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How to Complete Your Own Annual Review

Reflect on work, health, finances, and more with a personal year in review

how to review a year

At the end of each whirlwind year, it’s hard to decipher where the last 365 days went. An annual review is a moment (or two) to pause and consider how you spent your year –– the highs, the lows, and everything in between.

annual review highs and lows

The highs and lows of a year

James Clear, a productivity expert and the author of Atomic Habits , has publicly shared a annual review from 2013 to 2019 :

Basically, my Annual Review forces me to look at my actions over the past 12 months and ask, ‘Are my choices helping me live the life I want to live?’”

In the absence of regular reflection, we move from year to year without celebrating our successes, learning from our failures, and assessing whether what we’re doing in life is what we actually want to be doing in life. Sitting down to review your life, one piece at a time, will uncover hidden lessons and important insights you can take into the next year.

This article will guide you through completing an annual review of all the important aspects of your life –– work, productivity, health, finances, relationships, and more –– including real-life examples for inspiration. By taking time to reflect and arming yourself with awareness, you’ll be better equipped to face the year ahead.

annual review template

Download our annual review Todoist template

Download our annual review Todoist template or use our annual review Google Doc template to reflect and answer key questions about your work, productivity, health, finances, and more over the passing year.

Why you should do an annual review

Sitting down to do an annual review takes time, patience, and some tolerance for discomfort as we ask ourselves the hard questions. The end of the year – when holiday hecticness takes hold and we’re longing for a break – hardly feels like a time to dig through our year in search of answers. But an annual review is an opportunity to discover what may have been hidden and search for insights we can use in the year to come.

Dedicated time for reflection

Though there are 8,760 hours in a year, most of us spend scant few on targeted reflection. It’s one of those important-but-not-urgent tasks that fall to the bottom of our lists. Instead, we find ourselves on auto-pilot, defaulting to knee-jerk reactions and well-worn habits.

An annual review is a chance to take a handful of those hours and walk away with insights to inform the year to come. A quiet revelation that arises from your review might convince you to seek out a more fulfilling job or reconnect with a loved one. Without a force to knock us off our tired trajectory, we can default to doing the same things day in and day out. Your annual review can be that force.

Celebrate your accomplishments

Our minds are primed to focus on the negative. We fixate on what we should have said, the opportunity unseized, the promotion that could have been. Even when we do reach our goals, we forget our wins as quickly as they come, stretching out our hands for the next achievement.

Hedonic Adaptation explained

Hedonic adaptation is a cognitive bias that keeps us forever chasing the next thing.

An annual review is time to consider what you accomplished throughout the year. Give yourself permission to recognize and celebrate your wins –– the big ones and the small ones, the ones you intentionally aimed for and the ones you never expected. You may be surprised at what you discover when you take the time to look.

Unearth opportunities for improvement

Sometimes we avoid reflection because we’re afraid of what we’ll find. The uncomfortable feeling that we’ve wasted a year leads us to either dwell in regret or simply ignore the past altogether as we set starry-eyed goals for the new year. Neither impulse gives us the opportunity for honest self-reflection and growth.

Instead, take an objective look at your year. Dig through artifacts like an enthusiastic archeologist seeking to understand rather than judge. Use your annual review to get at the root of “why” and search for opportunities to do things differently in the year ahead.

When you review your year as a whole, seemingly unrelated parts of your life come into focus at once, enabling you to connect the dots.

You might discover that poor sleep sidelined your side project or digital detractions got in the way of family time. While facing our shortcomings head on isn’t easy, consider this reframe to make it easier: get curious, not critical.

Set better goals

We’re capable of running faster, writing better, working smarter, and anything else we set our minds to. We should set audacious goals that make us uncomfortable. But our ambitious goals should also be grounded in reality.

annual review set goals

Set reflection-informed goals

Assessing the past year will help you take an honest look at your current benchmarks and inform your next targets. If you completed 50 workouts by the end of year, doubling that number for the new year is an ambitious goal worthy of pursuit. But aiming to workout daily and set a 365-day streak is probably an exercise in self-deception. An annual review helps us set resolutions we can actually reach by taking an ambitious, but realistic approach to goal-setting.

How to do an annual review

There’s no single right way to do an annual review. If you started the year with a set of concrete goals, you could review them one by one. If you’re a personal documentarian, you might review your year month-by-month, flipping chronologically through journal entries, notes, and snapshots on your camera roll. If you’re a master of the quantified self method, looking through your recorded numbers is a great strategy.

Here's how a few other annual review enthusiasts conduct their own year in reviews:

  • Anne-Laure Le Cunff, a productivity expert and the Founder of Ness Labs , conducts an annual review where she pulls out her highlights for the year, recounts challenges, and reflects on big life shifts and important learnings.
  • Justin Duke, a technologist, divided his 2020 in Review into sections like "Personal", "Professional", and "Content", further subdividing each section to discuss areas like his health, side-projects, and favorite books and music. He ends his refection with five goals for the year ahead.
  • David Perell, a writer and entrepreneur, penned a 2022 annual review that includes his highlights of the year, a refection on his goals including a letter grade for each, goals for the year ahead, and further reflections on improvement, thing to celebrate, and open questions.

For many, the simplest strategy will be reviewing each area of your life that’s important to you. This is the method we recommend to get a holistic view of your year, from work to workouts to relationships and more. It’s the method we’ll walk you through in the rest of this guide.

Annual reviews are about reflection, but our memories are often faulty. Use the information and data at your disposal to look back on your year. Before diving into your annual review, here’s a quick summary of some of the information – or "artifacts" – you should have quick access to before you start digging into your year:

annual review

Everything you'll need for your annual review

If you don’t have some of the information above, don’t worry. An annual review is worth doing even without all the data above at your fingertips. As you go through, take note of the data you would have liked to have had access to and set up a system to start collecting it for next year. For example, if you’re having a hard time remembering what books you read this year, start keeping track of them with Goodreads . While you might not want to track absolutely everything, it’s worth setting up some systems to document areas of your life that you’d like to look back on.

The section ahead will walk you through the different areas of your life to review, what data you can uncover and reflect on, as well as questions to ask yourself as you revisit the past twelve months and look to the year ahead.

This will take a while, so set aside time during the end of the year or the early part of the new year to complete your annual review. Remember, life has different seasons. In one, you might be putting family above productivity or prioritizing finances over fun. While it’s worth assessing every area of your life, focus more time on the areas that are most important to you right now or that will be a priority in the new year.

Thinking is great, but writing is even better . Pull out a blank journal, a few sheets of loose paper, or go digital with a Google Doc, writing down notes to prompts and answers to questions as you work through each section. If you’re using the annual review Todoist template , try typing your answers in the comments section of each task.

Let’s dive in.

Between racing to meet deadlines, busy periods at work, and growing professional responsibilities, a year goes by at falcon speed. Spend time reflecting on the work you did in between the madness. Contemplate whether you’re moving forward professionally or feeling stagnant in your job or career.

📈 What data you’ll need : Turn to your work emails, your work calendar, or your company’s internal emails to get a full picture of what you did at work in 2020. If your company or department does monthly or annual updates, it’s worth looking back at those and situating your own role and responsibilities within the wider context. Look back on notes from 1:1s with your managers and/or reports.

  • Consider your favorite projects : Think back to the work you did in the past year and reflect on the assignments or projects that felt challenging but energizing. Jot down anything that comes to mind – from onboarding a new team member to serving on a committee unrelated to your core role. Look for common themes to the kind of work you find most gratifying. Write out the action items it might take to experience more of those high moments in the new year, including any obstacles you might need to break through.
  • Contemplate your biggest challenges : Consider any professional challenges that made you unhappy, stood between you and a career goal, or simply made your job harder. This could be anything from a strained work relationship to an abundance of busy work. Write down how you might minimize or eliminate these challenges in the new year. Don’t limit your scope of solutions – entertain the possibility of a new job or a new career path altogether.
  • Think about your professional growth : Our jobs (and by extension our days, weeks, and even years) get stale when we’re not moving. Reflect on new skills you picked up in the past year or opportunities you had to stretch beyond your previous capabilities. If things stayed the same, consider whether that works for you or if it’s time to try out something new.

Ask yourself these questions about your work:

  • In what moments did it feel like I was working within my zone of genius ?
  • How did I expand my professional capabilities and skill set?
  • What professional relationships made an impact this year?
  • What did I work on this year that I’m the most proud of?
  • How did I provide support to my colleagues on the job?
  • What did I learn from any work mistakes I made?
  • Did I manage to find work-life balance?

Working faster and checking off more tasks isn’t a worthwhile goal in itself. Instead, we should consider productivity in the context of what it allows us to do with our precious time and attention – from spending more time with our loved ones to getting a passion project off the ground. Use a portion of your annual review to consider how much you got done in the past year, both on a micro scale (daily) and macro scale (annual). Consider how effectively you spend your time and whether you’re making tangible progress in important areas of your life or falling prey to distractions.

📈 What data you’ll need: If you write to-do lists and tasks in a daily or weekly paper planner, flip through that. Alternatively, look through your notes app or whatever digital spot where you might keep track of your tasks (e.g. Bear, Notion, etc). If you’re a digital taskmaster, turn to your digital to-list app (like Todoist ) for a complete task history. You can also take a look back at your productivity with time tracking apps like RescueTime . To assess your distractions, look through your browser site history and Screen Time on your mobile device to build greater awareness of the time you spent on social media and entertainment. Sites like Netflix and YouTube will often have your watch history available too. 

rescue time productivity

Track and review your productivity in apps like RescueTime

  • Consider your daily progress : Think about how much you’re getting done each day. Review any daily to-do lists you have on hand, whether they’re from earlier this year or just the other day. Pay attention to what you wrote down versus what you actually got done. Consider whether you’re structuring your day in a way that helps you focus on your priorities and move towards your goals. If not, take our quiz to find a productivity method that works for you – whether that’s time blocking , pomodoro , GTD , or something else entirely.
  • Review your overall productivity : The biggest indicator of productivity is what you actually got done. Take note of your biggest personal and professional projects. Write down the important things you got done this year. These could be big projects you launched at work, the effort you devoted to a side project, time dedicated to community organizing, or anything meaningful you accomplished and feel proud of.
  • Assess your digital distractions : Social media and online content can curtail our productivity and leave us with less time in a day. While Netflix and YouTube have their place in helping us unwind and enjoy entertainment, sometimes they distract and detract. Consider your time spent online over the last year. If your internet use veers toward excessive, think about the ways that time could be better spent. That doesn’t mean replacing your time on Twitter with work, but with activities that serve your bigger goals – whether that’s baking with your kids, cooking more at home , or creating the comic book you’ve been thinking about for years.

