It is the end of the fourth quarter, which means it is time once again for year-end planning, but it is not enough to measure business performance. You need to reflect, recalibrate, and recharge to deliver value on all financial and otherwise investments made in the last twelve months. Further, inclusive leaders and individuals use the time of recharging to assess their progress in allyship and advocacy.
I’ve previously shared my thoughts on “The Three R’s” with Inclusive Individual subscribers. Still, this year, I want to emphasize something: this mindset can apply just as much to our business and professional endeavors as it can to our inclusion and equity efforts.
Most leaders look back at the current year's activities during year-end strategic planning and review things like employee performance, financial metrics, and Return on Investment (ROI).
I end each year in the mindset of what I call “The 3 R’s: Reflect, Recalibrate, and Recharge,” and I have committed to practicing them year-round. And the results have been stellar.
When I can reflect, recalibrate, and recharge, I am a better leader, CEO, and more inclusive individual. This year, I am encouraging myself and all of you to frame the entirety of 2024 through the 3 R’s.
To me, reflection is personal. It involves looking back at the previous year and assessing who you were as a human being and leader versus who you aspire to be. Did you show up for others like you desired? Was your behavior inclusive on a day-to-day basis? Did you lean on faith in the way you aspire? These types of intentional reflection questions are vital to leadership, future planning, and success. Frankly, it can be challenging to make calculated future decisions without them.
My reflection process consists of journaling, rereading old journal entries, and a year-in-review exercise. Journaling helps me articulate my thoughts, consider new ideas (especially when using prompts), and develop and track realistic and attainable goals. My year-in-review exercises consist of a series of reflections and activities that help me and my team align our visions and design for the year ahead.
These activities and times of reflection give me somewhat of a highlight reel of the current year and help me remember my professional and personal progress on various goals.
In your time of personal and professional reflection, you can ask yourself and answer questions like:
- What are my top 5 personal values? Did I live this out this year? List a few examples.
- What were my personal goals last year? Did I achieve them? Reflect on why or why not.
- Am I satisfied with how much time I spend with family and friends? Why or why not?
- Did I use my privilege to ally and/or advocate for others? List a few examples.
- Did I actively utilize my bystander intervention skills when witnessing bias or microaggressions? Provide examples.
It is important to remember that reflection is not just limited to the last 365 days – it can be for any time frame. Inclusive allies and leaders reflect consistently on their behavior and language.
This kind of reflection allows us to begin to recalibrate any behaviors, plans, or projects that we spend a great deal of emotional time and effort on, such as allyship.
Recalibrating after reflecting allows us to change our mindsets and routines to make us more efficient and inclusive individuals.
For me, recalibration is organizational, both personally and professionally speaking. In a professional sense, it relates to how an organization is run. In the personal sense, organization relates to how we shape our thoughts and behaviors while moving through the world around us.
Recalibration is the process of carefully assessing where my business is, setting or resetting where I want it to be, and planning the necessary adjustments to get us there in the coming year. Similarly, I can recalibrate personally by assessing how inclusive I have been throughout the year and how actionable my allyship has been. From there, I can begin to make changes for the future.
To recalibrate, I start by taking the pertinent information collected during my time of reflection, and I frame how I can make behavior changes that will positively affect future outcomes. These changes and ideas are generated about my business, professional priorities, and personal allyship efforts.
Recalibrating business efforts includes financial planning, strategizing revenue-generating activities, and building an execution playbook. Still, it also includes planning sustainable changes to processes, technology, culture, and policies.
Through this process, we can answer questions like:
- What are our business goals for next year, why, and how will we attain them?
- Which processes are working, and which need improvement?
- Are there new policies we need to implement?
When we recalibrate as allies, we remind ourselves exactly why we show up as advocates for diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Recalibrating in our personal lives provides space for rest and reflection. To engage in this kind of effort, try considering the following:
- Does the work I do in my professional life align with my personal values?
- Did you engage in meaningful allyship this year?
- How has your behavior at work and in your community demonstrated inclusivity?
- Have you been staying informed on global events and issues of equity and diversity in your region?
Recalibration is both an invitation and a challenge to answer the question, “Am I living out my values?” through direct action and behavior. While we reflect and recalibrate, we must also make time to recharge to avoid burnout and fatigue.
Recharging is all about resting and holding space for the professional to check in, be cared for, and be revitalized. It helps me avoid leadership fatigue at the end of the year or the beginning of another, which is crucial for a fast start.
As a business owner and CEO, I encourage my team to recharge their professional lives by pouring themselves into work that energizes them, particularly at the end of the year. Furthermore, I also encourage my team to take time away from work entirely to focus on their well-being and mental health.
In our personal lives, we can recharge ourselves by taking a break from social media and the larger constant news cycle. While it is crucial to stay abreast and up to date on the injustices occurring around the globe, it is just as important to find time to focus on your physical and emotional health with plenty of well-deserved rest.
At year's end, whether it is a retreat, a favorite vacation, or just relaxing in a quiet place, your version of recharging should help you find some balance between business, allyship, fun, and rest. It should help you become the best version of yourself for your employees, customers, friends, family, colleagues, and business.
This December, my team and I will embrace the 3 R’s: “Reflect, Recalibrate, and Recharge.” Being a balanced and effective leader rests as much on your ability to reflect, recalibrate, and recharge as it does on your ability to push, prepare, and perform.
Yes, year-end strategic planning is about business performance and metrics. Still, it's also about the value and indirectly measurable return on investment of being relaxed, recalibrated, and rejuvenated for the year ahead.
The Three R’s can propel you forward as a more grounded, inclusive, and supportive advocate and leader — and with greater clarity about organizational and people goals and your purpose, vision, and truth.
This framework of reflecting, recalibrating, and recharging has become critical in helping me become a stronger and more focused strategic planner and inclusive individual; it can also make a significant difference for you.
This year, try incorporating the three Rs into your year-end planning to create more sustainable and positive outcomes on a personal and business level.
As you prepare to welcome in 2024, you’ll find yourself in a space to ring in the New Year with excitement and eagerness for good work, and good rest.