Last week I mentioned that planning for the coming year should include a review of the year just passed. I thought, since this will be my last post of 2014, that I would honour it with its own post.

Review is a much maligned, yet valid, part of project management and it is at the centre of quality assurance – both integral parts of my knowledge. I’m not sure just why people are so reluctant to look to the past when planning for the future.

As I look back on 2014, I realise that there was one thing which stood out above all. It was carrying out my application for Telstra Businesswoman of the Year. So I wasn’t successful, but the application process included a very specific review element. Undertaking the review was a very revealing and raw process. It made me confront a lot of beliefs I had about myself, my abilities, and my achievements. What came from it was an amazing sense of achievement, pride, and ability. It was this process that actually kicked me from the planning stages of Write to Right to the action phase.

Business performance review - write to right

So, once again, I ask why are people so reluctant to conduct a review and use it to empower actions into the future? Are they so focused on what will be or what they want to be that reviewing seems obsolete? Do they believe that reviewing is ‘living in the past’ and as such dragging them back and preventing progress? Is it a lack of resources (expertise, time, money)? Is it that they have no goals and therefore believe they have nothing to review?

So back to the award process and why it was so empowering. While I had to provide details of my financials over the previous three years, it was the questions that focused on the outcomes of my actions which really hit home.

Outline your most memorable business achievement and what were the significant learnings.

What have been some of the most difficult business challenges you have had to face and how have you overcome them to achieve success.

What do you believe have been the driving factors for your success and why?

Please provide details of the involvement and contribution you have made to your industry i.e. board positions you have held, currently hold or actively seeking.

Outstanding leaders create a positive environment for learning. How have you invested time, money and energy in developing others to build your business capability for future success?

Please tell us about your most successful business relationship. What made (or makes) it successful?

Now, look at your finances over the past 6 months, year, and two years. Are you where you expected to be? Did you achieve financial milestones? What did you do to achieve them that worked well? Is there anything you could have done differently/better? Anything you shouldn’t have done at all? When I asked myself these questions it prompted me to be more active in following up on leads. As a result, I also introduced a new accounting system, with improved billing and credit card facilities.

I encourage you to consider what I taught you about goal setting and watch the following TED talk. When you have finished, go and answer the questions that were posed to me in the Telstra Businesswoman of the Year Awards. Don’t spend too much time; the longest response I was allowed was 400 words. (It made me be targeted in my answers and I think this also played a part in its influence)

  • Fantastic post Kara and such great questions that can be applied in business and in life. I love the idea to keep responses short and targeted and I think reviewing successes and using learnings from the not so successfuls is a really smart way to move forward and continue growing.

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