Todoist Tip: View your completed tasks in Todoist inside projects or in the activity log (for Premium and Business users). See precisely what you got done across your different projects to assess your productivity.

review your productivity

Review your daily and weekly productivity in Todoist

Ask yourself these questions about your productivity:

  • How much am I really getting done each day?
  • How satisfied am I with what I accomplished this year?
  • What factors may have contributed to accomplishing less than I wanted this year?
  • When am I the most productive? How can I create these conditions more often?
  • When am I least productive? How can I avoid these conditions more often?
  • Do I have a healthy relationship with social media and technology?

Consider your overall wellbeing over the passing year – your physical, emotional, and mental health. Take a look at whether you ate foods that made you feel strong, healthy, and energized, or foods that left you feeling gross and depleted , mentally and physically. Examine your exercise and activity levels to see whether you made moving your body a priority. Evaluate your emotional and mental health, everything from your mood to the time you devoted to self-care .

📈 What data you’ll need: If you track your eating, consult paper food logs or digital food tracking tools (e.g. MyFitnessPal). Digital grocery orders and bank statements will also provide a trail of clues into your nutrition over 2020. Review your workout app of choice (e.g. Strava, Peloton, etc) to assess your exercise levels, note if you gained or lost fat and/or muscle or  you achieved new personal bests in any lifts or races. Check any other physical activity data you might have. Consult your journal to peer into your emotional health throughout the year. Check your calendar and to-do lists to see if you prioritized time spent on self-care and activities for emotional wellbeing (e.g. vacation time, coaching, therapy, etc). Look into any sleep data you might have from a wearable health device.

  • Account for your workouts : Review your workouts (or lack thereof). Highlight any PRs or activity results you’re proud of –– from trying out Yoga to going on a walk a few times a week. Try to spot any important trends, like working out less during a stressful month in your life or being more active during spring and summer. Use any new insights to inform the activity goals you set for the coming year. Think back to any injuries and whether you gave your body enough time to recuperate. Don’t forget to think about rest. Consider sleep levels and think about whether you’re waking up rested each day. Consider your nutrition: Look back at what you ate over the past year and assess whether what you’re consuming is making you feel your best. Consider everything from your caffeine consumption to your alcohol intake. Note down nutritious foods you want to add more of to your diet and write down areas of improvement.
  • Reflect on your mental health : Think about how you coped with the stresses of life over the past year. Note whether you felt any sadness, anxiety, or anger and how you dealt with those emotions in both healthy and counterproductive ways. Write down strategies to start or continue prioritizing your overall wellbeing in the coming year (e.g. journaling, meditation, therapy, exercise, etc).

Ask yourself these questions about health:

  • Overall, has my health improved, deteriorated, or stayed the same over the past year?
  • Were there stressful or challenging times over the year that impacted my health?
  • Am I adequately prioritizing healthy eating, exercise, and sleep?
  • What did I do for myself this year as self-care? Can I do more?
  • Did I devote adequate time to my religious and/or spiritual growth?
  • What kinds of activities left me feeling drained?
  • What kinds of activities reenergized me?

The value of money is what it buys us in the way of our needs, wants, experiences, security, and flexibility. Assess your financial progress over the last year as a whole, including any progress on big goals – whether that was paying off a portion of your credit card debt or saving enough to start a small business. Consider whether you’ve stuck to a strict budget or gone beyond your spending limits instead.

📈 What data you’ll need: Take a look at your bank account balances and credit card statements online. If you have a dedicated budget, consult your spreadsheets or apps like YNAB or Personal Capital . Also check-in on any investments you may have made and whether they’ve gone up or down.

  • Look at where your money went : Beyond the big numbers, get into the details and recount precisely where your money went. Look into categories like bills, food, clothing, entertainment, child care, home, and everything else. Take the time to assess your biggest categories and see if there’s room for adjustments and reallocations.
  • Dig into how much you earned, spent, and saved : Look at the raw numbers –– note your income from all sources, the amount you spent, and any savings and/or debts. Consider whether these amounts are aligned with your financial goals. If not, jot down ideas for how you could be earning more, saving more, or spending less.
  • Consider the utility of your income : Note some of the important things you did with your income this year and how you’ll use your money in the coming year.

Ask yourself these questions about your finances:

  • Am I satisfied with how much I earned, spent, and saved?
  • Did I accomplish or miss any large financial goals?
  • What habits contributed to my financial success or failure?
  • Am I using my income to serve my other goals in life?
  • How much did I give to causes I care about? Am I happy with that number?
  • What is the top thing I can do next year to be financially successful?


The people we spend time with and the relationships we forge make the year what it is. During your annual review, reflect on the relationships in your life – spouses and significant others, children, parents, siblings, friends, and more. Think back to memorable moments with friends and family – whether that’s birthday parties over Zoom or socially distanced walks in the park. Consider your most meaningful conversations, both the heart-warming ones and challenging ones. Consider how much time you spent with the people you love and whether you’re prioritizing their presence in your life. If you’re lacking connection and community in your life, consider how you might create them.

📈 What data you’ll need: Look back to your calendar or to-do list to check for time spent with the people in your life. Review text messages, phone logs, emails, and even your social media messages. Flip through the camera roll on your phone. Refer back to journal entries where you may have mentioned the people in your life.

  • Consider the most important people in your life : Jot down the names of the people whose presence in your life you value, even if those relationships aren’t always easy. Consider whether you’ve spent enough time with them in the passing year, your favorite memories, biggest learnings, and ideas for spending more or better time with them in the new year. If relationships with any of these people are strained, think through the effort it might take to repair those bonds and whether it’s a worthwhile pursuit.
  • Think about how you support your loved ones : Relationships are a mutual dance of give and take. Consider how much you give. Write down the ways you’ve supported the people in your life and the times you may have fallen short. Contemplate how you could be doing more to show your loved ones you care – whether that’s thoughtful messages or arranging time to talk in between busy days and weeks.
  • Examine your overall connection to others : Consider whether you feel supported in life or may be lacking meaningful connection. If you want to build new relationships in the new year, write down or seek out strategies for finding friends, pursuing dating, or building community.

Ask yourself these questions about your friends, family, and relationships:

  • What relationships gave me energy?
  • What relationships zapped my energy?
  • Did I spend enough time with my loved ones?
  • What things may I have prioritized over my relationships? Are those things worth it?
  • What specific challenges did I encounter in my relationships?
  • What were the best moments with my friends and family in the last year?
  • Are there people I would like to get closer to in the new year?
  • What new relationships would I like to develop moving forward?

Life is better as an eternal student . Consider where your curiosities took you in the past year. Whether you were actually in school, took online courses, listened to podcasts, or read books, think about what you learned. Count your personal learnings about yourself and your life in what you learned over the last year. Self-inquiry is just as important as the things you pick up in textbooks.

📈 What data you’ll need: Look to your calendar or emails for reminders of the courses or conferences you attended. Turn to your bookshelf or reading apps (e.g. GoodReads, Kindle, Audible, Pocket) to account for everything you read. Consult your notes or journal for any life lessons you picked up along the way, whether through reflection or conversations with others.

  • Recount new knowledge or skills : Jot down the things you know now that you previously didn’t and what you can do now that you couldn’t before. Record learning milestones like building a personal website from scratch or cooking the perfect scalloped potatoes. List off the most impactful books or articles you read that expanded your mind, helped you think differently, or deepened your interest in a particular area. Write down any subjects or skills you want to prioritize learning over the next year.
  • Consider your ideal learning environments : In thinking about what you learned, consider how you learned too. Note how and when you did your best learning – whether that was taking a formal course or working one-on-one with a mentor. Use this information to plan how you’ll pick up new skills and knowledge in the new year.
  • Think about your personal life lessons : Write down your top personal lessons of the year – whether they were in the “relationship”, “work”, or “productivity” category. Experience is the greatest teacher; consider the experiences in your life that have helped shape you and shifted your perspectives this year.

Ask yourself these questions about your learning:

  • Were there competing priorities that prevented me from learning as much as I could?
  • What was the most personally impactful thing I learned this year?
  • How and when did I do my best learning over the last year?
  • What skill should I focus on developing in the new year?
  • How am I a different person now compared to last year?

If you’re fortunate enough to have a quiet day or two between the end of this year and the start of the next one, take time to unearth and examine the work, productivity, health, finances, relationship, and learning you’ve done over the past 365 days.

Before forging head-first into the future, take time to reflect on the past.

In reflecting upon the year, do your best to examine and question, not dwell. You may have fallen short of your goals or experienced challenges that made for a hard year, but chances are you accomplished more than you think you did. No matter what you unearth in your annual review, you will have learned more about yourself and what you want in life and that counts for a lot. Reflect on the year gone by so you can move forward with renewed energy and optimism for all that’s to come.

Use our annual review Todoist template to run through your work, productivity, health, finances, and more over the last 365 days.

how to review a year

Fadeke Adegbuyi

Fadeke works on Marketing at Doist. She's passionate about telling stories of better ways to live and work. 😌

how to review a year

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Home » How to write a year in review recap (that doesn't sound like one of those season’s greetings letters) for your organization

How to write a year in review recap (that doesn't sound like one of those season’s greetings letters) for your organization

by Olivia Marlowe-Giovetti

You know the moment: You’re going through your mail when you catch the hint of a red envelope. A snowflake stamp. “So it begins,” you think. You open the envelope and the single sheet of green paper that was clearly at the end of an ink cartridge. “ Season’s greetings to our friends and family!!! ” it reads at the top. It’s hard to get that image out of your head when it comes time to recapping the year your organization’s followers. And yet, this is the friends and family that actually wants to hear from you. So how do you send a year-in-review to your supporters that avoids the humblebrag cliches?

