and end up watching the fireworks on TV.
Then there’s Chinese New Year, a month or so later. I love the decorations in town, taking the kids to buy festive food and more epic fireworks. Then there’s a year end that might seem less festive, but which is probably the one that is burnt in my mind the brightest. Financial Year End. Before you think I’m in danger of becoming an accountant or getting my head stuck in the books, let me explain.
Reflect and acknowledge
Financial year end is a time to look back and acknowledge the incredible progress of the last year’s work. Too often we jump from project to project without ever fully appreciating what we’ve achieved or how things have changed. Why? Because we’re busy ambitious people who are client-focused - we don’t spend too much time patting ourselves on the back! It’s always a pleasant surprise at year-end when we review the data and =projects we were working on a year earlier. Inevitably we can say that something that happened last July is the reason why we’re enjoying a set of client work right now.
Understand your strengths
This pause and review help us to understand more deeply what parts of our work have really paid dividends. It encourages us to spend our time strategically and think of the long term gains.
There are always improvements too - but with a high-level view and hindsight, we can look at them objectively and realise more about them than when we were in the heat of the moment.
Plan for success
With this understanding, we create our goals for the year ahead. This means accepting strengths and weaknesses and making an optimal plan to move forward. This plan will inspire us, hold our course during any rocky times, and it gives us all a huge sense of achievement to check off the milestones along the way. Like any good plan, this is written down, given some meat on its bones, and as a group, we brainstorm the many actions that will be born from it as we commence another new financial year.
We get together as a team to celebrate the Financial Year End and make our commitments for the next year as a group. The high-level goals are cast front and centre on our intranet and we refer back to them in quarterly checkpoints.
Of course, financial year-end comes with some champagne as well, but no fireworks. Instead, the fireworks are set off regularly over the course of the year ahead as we clock in goals and know that we gained results with deliberation, not by chance.