The Annual Wrap Up For Leaders

Guest post by Great
Leadership monthly contributor Beth Armknecht Miller:

As a Vistage Chair for almost 8 years, one of the rituals my
group has is an annual wrap up. Each member reflects back over the past 12
months and then looks ahead to the next year. This time has proven valuable to
members.  Many have seen their companies
and their leadership grow year over year.

Reflecting on the

During the time of reflection, members will journal their
successes and shortcomings as a leader as well as their teams success and
failure. The process is not complex yet it can be difficult, especially when it
comes to admitting your mistakes and shortcomings. The key is to define the
failures that you had control over. For instance, if you own an insurance
agency, the Affordable Care Act, may be affecting your business.  What are the things that you had control over
that you did not act on which had a negative impact on your business? The
answer may be lack of expansion into other lines of insurance.

On the flip side, successes should be celebrated.  So often I find that leaders will beat
themselves up on set backs, yet spend little time celebrating their
accomplishments! They are their own worse critics and it takes this type of self-
reflection exercise to help over achievers recognize the great things they accomplished
during the past year.

With mistakes identified, I have members then identify two
behaviors or skills that if they improved would increase their leadership
effectiveness. This helps to focus their attention on what they need to develop
over the next year. I often suggest that they confirm their self-assessment
with key employees who they respect. Or better yet, use a 360 assessment to
confirm their beliefs.

To conclude this part of the annual wrap up process, the
members of the Vistage group meet in groups of three and share their
reflections with other members.  This
method gets leaders to practice transparency and humility, two competencies
that are important to leaders.

A Self-Reflection form is found here.

Looking toward the

The future is about setting goals.  These are goals that will stretch a leader
past his or her comfort zone while at the same time being achievable.  They are stretch goals, not break goals!

After years of working with leaders, setting professional
goals is a smooth process but when it comes to developing personal goals many
leaders often struggle. The point of personal goals is to help keep leaders
balanced, and they are
used to improve the quality of life, love, and happiness. The lack of a proper
balance between business and personal goals can lead to executive stress and
burn out. And stress can lead to all sorts of negative behaviors that show up
both personally and professionally.

main areas of personal goals generally fall into the following categories:  health, family and friends, hobbies and
interests, spiritual, and financial.

a professional side of the goal equation, leaders need to get clear on the
important and not the urgent. What are those goals, if accomplished, will get
the company closer to their vision while staying true to their mission and

with all SMART goals, the ability to measure success is important. I know this
sounds simple, yet time and again I see goals written by leaders that are too
vague, such as “get tougher with employees”. So how do you measure this goal,
is this the real goal?  Why do you want
to get tougher?  Is it accountability or
something else that you need to be focused on?

annual ritual within my Vistage group has provided leaders with a written
document of where they have been over the past year and a map of where they
want to go over the next year. And the results include, many successful company
sales, transitions to next generations, as well as growth during some difficult
economic times.

Beth Armknecht Miller is CEO of Executive Velocity, a top talent and
leadership development advisory firm. Beth is a trusted executive consultant,
Vistage Chair, and committed volunteer. She is a graduate of Babson College and
Harvard Business School’s OPM program. She is certified in Myers Briggs, Hogan,
and Business DNA. And she is a Certified Managerial Coach. Beth’s insight and
expertise has made her a sought-after speaker, and she has been featured in
numerous industry blogs and publications. To learn more about Beth visit