Read on for our tips on writing a year-in-review recap that your fans and friends (and family) will actually want to read…

Show, don’t tell

Instead of spelling out for your supporters each way their donation dollars kept the needle moving forward for your organization, make your recap dynamic and visual. You can even consider it a preview of what your annual report will look like in the new year. Email marketing, design, and testing tool Litmus played to its strengths with its year-end email in 2016. The result looks like an infographic for the company’s year in data with a link to its website for more highlights, including what their most popular email was for the year. Likewise, retail platform Big Cartel had some seasonal fun with its year-end email in 2015, turning their year of accomplishments into a board-game style timeline.

Big Cartel's 2015 Year-in-Review Email

Big Cartel’s 2015 Year-in-Review Email

Focus on their accomplishments, not yours

Don’t be like Taylor Swift. Flip the script from “ Look what you made me do ” to “Look what you did.” Chances are your organization’s successes in the past year were thanks to the support of countless donors and advocates. The ACLU recently marked the one-year anniversary of the 2016 U.S. presidential election with an email campaign that was all about making the political, personal: They used a first-name call-out in the subject line (“Olivia’s year of fighting back”). They also tailored the language of the body text to focus on supporters versus the organization itself: “You blocked the Muslim ban. You saved our health care. You’ve defended Dreamers and their families.” The campaign ended with a call for users to share their activism stories , bringing traffic back to the ACLU site. Regardless of your cause, now is the perfect time to say, “Thanks for giving.”

ACLU's Year-in-Review, one year after Election Day 2016

ACLU’s Year-in-Review, one year after Election Day 2016

Make them dig a little deeper

Creating an information gap between what you outline in your email and what you say on another platform (i.e., your website) will pique user interest and, as seen above with examples from both Litmus and the ACLU, give users a reason to revisit your site. As Campaign Monitor notes , this information gap has been proven to cognitively induce a feeling of deprivation, thereby motivating humans to act. So go ahead, make your supporters curious to know what’s in the box. But in order to tear off the wrapping paper, get them to take that one extra step.

Give them something to do

Don’t be afraid to ask for a little something extra in your recap: According to Network for Good’s research, 12% of annual giving occurs in the last 3 days of December . For users who have donated in the past year, ask them to consider a recurring donation as a New Year’s resolution. For users who have not donated in the past year (or ever), let them know that there is still time to make a difference before the clock strikes 12. You can even get creative in this department, either with a matching gift or asking users to help crowdfund for a promotion, as charity: water did on a 2015 campaign for the BioSand Filter — adding a little seasonal touch to get people further into the spirit.

how to review a year

charity: water’s 2015 holiday campaign

Have a holly jolly headline

Don’t forget your subject line and preheader text! Consider how you’d like to frame the theme of your year in review and think of subject lines and preheaders as the wrapping and bows to go with it. Play with the suite of holiday- and winter-themed emojis, focus on the positive highlights of both the year that has passed and the year to come, and remind people that they can still make a difference in your cause sphere. For more on crafting a winning subject line , check out our guide.

We’re making a list…

…and were making spirits bright. Sign up below to get more merry updates from Whole Whale. (Our friends at the North Pole cross-reference their list with ours.)

how to review a year

End of Year Campaign Guide

Make sure your next giving season is better than the last with our guide to end-of-year fundraising.

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Blog Human Resources

21 Engaging Performance Review Examples [+ Tips From an HR Manager]

By Victoria Clarke , May 13, 2022


Performance review season can be a daunting period for both management and employees.

One-sided conversations, mixed messages and wordy documents leave both parties feeling like they have the same, stressful conversation each time.

But if you take the right approach, quarterly or annual performance reviews are an awesome opportunity to reinforce solid habits, redirect poor traits and drive professional growth for your employees.

In this post, I’ll give you tips from my own experience as an HR manager to make the performance review process a lot more painless, plus performance review examples you can customize now.

Performance review examples and advice:

What is a performance review.

  • Useful performance review phrases

Performance review examples and templates

  • Self performance review examples
  • Quarterly performance review examples
  • Annual performance review examples

Simple performance review examples

  • What’s the purpose of a performance review?

How to write a performance review

A performance review is a regulated assessment in which managers evaluate an employee’s work performance to identify their strengths and weaknesses, offer feedback and assist with goal setting.

The frequency and depth of the review process may vary by company, based on company size and goals of the evaluations. It could be annually:

performance review example annual review

Or quarterly, to name a few:

performance review example quarterly

Watch this quick, 14-minute video for performance review tips, templates and best practices:

This quarterly performance review example has sections for both achievements and areas of improvement. It also has a section for core values, as this must be a key performance indicator at this company. Different companies will have different measuring sticks for success.

performance review examples

Q: Can I customize the performance review templates in this post?

A: Yes, you can! All the templates are easy to edit. Some templates are free, some are paid.

Click any template and you’ll be asked to sign up for free. You’ll enter our online editor. Edit the text, apply your brand colors, add pages, upload your logo and more. Share a link for free.

Upgrade to our Plan for Professionals to download in PDF or PowerPoint format and access premium features and templates, such as real-time team collaboration and one-click branding.

Return to Table of Contents

Useful performance review phrases

Grappling with what to say at your next performance review? Choosing the right words is important to make the review as constructive as possible, not to mention motivating for your employee. Here’s a list of effective performance review phrases for managers and employees.

Performance appraisal comments for managers:

  • She replies to calls, emails and instant messages in a timely manner (within 24 hours etc.)
  • He has a talent for thinking outside the box.
  • She tends to be risk-averse and prefers traditional approaches to creative ones.
  • She maintains a culture of transparency in her team and encourages knowledge-sharing across all teams in the department.
  • He consistently gives reports the training and resources needed to meet their goals.
  • He is biased and openly favors some employees over others on his team.
  • She is skillful in communicating difficult decisions and messages to her team.
  • She creates chaos and miscommunication in her team by consistently communicating different messages to different reports.
  • You embody a “win together lose together” philosophy.
  • Your ability to reflect, plan and act is the key to your excellent performance.
  • He uses his seniority to try to dominate and/or intimidate reports.
  • He excels when working alone but has trouble working collaboratively with a team.
  • He consistently meets his deadlines and prioritizes top goal work.
  • She consistently focuses on lower-value work instead of high-lever activities.

Performance review phrases for employees:

  • Can you tell me more about what you mean?
  • I want to be sure I understand (your expectations).
  • Let me give you a little more context here.
  • What would it look like if I was performing at a top level?
  • What would I need to do to score higher on this?
  • Let’s discuss my goals and priorities for the the next quarter/year.
  • Is there a way to get more frequent feedback about my performance between evaluations?
  • How will I know if I’m on track between evaluations?

If you want to see a list of common skills you can comment on for your employees, check out this section .

To conduct an effective performance review, it’s important to deliver a positive and solution-focused message. This will be less discouraging to the employee.

This performance review example  shows how you can offer constructive feedback, while also praising the employee’s efforts. The majority of the sections focus on the employees’ achievements and strengths.

Suggested areas of improvement are positioned in the middle, letting managers cushion criticism with praise.

performance review examples

This appraisal example shows how managers can give constructive feedback to their employees by giving them clear direction on what things to keep doing and what actions to take in future.

While Felicia did not meet her goal, her manager acknowledges that the goal was set deliberately high and that 74 percent of the goal still has significant impact.

This employee review form also points to specific positive behavior, such as self-education, teamwork and a strong work ethic.

There are also specific recommendations for improvement, such as putting together a plan to get more press mentions and scaling her experiments.

performance review examples

Another way to do a performance review, or kick off the process, is to use a quadrant. Both the employee and manager can plot where they think the former falls on certain key values and build out discussion points from there.

You can change “get it done/get it right” in the employee review template below to “uphold core values/contribute to company culture” for example.

Employee Performance Review Quadrant Infographic Template

Self-performance review examples

In a self-performance review, employees assess themselves using the same rubric as their managers would and submit them to HR and/or their manager prior to their official review meeting.

The benefits of doing self-assessments have made them a common part of the employee review throughout many companies.

Self-assessments are an encouraging opportunity for employees to share their thoughts about their job, goals, desired responsibilities and aspects of either their role or environment that they may be struggling with.

Set employees up for success in the self-assessment process by giving them a robust employee evaluation form with thoughtful questions.

Annual self-evaluation employee review template

This first example is perfect for a thorough annual review. The targeted questions prompt the employee to reflect on their achievements and shortcomings, while also rating themselves on specific skill sets required for their job.

Annual employee self assessment example

The above employee self-assessment example allows for multiple sign-offs, plus a section to list colleagues who can back up the employee’s statements.

Yearly performance self-evaluation templates

A yearly performance self-evaluation isn’t just a great chance for employees to assess their past performance.

It’s also a way for employees to plan for their professional future as they can see where their strengths lie and what skills they need to build to move up in the company. An annual self-evaluation can also build an employee’s case for their compensation review.

This employee self-evaluation form is broken into sections that cover all these factors: about your job, achievements, goals and professional development .

Annual Employee Self-Evaluation Example

This yearly performance self-evaluation template has space to expand on goals met and alignment with core values, as well as skills they’d like to build in the future:

performance review examples

Self-assessment employee review forms

Many performance reviews are incredibly detailed. Sometimes, a higher-level overview is all that’s needed.

Quadrant evaluations, like the template below, are a great way for employees to do an assessment and for managers to quickly add their own evaluation, without getting into the weeds.

Employees can add what’s being evaluated in the easy-to-edit template below (instead of get it done/do it right). The employee adds an icon where they think they fall in the quadrant, and the manager does the same, with room on the last page to further break down the evaluation.

Sounds tough? Our real-time collaboration feature (part of the Business Plan ) lets both manager and employee work on the same doc online, leave comments, share private links and more.

Quadrant Performance Review Evaluation Report Template

The self employee review form below lets the employee write out their job description. That way, they can reference their deliverables in the Goals Achieved and Areas of Excellence sections and directly demonstrate their impact on the organization:

performance review examples

How Do I Customize This Template? Click the template, sign up for free and enter the Venngage editor. Click any text box to change the words or the font. Choose from brand fonts (you can set this), template fonts or from our font library. There are plenty of modern options. This article on how to choose fonts can help you decide.

This self-performance review example gives employees the chance to reflect on their achievements on a quarterly basis.

This way, employees can demonstrate meeting quarterly goals. It can also give them a chance to reflect on their strengths and weaknesses and have a chance to act on them before their big annual review:

performance review examples

How Do I Customize This Template? Click the template, sign up for free and enter the Venngage editor. Want to change the background colors? Click any section and then select a new color from the color picker tool. You can choose from a color from the color wheel, one of your brand colors (use My Brand Kit to set this up) or pre-set template colors. Or enter a HEX code if you want to get super specific.

performance review examples

Self-assessments also help enlighten managers of how employees understand their place within the company’s organization and culture.  

The information disclosed in self-assessments should serve as a major element of official performance reviews in order to ensure that both a two-way conversation occurs and that the needs of both parties are being met moving forward. Looking for a better way to enhance employee engagement, to avoid quite boring meetings? Try out the top 14 inspiring games for virtual meetings , to learn how to add a live poll, word cloud, spinner wheel or even live Q&A sessions to elevate your presentation!

To make for the most effective self-assessments, employees should be sure to consider how their managers’ perceptions of their performance varies from their own.  

With this in mind, the information shared in a self-assessment can guide or pivot a manager’s perception and assessment of an employee’s performance .

Quarterly employee performance review templates

Quarterly reviews are important because they provide multiple opportunities for employees to receive helpful feedback on how to improve as the year progresses.

This quarterly performance review example reflects on specific areas of improvement, such as scaling her experiments and developing content partnerships.

How Do I Customize This Template? Click the template, sign up for free and enter the Venngage editor. Want to add a text box? Click “Text” in the left-hand navigation bar. Drag the text box you want onto the canvas (“Text” is good for body copy). Then, click the text box and start typing!

Quarterly reviews from Q1 to Q3 serve as a means of providing specific, deliberate feedback to employees so they know exactly how to improve on their goals and skills.  

This enables the final, annual evaluation conducted at the end of Q4 to serve as a final assessment that will have the most weight in determining how the employee will excel into the next year, discretionary bonuses, salary increases, etc.

Quarterly reviews offer a documented and tracked record of an employee’s progress throughout the year.

This means that each quarter should be assessed using the same rubric throughout the entire year. This will aid in ensuring an accurate representation of an employee’s development is recorded.

That means, if you use the below employee review template in Q1, you should also use it again in Q2 and Q3:

performance review examples

Quarterly employee review template

This quarterly review template is a more condensed version of the example above.

If you’d like to keep your quarterly reviews short and to the point, this template will suffice. Employers can then use the expanded version above for their annual review.

performance review examples

How Do I Customize This Template? Click the template, sign up for free and enter the Venngage editor. Want to change the text? Click any text box to open the text toolbar above the canvas. From here, change the alignment and size, add bold or italic styling and add numbering or bullet points, too. It behaves just like any other text editor you’ve used before, so it’s simple to learn.

performance review examples

If you want a template that’s filled with useful information on the types of performance review phrases you can use for a quarterly review, you can edit the one below:

quarterly performance review template

Employee self-evaluation sample answers

It’s also important for employees to comment and reflect on their reviews.

They can both point out specific milestones that were missed:

  • I generated five new leads and, as a result, I exceeded my sales quota by 20%
  • I wrote a blog post based on original research that doubled our organic traffic in June

And also to acknowledge areas of improvement:

  • I recognize that I need to form new content partnerships. I plan to do so in Q3 by putting together a list of 10 potential targets based on past linkbuilding partners and sending a customized pitch email.

dark quarterly performance review template

How Do I Customize This Template? Click the template, sign up for free and enter the Venngage editor. Want to add your logo to the top of this template? Click the “My Brand Kit” tab in the editor. You can import your logo from your website. Drag and drop it onto the canvas. You’re done!

Annual performance review templates

At large organizations, there may not be enough resources in order to devote the time needed to conduct quarterly performance reviews for every employee.  

This is also true in the case of a supervisor who has a large number of direct reports working for them whereby time management is their main issue.  

In these situations, an annual performance review would work best, especially if the employees being evaluated are experienced in their line of work and have been with their company for a long time.

Annual employee performance review templates

In this employee review template, staff are evaluated on only four factors: ability, goals, areas of improvement, and core values:

performance review template

How Do I Customize This Template? Click the template, sign up for free and enter the Venngage editor. Change the background quickly by clicking the “Background” tab in the left-hand navigation bar. Choose from your brand colors or pre-set template colors. Add a gradient or pattern, if you like. Click “Undo” at any time to fix a mistake.

Annual evaluations are typically geared towards determining employee raises and discretionary bonuses.  

Regular one-on-one meetings between direct reports and managers throughout the course of the year would be a great way to supplement this process.

This annual employee review template can simply include scores (out of 100 etc.) in each box. Or put notes in each section to explain the overall performance score.

performance review examples

How Do I Customize This Template? Click the template, sign up for free and enter the Venngage editor. You can move any element in our templates just by clicking it and holding. Drag the text box, column, row, image etc. to a new spot. Change the size by grabbing a corner of the bounding box and making it bigger or smaller. It’s as simple as drag and drop.

This being said, annual appraisals would need to take a more general approach to evaluating employees than just providing a summary of their performance over the year.

The following employee review template takes a graphic approach and neatly summarizes overall performance using a score out of 100 for factors such as adaptability and project quality:

performance review template

How Do I Customize This Template? Click the template, sign up for free and enter the Venngage editor. The charts in this template can easily be changed to fit your stats. Click any chart and our chart editor will open. For example, you could click the blue donut Aptitude chart and enter the number “60.” The chart will automatically adjust. It’s that easy.

Employee evaluation examples

Aside from the categories in the template above, there are a number of other factors that employers can use to evaluate performance.

Common performance review skills:

  • Interpersonal skills
  • Quality of work
  • Communication
  • Problem solving
  • Adaptability
  • Punctuality and attendance
  • Self-education and learning
  • Accountability

Even if you want to do a basic performance review, you should always include:

  • Elements of the employee’s strengths.
  • Areas for which the employee can develop.
  • How the employee contributes/could contribute to the company’s core values and culture through performance and actions.

This performance review mind map shows the basics for setting up a simple yet effective performance review–from setting specific goals to soliciting employee feedback.

Simple Performance Review Mind Map Template

A simple performance review should still reflect the goals of your business’s performance review management system —and this will vary by company.

It’s important to understand the purpose of your assessment before determining what information will be required to assess in order to meet the goal.

For example, some smaller companies may use performance reviews throughout the year to track employees’ development and growth.

While other, larger companies may use performance reviews to summarize employee performance, help to calculate the priorities of the new year, adjust compensation or establish bonus amounts.

An HR checklist can come in handy to streamline the process.

Simple employee review template

Each of these simple employee review templates are easy to edit in our online editor. Customize the text to match your own criteria, add your brand colors, upload your logo, add or delete pages and then share a private link or download in PDF or PowerPoint formats ( Business Plan only ).

This template uses quadrants to see how employee and manager evaluations match. Or only use it for self-assessments or manager assessments.

Simple Multilevel Employee Performance Evaluation Infographic Template

Simple performance review template

This more traditional performance review template focuses only on big categories, like meeting goals, areas of excellence and areas of improvement.

performance review examples

How Do I Customize This Template? Click the template, sign up for free and enter the Venngage editor. Click the “My Brand Kit” tab to add your brand colors with one click (we’ll grab them automatically from your website). Or try one of our custom color palettes. Click “Shuffle” to try different color combinations.

Simple employee review form

The below form is an even more condensed version of the above. Use it for a quarterly review to keep things focused or even for an annual review to help you and your report stick to the most important points. Change the text to include your own categories of evaluation.

performance review template

How Do I Customize This Template? Click the template, sign up for free and enter the Venngage editor. If you need to add new text boxes, open the “Text” tab and drag a text box onto the canvas. The text box will resize as you type.

What’s the purpose of a performance review?

At Venngage, our people are at the core of everything we do as a business—whether it’s developing new features on our tool, growing our international reach or meeting customer needs.

With a people-focus within our company, we are passionate about continuous learning and improvement, self-reflection, creating great customer experiences , owning our jobs, teamwork and making our office feel like a second home

It should come as no surprise that our leadership team spends a considerable amount of time at the end of each quarter conducting performance reviews with each of their direct reports.

performance review examples

Here are some things we’ve learned about how to conduct effective performance reviews:

  • Make it clear at the beginning of a new hire’s employment how and when employees will be evaluated. This should be part of your onboarding process  and is especially important if you’re managing a remote team .
  • Allow employees to prepare for their review by completing a self-assessment prior to their appraisal, then allow the employee to walk their manager through the reasoning behind their self-assessment.
  • Deliver a positive and solution-focused message (whenever possible), this will result in a less discouraging message.

performance review examples

To make the most of the actual review conversation with your employee, it’s important to avoid:

  • General, vague feedback; be specific on which behaviors you want your employee to continue, stop and explore.
  • Making it personal; feedback is about actions and behavior , not the person.
  • Loaded language; focus on asking what and how , not why . Enquiring why someone acted the way they did is akin to searching for a ‘motive’ and may come across as accusatory.

performance review examples

Having an employee-friendly performance review process can not only make or break the development of your employees but also disrupt the relationship between managers and their reports.  

Beyond creating a robust performance review strategy and performance review form, managers must also consider their delivery of the appraisals. Communicating a performance review effectively is the final touch to executing a constructive, celebratory and effective review process.

performance review examples

When creating an effective assessment, it’s important to include the following:

  • Calculate an overall rating for the employee; although a manager will be highlighting both the strengths and weaknesses of an employee’s behavior , it will aid the employee’s morale to communicate how the employee averaged on this rating scale.
  • Ensure the employees are engaged in their own reviews; thus, be sure to include the employees’ goals and developments toward reaching such goals in the assessments .
  • Celebrate employees improvements; highlighting an employees’ developments are a powerful way to impact employee engagement and boost overall team performance .
  • Company culture and values; dedicate a section of the assessment to evaluate how employees align with the company’s core values thus contributing to a positive company culture .

Based on my involvement in building out our own effective performance review process at Venngage, I suggest taking the following steps into consideration when constructing a performance review:

1. Set expectations early

Early in an employee’s career with a company, managers should communicate the details of their review process including the expectations. It should be included in your employee handbook , for example.

In this way, managers set and communicate clear expectations of the key job functions and competencies of the role when an employee joins the company. The information presented in performance reviews should align with this define as well as use familiar language and terms. This strategy will work to eliminate any potential confusion or surprises for both parties.  

2. Don’t make it personal

Feedback is about actions and behavior, not the person.

When writing a performance review, it helps to take a look at the issue(s) you’ve included and ensure that they apply to actions and behavior of the employee rather than the personal attributes of said employee.

This will also help to regulate the information mentioned in the review, to guarantee it is relevant and appropriate information.

3. Beware of biases and limitations

While there may be a general ‘right’ way of doing things, there are often multiple — and equally good — ways to reach the same end goal.  

Please ensure your review is not biased or limited in favor of your personal work style and beliefs. Try to consider the various aspects of the employees role and experience that may impact their decision to pursue alternative methods or working habits. Be empathetic towards these factors when writing your review.

4. Be specific

The information presented in the review should be task-focused, clear and to the point.

General comments will leave an employee feeling confused and in the dark as to what aspect of their work needs to be corrected or how they can pursue improvements.  

Failing to be direct in your messaging will impact the way your message is received and create further confusion about what the expectations are. Managers should be specific on what behaviors of their employees they are celebrating and what actions require improvements.

4. Offer guidance

Managers play a critical role in understanding the career goals of their employees and crafting development opportunities to help their reports achieve their goals.  

It is important as a manager to offer your advice and expertise to your employees to help further their development.

If, as a result of the feedback given, the employee (or yourself) may feel as though they need additional training, consider the benefit of workshops, mentoring or coaching.  

Be sure to use performance reviews as a way to guide employees whether it is toward further greatness or for areas requiring some improvement.  

5. Follow up

Follow up in writing and check in continuously to ensure improvement.

Both managers and employees should receive a copy of the review to refer back to moving forward.

Whether reviews are scheduled annually or quarterly, they should be a continuous topic of discussion for both managers and employees. When writing a review, ensure that the review is clear and specific. Being mindful of this will help to ensure the employee can easily refer back to the form on their own after the meeting.

Related: How to Write a Performance Review That Inspires Growth (With Examples & Templates)

Create a performance review strategy before writing an employee’s review

Having an employee-friendly performance review process can not only make or break the development of your employees and but also disrupt the relationship between managers and their reports.

That’s why it’s crucial to create a robust performance review strategy and employee evaluation form before implementation to ensure the process is both constructive, celebratory and effective. This will even help you in the future if you choose to write a letter of recommendation for the employee as you’ll have all his performance reviews to reference.

By considering the six steps above when writing a performance review, you’ll have completed the final step in executing an employee-friendly review process.

The satisfaction gained from an increase in employee engagement and people power will make the effort expended on administering performance reviews entirely worthwhile, and ensure you have more effective reviews moving forward.

Take notes of the effective performance review phrases you can use during any of review sessions, as well as creating a visually appealing assessment using Venngage performance review templates. It’s free to get started.

You might also like:

10+ employee evaluation templates to sail through review season.

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How To Prepare for Your Annual Performance Review

Dan McCarthy is a management and leadership expert who's spoken, written, and taught on management topics for more than 20 years.

how to review a year

Keep a Log of Your Goals and Accomplishments

  • Know Your Role and Manager's Expectations

Get Feedback on a Consistent Basis

Keep your manager informed, provide input during your review.

  • Know Your Company's Annual Performance Review Platform

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Your annual performance review is an important opportunity to review your goals and accomplishments and receive feedback on your past performance and suggestions for improvement.

Performance reviews can be used to justify raises or promotions or to request additional responsibility, so it’s important that your performance is accurately documented. With a healthy amount of upfront planning, an annual performance review can be a positive experience that can further your career.

Key Takeaways

  • Preparation for your annual performance review should be a year-round endeavor.
  • Keep track of your accomplishments and goals throughout the year so that, during your review, you can show how much progress you've made.
  • Try to meet with your boss at least once a month to get feedback about your performance. These meetings can help you strengthen your weaknesses and, in theory, earn a better annual review.
  • Familiarize yourself with your company's review process. If it's online, take a few minutes to explore the review platform and understand how it works.

Properly preparing for your annual performance review throughout the year, not just a week or two before it occurs, can lessen any surprises and increase the likelihood of a productive, successful meeting.

Maintain a detailed log of your goals and accomplishments that you can refer to throughout the year and use them in preparation for your annual review. This will ensure that the information you provide is detailed, complete, and accurate, and lessen the likelihood of missing a key item in your review.

In addition, stay current on what's expected of you to meet company goals. Company strategies are always changing and your job description may change along with it. Therefore, meet regularly with your manager to make sure you continue to meet present expectations.

Know Your Role and Manager's Expectations

Understand management's expectations as well as your goals well before your annual review. Take a look at the job posting that was used to advertise your position. When you are applying for a job, or are new at a job, it’s common to only have a superficial sense of your job duties. However, once you’re there for a few months, you should have a better understanding of the job requirements.

Many managers schedule weekly one-on-ones with their employees to stay informed about their employees' work, which can include reviewing job expectations, especially when duties change along with changing company goals. Above all, it's important to have your manager explain how your performance will be assessed throughout the year.

Even if your manager or company doesn’t have a formal goal-setting or development-planning process, you can still set informal goals with your manager. By doing so, you’re not only demonstrating to your manager that you are ambitious and results-oriented, you are minimizing the chances of being surprised during the annual review discussion.

Keeping a record of your major accomplishments and summarizing them on an annual basis is also the perfect time to update your resume. Each year, you should add at least a couple of accomplishments to your resume and LinkedIn profile.

Ask your manager for feedback twice a month or monthly. This can be done during scheduled status meetings. The information will help you to keep track of your goals and accomplishments, and set expectations. Feedback will also help you to make any necessary improvements. You can, therefore, be assured that you are performing your job properly throughout the year.

Don’t assume your manager is aware of your performance status and accomplishments. Without overdoing it, let your manager know when you’ve done something great.

Own up to any mistakes, as managers tend to dislike surprises and will appreciate that you are accountable for your actions.

Provide input to your manager, even if it is not requested during your annual review. Your input during this meeting is a rare opportunity to mention your accomplishments to increase your chances for advancement.

Know Your Company's Annual Performance Review Platform

Many companies have adopted an efficient process that records and tracks your progress throughout your years of employment. For example, there are software programs that simplify the review process by asking management to fill in your goals that must be met throughout the year.

You then describe, in the required fields, how you met these goals along with providing specific examples. The manager then reviews your comments and accomplishments and may rate you from "Didn't meet expectations" to "Exceeded expectations" and adds their own comments. You then meet with your manager to review the findings, which is the basis of the annual review.

How do I prepare for an annual review?

The key is to prepare throughout the year by keeping track of your accomplishments and goals , knowing your boss's expectations, getting feedback from your boss, and letting your boss know the various accomplishments you achieve.

What do you say in a performance review meeting?

When appropriate, provide your thoughts on how to improve your performance , adjust your role for more efficiency, and how you and your boss can work together more effectively.

Bernard Marr & Co. " How To Prepare for a Performance Review ."

Lattice. " How To Ask Your Manage for Feedback ."

May Busch. " How To Keep Your Boss Updated and Do It Well ."

Michigan State University Human Resources. " Prepare for Your Annual Performance Review ."

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The year-end review: a guide for managers

year-end review guide

The end of each year is a natural opportunity for reflection, in life and in work. In this context the year-end review with each of your team members provides an opportunity for you to step back from the day-to-day and take a more holistic perspective.

What is a year-end review?

The basics: a year-end review is a 1-1 meeting that takes place between a manager and each of their direct reports.

Some companies call this meeting a year-end performance review, or a year-end evaluation (or a year-end performance evaluation!). However, if you focus the meeting entirely on the performance of your team member, you’re missing an important opportunity.

Ideally, the year-end review meeting is a collaborative discussion that looks back at the past year, looks forward to the coming year, and is an integral part of your approach to performance management.  

Defining your goals

What do you think might be some reasonable goals for a year-end review meeting? (How you choose to answer that question will say a lot about who you are as a manager!)

Here’s how I would define the goals:

  • Connect with your team member and get a deeper understanding of their experience of the year: their highs, their lows, what they’ve enjoyed, what they’ve struggled with, and their current views on their role and the organization.
  • Reach a shared understanding of your team member’s performance over the past year (what they have done well, and what they have done less well too).
  • Prepare for the year ahead : explore how you’ll work together, the support they need, initial ideas around personal development goals for the coming year. All this should be in the context of any significant changes that you and the team will be experiencing.

How to prepare for each year-end review

Here are the actions that you’ll need to take, to prepare for this year-end review meeting with each of your team members.

Review the feedback you’ve already provided, and their role profile

The year-end review is not a time to surprise your team member with unexpected feedback on their performance. (Performance feedback is something that you should be doing on an ongoing basis through-out the year!).

Make sure that you reflect on the feedback you’ve provided across the year. The feedback you’ve already shared should be front-of-mind and the foundation for your year-end discussions.

Also, pull out the role profile (job description) for your team member. It will become a useful reference in the meeting (see below!).

Reflect on your mindset and possible biases

Your mindset should be collaborative, in support of your team member and solution oriented. Before each meeting it’s worth checking in with yourself, is that the case?

It’s also worth checking your biases. For example, recency bias is very natural and common. It simply means basing the discussion on the last few weeks or months (let’s face it, they are easiest to remember!) rather than the entire year.

This paycor.com article does a great job of summarizing the top 10 performance review biases .

Define any specific goals for each team member

Finally, consider any specific goals that you have for individual team members. For example:

  • For an under-performing team member, you may want to agree more regular 1-1 check-ins as part of how you approach the new year
  • For a team member who has joined during the year, you may want to explore how they have settled into the role
  • For a high-performing team member, you may want to discuss finding them a Mentor and other opportunities to raise their profile within your business

Having this clarity in advance of the meetings will ensure that you get the outcomes you want from each discussion.

Set up the year-end review meetings with your team members

Here’s an example of how to communicate in advance of the meeting. You can use it as an email template and edit it as required. You can also deliver the same key messages in your team meetings.

I’ll be setting up 1-1 year-end review meetings with each of you, to take place over the coming two weeks.

These meetings are an opportunity for us to discuss your performance over the past year, talk about what you need from me too, and how we can work more effectively together to set ourselves up for success in the coming year.

In advance of the meeting, please reflect on the following questions:

Your experience of work this year

  • What have you enjoyed this year, the ‘highs’ at work?
  • What have you not enjoyed this year, the ‘lows’ at work?
  • How are you currently feeling about your role and working life at [company name]?

Your performance this year

  • What have you done well this year?
  • What have you done less well this year?
  • What have you learnt this year?

Preparing for the year ahead

  • What would you like me to do differently?
  • What questions do you have about the coming year?
  • What development opportunities do you see in the coming year, for yourself?

I look forward to the discussion and the opportunity for us to discuss your performance, how I can support you more effectively and how we can set ourselves up for success next year.

Why is this messaging so important? Because year-end reviews can generate a lot of emotion (and not always positive emotions!).

If your team members feel that you are there to help them, and that the discussions are balanced and supportive, it will enable you both to approach any difficult conversations with more confidence.

8 steps for conducting year-end reviews

These 8 steps provide you with a flow to your year-end review meetings. In summary they are:

  • Set the right tone
  • Start with their experience of work this year
  • Ask big, open questions to understand your team member’s perspective
  • Provide structured, evidence-based feedback
  • Reach agreement on their performance this year
  • Set the tone for the coming year
  • Explore their development needs
  • Wrap up by summarizing next steps

Let’s jump in!

1. Set the right tone

When you’re opening the meeting take the opportunity to reassure your team member this this is going to be a balanced conversation. Use similar words to your earlier comms, for example:

This meeting is an opportunity for us to discuss your performance over the past year, talk about how I can better support you, and how we can set ourselves up for success in the coming year.

Short and sweet, it sets that right tone for the meeting. You can also add that the meeting will be structured around the questions that you’ve asked them to consider.

2. Start with their experience of work this year

There are so many benefits to starting the meeting with your team member’s perspective on their year. Here are just a few:

  • It gives them an opportunity to talk, which will put them at ease
  • It shows that you value their perspective of the year
  • Their answers will provide valuable context to the rest of the discussion

On this last point, imagine that towards the end of the meeting you discover that they’re not happy with their role and are considering their options. Much better that you surface this early in the conversation, it will provide context to the discussion and allow you to adjust your planned outcomes.

Getting started is very simple, something like:

I’d like to start with your perspective on the year, and let’s start with the positives, what have been the highlights of your year?

Then go on to probe, explore and then introduce the remaining two questions on this topic that you’ve asked them to reflect on.

3. Ask big, open questions to understand your team member’s perspective

Through-out the meeting you can encourage discussion by asking big, open questions. Here are a few examples:

  • What are your thoughts on this?
  • How do you feel about this?
  • Can you give me an example?
  • Can you share a little more detail so that I understand this better?
  • How does what you’re saying relate to…?
  • What are your suggestions?
  • What opportunities (or problems!) can you see?
  • What have you learnt?
  • What will you do differently next time?

And remember, listen to the responses! Here’s more on how to be a better listener .

4. Provide structured, evidence-based feedback

As you listen, be ready to share structured, evidence-based feedback. This should reflect the feedback you’ve provided through-out the year. As mentioned earlier, now is not the time to be surprising your team members with unexpected feedback!

In our effective feedback article there’s more on providing feedback. You’ll need to adjust the structure a little to make it work in a year-end review meeting. It will look like this:

  • “Earlier in the year we discussed… (the specific behavior)”
  • “As I said at the time, the result of that behavior was… (the consequences)”
  • “Since then I can see that… (change, or lack of, since that conversation)”

Sometimes you can follow this up with a congratulatory comment, or, if you haven’t seen the change, ask the question:

What are your thoughts in this?

Much better to get the team member talking first so that you can understand their perspective. It will inform the rest of the conversation.

5. Reach agreement on their performance this year

This is a key outcome of a year-end review. It’s important that you reach a shared understanding of your team member’s performance over the past year, as this provides the foundation for progress.

And there comes a time in many year-end reviews when there is some level of disagreement on performance. Look out for these disagreements, they might be obvious, or they might just be quizzical look from your team member, or a shrug of the shoulders.

This is the moment when you need to bring all your communication skills into play, you’re starting a difficult conversation .

At these times, it’s important to be familiar with your team member’s role profile (job description). This is (literally!) the contract with your team member. If it’s well written it will define the responsibilities and competencies expected. And in this type of discuss it can become a ‘higher authority’. Rather than saying “I expect you to…” where possible say “Your role requires that…” (and then discuss the behavior that you’ve seen, relative to the role profile).

This can be useful to recognize outstanding performance, as well as to manage under performance!

The points you raise should be firm and clear, and the tone should be caring and compassionate .

Here are more performance review phrases that may be useful reference both in the meeting and as you document the review.

6. Set the tone for the coming year

The year-end review is not just about looking back! Take the opportunity to set yourselves up for success too.

Now is the time to ask how you can better support your team member. You might frame it in terms of “keep, start, stop”.

  • What would you like me to keep doing?
  • What would you like me to start doing?
  • What would you like me to stop doing?

And now is also the time to talk about any major change initiatives that you’re aware of in the coming year and the impact that they will have on the team. You don’t need to share a lot of detail, just introduce the initiatives, then ask if there are any questions.

7. Explore their development needs

Finally, in the context of all the discussion you’ve just had, ask your team member their initial thoughts on development opportunities over the coming year (this is the last question you asked them to reflect on in advance of the meeting).

Again, you don’t need to go into a lot of detail, it’s about identifying themes. One of the actions coming out of this year-end review is to schedule a goal setting meeting (including personal development goals), that will be the time to go into more detail.

8. Wrap up the year-end review by summarizing next steps

That’s it! All that’s left is for you summarize next steps and thank your team member.

As I mentioned earlier, the year-end review meeting should be an integral part of your approach to performance management. To achieve this there are 3 actions to take as next steps, share these action items with your team member as you wrap up:

Document the key points. There needs to be a record of the key points for future reference. It may be as simple as an email, or you may have a performance management system to record the outcomes.

Schedule a goal setting meeting (including personal goals). By doing this you’re making the connection from the current year into the next year. Take a look at FAST goals for a relatively new and impactful approach.

Schedule a career conversation meeting. Take this opportunity to schedule a career conversation too. Including this action in your next steps is a further demonstration of your commitment to supporting your team member.

Year-end review meetings, in summary

Year-end reviews are a natural opportunity for you to step back from your day-to-day and take a more holistic perspective.

There are three goals that I would recommend:

  • Reach a shared understanding of your team member’s performance over the past year
  • Connect with your team member and get a deeper understanding of their experience of the year
  • Prepare for the year ahead: explore how you’ll work together, the support they need, initial ideas around personal development goals for the coming year

Set up the meeting by asking your team members to reflect on the 9 questions that I’ve provided.

Make sure that your mindset is collaborative, in support of your team member and solution oriented.

And follow the 8-step structure that I’ve provided to achieve success!

Colin Bates

Colin Bates

I'm at my best when helping people to learn, grow and succeed. This might be facilitating a training program, coaching a colleague, or sharing advice with my kids. I'm also an introvert by nature, and love to read, reflect and write. Hence this blog!

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Article • 10 min read

Review Strategies

Boosting long-term learning.

By the Mind Tools Content Team

how to review a year

Have you ever taken a training course, read a business book, or been shown how to use a new system, only to find that just a few weeks later you can't remember any of it?

If so, chances are you didn't do anything with your new knowledge for a while, so it faded fast. Most learning needs to be repeated several times before it sticks. So, it's important that you review what you've learned regularly and strengthen your memory if you want your new knowledge to really sink in.

In this article, we'll explore a variety of strategies for reviewing and reengaging with information, to ensure long-term learning.

Why Review Information?

We remember things best immediately after we've read, heard or watched them. But, as time passes, our memories begin to fade.

That's why reviewing information regularly is so important. It allows us to transfer new knowledge and skills from short-term to long-term memory, and then keep it there. The more valuable or complex the information is, the more effort we need to put in.

Reviewing information is the final step of the SQ3R process (which stands for Survey, Question, Read, Recall, and Review). This is a powerful technique for helping you to remember key details of what you learn, and for engaging with information more efficiently and effectively.

What Is a Review Strategy?

Review strategies are techniques for reengaging with information that you have already learned, so that it stays fresh in your mind. They're particularly valuable when you're learning for a specific purpose – for instance, revising for an assessment or exam.

They can also be helpful for remembering information in general. For example, when you want to remember people's names or when you need to learn a new system or process.

The review strategies that you choose from the section below will depend on the importance of the information, and how hard it is to learn. You'll also need to take into account your own skills and preferences as a learner, so that you can plan the best approach for you.

How to Review Effectively

Use these seven strategies to review and remember information more effectively:

1. Review Your Information Immediately

Spend a few minutes reviewing new information as soon as you've learned it. Look through the material again and add to any notes that you've already made. It can also help to explain any key points out loud.

This first review is a good way of checking that you've got everything you need, and that you've understood it. It will also avoid you having to "relearn" it completely when you review it again later.

When you reread material, try using a reading strategy to make the process more effective. For example, if you've just finished reading a chapter in a business book, take some time to review the section headings and the conclusion. This will help you to fix what you've learned in your mind.

2. Schedule Further Reviews

Remember, it takes repeated effort to move information into your long-term memory. So it's vital to review material frequently. Otherwise, key details will inevitably slip away.

Memory expert and psychologist Hermann Ebbinghaus' most famous discovery – the "Forgetting Curve" – shows how new information can fade from memory over time, unless you take the time to review it. Ebbinghaus' research also revealed that each time you review information, you can wait a little longer before doing so again.

Try to revisit your learning at regular intervals. For example, after your initial review, schedule another one after a day or two, then after a week, two weeks, a month – and at increasing intervals after that.

Organization is crucial here. Try scheduling time for your reviews by adding them to your To-Do List or Action Program . Alternatively, create calendar reminders or set your mobile device to notify you when it's time for your next review.

3. Test Yourself

Every time you review something, include an element of testing. This will uncover any gaps in your knowledge, highlight key areas that you need to focus on, and reinforce your learning.

For example, you could cover up the original material and see how much of it you can write or speak about from memory. Even better, get a friend or colleague to test you on your knowledge!

Alternatively, use a review app for testing yourself. Quizlet , for instance, allows you to take quizzes on various subjects or create your own quizzes, while FlashCards+ enables you to add images to your quiz cards, increasing the range of information you can review. Another app, Studystack, lets you play games with your review notes.

4. Rewrite Your Notes

Rather than simply making notes once and hoping that they sink in, review them regularly – and improve or add to them each time. This is a great way to keep information fresh and clear.

You can do this quickly with keywords and bullet points. Or, if you want to explore the material in more depth, try transferring it into a flow chart or a labeled diagram, such as a Mind Map® . This will provide you with a colorful representation of your notes, which can help to give you an overview of the subject and the key areas within it.

5. Teach Someone Else

One of the most powerful ways to embed learning is to teach it to someone else. Find a willing "pupil," and explain to him or her what you've been learning.

This has several benefits:

  • It quickly reveals any aspects that you don't understand or can't remember, pinpointing where your knowledge is weakest.
  • It can boost your confidence to use and apply your knowledge.
  • Your "pupil" may ask you questions, which will test your knowledge even more deeply – and, in the process, strengthen your grasp of the subject.

6. Put Your Learning Into Action

Simply rereading your notes is unlikely to help you to remember them in the long term. Instead, try to apply what you've learned.

In some instances, this will happen naturally. For example, if you're trying to master a new software application, you'll likely need to go through it a few times before it's fixed in your mind.

Other material might be harder to apply practically. If this is the case, the following tips can reinforce what you've learned:

  • Make an infographic to summarize a chapter from a textbook.
  • If you want to remember people's names, try doing a quick sketch of their faces, with their names written below each one.
  • After a presentation, use your cell phone to record a brief account of what was said.
  • If you're preparing for an exam, write yourself a quiz (with answers!) to test your knowledge later.

7. Know When to Take a Break

Finally, make sure that you don't overdo it! It can be tempting to "cram" when revising for an exam, but unless you take regular breaks, you may risk burnout .

Research shows that sleep plays an important role in creating long-term memories. [1] And it's not just because you concentrate better when you feel fresh. Sleep is an active part of the learning process, helping to sort and transfer information from short-term to long-term memory.

For more advice about how to develop sleeping habits that benefit learning, see our article on Getting a Good Night's Sleep . You can also listen to our interview with sleep expert Matthew Walker.

How to Encourage Others to Review and Retain Knowledge

If you are the one passing on information to others – for instance, if you're hosting a workshop or giving a presentation – there are several things that you can do to help them to retain that knowledge:

  • Provide a clear summary of what you've told them at the end of the workshop or presentation. This will prompt people to review the information immediately.
  • Encourage people to ask questions to reinforce their understanding and encourage engagement with your ideas.
  • Don't relay information only once. Instead, return to it – even if only briefly – in future communications, such as emails or subsequent presentations. Try to present it in a slightly different way each time, to keep people interested and engaged.
  • When the information is particularly important or complex, encourage people to review it regularly, particularly at key moments – before a meeting, for example, or while doing prep work for an upcoming project.
  • Encourage your people to discuss the things that they've learned, and help them to find ways to put their new knowledge and skills into practice.

If we want to remember and retain information in the long term, then we need to review it regularly. Otherwise, our memory will begin to fade and the things that we've learned will be lost.

Review strategies are a great way of helping us to move information from our short-term to our long-term memory. There are several strategies you can use to do this:

  • Review your information immediately.
  • Schedule further reviews.
  • Test yourself.
  • Rewrite your notes.
  • Teach someone else.
  • Put your learning into action.
  • Know when to take a break.

You can also help others to review and retain information by summarizing it effectively, encouraging people to question and discuss it, and circling back to it at regular intervals.

[1] Rasch, B. and Born, J. (2013). 'About Sleep’s Role in Memory,' Physiological Reviews , 93(2), 681–766. Available here .

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Ashley Hincks

Obviously this is no longer something news to us , for everyone of us that finds this comment , am pretty sure that person is already familiar with the world of scam specifically the investment trading platforms where you invest and make certain amount of profits , our stories are not so different from each others , you make profits and successful withdrawals in the beginning and everything goes sideways the moment you start investing more money and making more profits, these companies/ platforms never had any intention of ever paying out a dime to any of us , it has always been a scam from the beginning , we just never knew because we were blinded by the huge returns they promised us but in spite of that , some of us have managed to successfully recover back our invested funds and profits through the services of JETHACKS whom I also contacted on the Telegram account @ Jethackss and after two days of taking on my case , I received a deposit of my total amount that has been on pending ever since I processed withdrawal from the account dashboard , overwhelmed with job I have decided to come here and share my testimony and also to encourage anyone who has fallen in the past to reach out to JETHACKS today to recover his/her lost money on either the Telegram ID above or the official Email Address: Jethacks7 @ GMAIL . com

Most binary options companies out there are fraudulent. They are all scams. I have been a victim of their activities. I invested about 120,000 worth of Bitcoin and when I wanted to withdraw after some weeks, I was unable to reach their contact numbers or emails with which we stayed in touch. I assumed they were having some maintenance routing check, as that had happened in the past. After some weeks, I was contacted again by them and was asked to invest which I refused and told them I wanted to withdraw my money. After this, I didn’t hear from them again. At this point, I started to feel like I had been duped. I was lost and shattered as I had lost most of my savings. I was depressed for about 2 months. I was too ashamed to tell anyone about it, not even my wife. I finally summoned the courage to tell my friend . He told me about a hacker DARKRECOVERYHACKS Recovery Firm, who specializes in recovering of lost funds. I contacted them and they helped me recover my money. I now have all my lost money back, as I had given up all hope. You can contact them via email at: DARKRECOVERYHACKS @ G MAIL .COM , telegram @ DARKRECOVERYHACKS .

Victory Essiet

_i know how painful it is losing alot of your funds in a case as yours. This scammers are being brutal and ripping off people so bad which is so sad and unbearable, I have been a victim and sadly not even the cops have anything to do about it... I was lucky enough to contact a Cyber Certified Intelligence, who I provided with every information he needed and was able to send me every details of this scammers... Extorted tons of money from the innocent and vulnerable such as myself and eventually recouped my assets of over $90k within two days.... If you require his service, Contact him on mail [email protected] or telegram @ HACKDEITY_

Sven Bekzod

I was in this situation where I couldn’t afford to pay bills , school fees and the general welfare of my family seemed to be impossible for me to do as I had no dime to my name , silver or gold I possessed none because a lady I met on telegram somehow managed to take me for every penny I had and I was feeling like a liability to my family and all of my friends whom I took loans from during my escapades with this lady , I can’t even say am sure whoever took my money was a lady , for all I know that could be a black man from Africa using her photos and convinced me to invest in this quick money platform that got you investing with crypto , everything gone in a split second , very terrible thing . The reason I share this here today is because I was lucky enough to get to know of JETHACKS , a true recovery Specialist hacker that can trace and recover funds which were taken through questionable methods and thanks to JETHACKS, things are better with my family today , I got back all of my money and now doing better with my life . You can get in contact with JETHACKS on Email : Jethacks7 @ gmail . Com also on his official Telegram Username @ Jethackss

Raphaela Zimmermann

MOUSE HACKER CRYPTOCURRENCY RECOVERY SERVICES Thank you so much for recovering some of my lost money. I was hopeless and devastated.
I was about to give up when a friend advised me to try to discuss my matter with MOUSE HACKER.
Thank you very much for being professional, and accomodating. Good customer service and great satisfaction achieved. They helped me recover my money from scam. I am really grateful to them for their help and support. Awesome job done. Keep it up! I would recommend to anyone who needs their help. Many Thanks 😊 Via Email': ( Mousehacker1211@ protonmail.com Telegram Messenger: (+44 745 869 3890

phibbs john

Many have come to the conclusion that Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies cannot be traced or recovered but it’s incorrect, it can be traced and recovered with the right tools and resources. I was one of those who didn’t believe in it but I was able to recover my Bitcoin after I sent a huge amount to the wrong address with the help of a recovery team called CYBERTRACE. I thought all hope was lost for good but with the intervention of CYBERTRACE, I was able to trace and recover my Bitcoins. Truly remarkable work by CYBERTRACE and I highly recommend their service. CYBERTRACE can be reached via E-mail: (cybertraceservice @ hotmail.com)

Julien Adalwolf

In the past , I have lost my hard earned money and I got it back the hard way , it wasn’t easy ,trust me I know what it feels like to be made a fool for being a straight person and giving them so much honesty that allows them to exploit us but you don’t have to worry so much again because you can easily retrieve any amount you have lost to scammers with the help of JETHACKS Team , I used them and I got help to recover my money which I got to access again because The JETHACKS traced my transactions on the crypto platform I had used and received everything back to me , you can also get to use JETHACKS services to recover your funds from the hands of the scammers by contacting him on any of the contact details below Telegram ID @ Jethackss EMAIL ID : Jethacks 7 @ GMAIL . Com

Melissa Sanders

I never believed I could recover all my funds back to my wallet, my colleague introduced a professional hacker to me ADRAIN LAMO HACKER AGENCY, and this hacker recovered the $766,000 that was stolen from me by these online scammers. ADRIAN LAMO HACKER AGENCY recovered all my funds within 24 hours. If you’re a victim I do advise you to consult These professional hacker via email: [email protected]

Dorathy Paige

The desire to earn more money or get rich is what allows them to take advantage of us not because we are fools or stupid but because our heart wanted something and they made it look like they were offering us that when I reality they were actually taking advantage of us , I’m here today to tell you that it isn’t your fault, you were targeted just like everyone one of us and we are many who have fallen victim to these predatory schemes but only few were able to get back whatever amount of assets they lost , apparently crypto funds can be traced and retrieved back through a specialized hacking skill and only a handful of people can do this . I was lucky to get in contact with the best hacking team out there JETHACKS , this Team can trace and successfully recover funds lost to scammers and am here today to share this so anyone that sees can also get in touch with JETHACKS and get their funds recovered back to them at once . The contact details are below TELEGRAM : Jethackss EMAIL : Jethacks 7 @ gmail . Com

Blessing Michael

CONSULT A LICENSED BITCOIN/USDT RECOVERY HACKER, ALPHA KEY I ignored a BTC security code I had received on my phone, and an unknown hacker moved my BTC wallet and all the money in it. I was upset that I couldn't get to my money or my bitcoin wallet at the time, but a friend informed me of ALPHA KEY Recovery and their admirable efforts to find misplaced money. I asked them via email for help, and then I followed all of their instructions. I was able to manage my wallet and BTC independently once more after regaining control of it. I appreciate ALPHA KEY Recovery's assistance in getting my wallet and BTC back. I urge everyone to employ the ALPHA KEY recovery services available through the email address [email protected]. Whatsapp:+12179740043 Website:https://alphakey6.wixsite.com/alpha-key 

Terrry Quigley

My entire life , I’ve lived and followed a simple but difficult hack to life if I was ever going to get my dream house and provide for my kids , I believe in myself and the simple hack of working extra hard to beat the poverty syndrome that is deep rooted in our society and judging from where I came from , the odds were hugely stacked against me but I made it still .. I’ve grown and achieved quite a lot and I never thought I’d be staggering and fighting for sanity at my current stage in life but I guess that’s why life is a mystery as we never know what it truly holds and in my fate , life was holding a scam experience and the lessons I was going to learn from it , in the space of 4 months I gave £48,000 in investment platform supposedly worth £420k in returns but it was all a game for them and I was getting played , when I found out I reached out to JETHACKS for help… if ever a miracle could happen , it would be JETHACKS , so many good friends recovered back their lost money through his help including me , The JETHACKS Team is the best hacking team I can recommend to anyone and you can easily find JETHACKS on Telegram official username @ Jethackss And email also : Jethacks 7 @ gmail . Com

Jochen Willnauer

I strongly advise everyone to refrain from having any commitments involving the sending or investing of money to someone you met online , it doesn’t always end well most cases bank transfer, gift cards , wired check and the most damaging of them all is crypto investment in get Rich quick platforms that tells you they are able to trade your investment and get returns on each investment you make , that’s a very big fat lie , many of us have been burned and only few are able to recover their money and I am one of them , I was able to recover my money with the assistance of JETHACKS , I coincidentally overheard two ladies talk at the Coffee Shop , walked up to them and asked a few questions which they were happy to give answers to and that changed everything for me, I share this today and I vouch on behalf of this Team , they are very good in what they do .. it took less than 2 days for me to receive all my crypto funds in full which I have now turned into cash in my bank account .. wait no more as the solution to our crisis is here so if you’re reading this , quickly copy the contact details which am going to share below to get in touch with JETHACKS and trust me , you won’t regret it . CONTACT DETAILS : TELEGRAM username @ Jethackss Email : Jethacks 7 @ Gmail . com

Gemen Rutter

there’s so many ways you can consider to resort to in other to get back your funds but you have to be very careful so you don’t get ripped off the second time , I strongly recommend the JETHACKS to anyone out there looking to get their stolen funds back which they must have lost to either investment scams , binary scams or even had their funds stolen/ hacked from their wallet accounts , you can consult The JETHACKS for assistance on this and I can vouch for their expertise, seeing how they managed my case like no other could have done better than this Team , within 24hours my funds was made available in my account after they launched my case and traced all of my total amounts in full , I could never have been more satisfied than I am right now and also happy with myself for having my believe and trusting JETHACKS after seeing so many great reviews about them . To contact JETHACKS you can do that on any of the following contact details below EMAIL : Jethacks 7 @ gmAIL . Com TELEGRAM username @ Jethackss

very top top services , I'm happy i got to know about them and got my funds recovered

Nasrin kassab

I’m deeply angry and infuriated beyond measure and if I try to put them into words , my choice of words might fail me , I’m a firm believer of karma and that no sin will ever go unpunished no matter how little because a sin is a sin regardless but what this people have done to us is beyond sinning against us , this is a sin against humanity and everything it represents, deceitful and lying cheats that’s what they are , lied to us and took us for every dime we got and this act is just too cruel to be considered humane so never think twice when taking any actions you wanna take to get back your money from the hands of the scammers that took , i strongly support you on that but what better way to go about the case if it isn’t to work with an already established body with great experience and clean 100% history of successfully tracing and retrieving funds lost to scammers .. thankfully , I was able to finally lay my hands on my money again because I hired JETHACKS to retrieve it for me .. A very specialized hacking team whose job is to successfully recover funds for persons lost to scammers.. get in contact with JETHACKS today via Their official telegram username @ Jethackss and also Email : Jethacks7 @ Gmail . COM

I was in total dismay when I lost my entire savings investing in cryptocurrency, I was contacted online by a lady through email pretending to be an account manager of a bank, who told me I could make double my savings through cryptocurrency investment, I never imagined it would be a scam and I was going to lose everything. It went on for weeks until I realized that I have been scammed. All hope was lost, I was devastated and broke, fortunately for me, I came across an article on my local bulletin about CYBERTRACE Bitcoin Recovery, I contacted them and provided all the information regarding my case, I was amazed at how quickly they recovered my cryptocurrency funds and was able to trace down those scammers. I’m truly grateful for their service and I recommend CYBERTRACE to everyone who needs to recover their funds urge you to contact CYBERTRACE if you have lost your bitcoin USDT or ETH through bitcoin investment Email: {[email protected]} WhatsApp (+17609237407)

Terence Berman

I got ptsd from my times dealing with the hyperlinkinfosystem.life , this has carved a deep scar on my chest , hurts me every single moment I think about it … having lost huge amount of money due to my poor judgement skills you can now agree with me when I say that trust is the most delicate but critical part of our daily lives , very hard to gain but easy to break, the broker agent for hyperlink platform took me for every damn penny I got and made away with it all , pushed my back against the walls with no ray of hope/light I was battling with my head for survival, everyday proved a big task for me to get through and nowadays I just sit down on the couch and wonder what I’d have done at this stage if I wasn’t able to get access to my money again through the services of JETHACKS . At first , I was very skeptical and I had my doubts what if nothing comes out of it ?.. but then I realized in my situation that I only had one direction to go and that is to go with JETHACKS , already I’ve seen plenty great reviews concerning this Team and when I checked in cyber complaints portal, I saw the name JETHACKS have successfully retrieved great amount of stolen funds for individuals in the past so I went with this and I have never been more proud of myself , everything changed from that point moving forward as I reached out on the official Telegram page : Jethackss .. I won’t say the pain has suddenly vanished but at least I can live with it now with 90% of my funds all recovered back to me profits inclusive . The pain of loosing your hard earned money can be very unbearable but the best we can do now is take back what rightfully belongs to us , that will help us live through each new day . You can also reach JETHACKS on Email : Jethacks7 @gmail . com

Marco Perezco

Hello, I want to use this Medium to thank Lord Hacker Ultimate for helping me recover my stolen BTC/Crypto worth $783,000 through their proxy hacking skill. I was skeptical about them at first when I reported my case to this agency but to my greatest surprise, They delivered as promised and I got my money back, I’m so glad I came across them early because I thought I would never get my money back from those fake online investment scammers, you can also contact them via Email: [email protected], WhatsApp No: +19095063423, web: lordhackerultimate.wixsite.com/lordhackerultimate YouTube page: @lordhackerultimate

Mirabel Baeuchel

The internet used to be a safe haven to gather new knowledge in the comfort of your space until these scammers sprouted out of the blue like worms and made it unsafe. I am a country music lover, and Kenny Rogers is my idol. I can remember when a notification from Instagram popped on my screen, Guess who, my idol. I was awed and I can remember myself writing about all his impact in my life. I was so sure I was talking to my idol on Instagram. He did say he wanted to introduce me to this quick money-making scheme because he noticed I have been a loyal fan on his official IG page. My idol can never go wrong in my eyes and didn't even do any research. I hurriedly joined the scheme. I never knew it was a scammer posing as a celebrity till I had invested $540.000.00. It got worse when I couldn't access my account or withdraw from my investment, I knew there was a problem after all these happenings. I need to get help from any means to ensure I am not a victim of these parasites. I was glad to be able to be introduced to the best CRYPTOCURRENCY RECOVER EXPERT, Cyber-Genie Genie Hack Pro. I talked to their representative and they assured me of recovering my stolen investment. And as they promised, they didn't disappoint as they were very confident in their expertise. My stolen investment was successfully recovered and they were the ones who confirmed to me that I was catfished. "Cybergenie(@)Cyberservices. com" "Numb + (12525120391)"

Joseph Wareru

Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency Tracing and Recovery services and how they work. I had an old hard drive with Bitcoin on it that I mined years ago. Unfortunately, when I tried to get it up and running again, the data was corrupted. Santoshi Hacker. helped me to recover the Bitcoin I had on it even after I thought it was a lost cause. My old investment paid off big time and I was able to reap the rewards thanks to the professionals at Website: https://santoshihacker3. wixsite. com/santoshihacker YouTube Channel: https:// www. youtube. com/@Santoshihacker Email: santoshihacker @ hotmail. com I highly recommend Santoshi Hacker to anyone in need of a reliable and efficient recovery service. Santoshi Hacker is an investigative and consulting service hired mainly by victims of online fraud to help them get their money back. they specialize in dealing with online scams and help provide reimbursement to their victims using disputes, tracking down digital fingerprints, cyber analysis, and thorough investigative work. Scam victims all around the world have already reclaimed their money back with Santoshi Hacker. Contact them and claim your money back now!

Contacting daniel meuli recovery will allow you to quickly locate lost bitcoin. You must contact daniel meuli recovery if you require a recovery hub for your lost bitcoin, need assistance with a mistyped password, want to move cryptocurrency to the correct wallet address, or think your wallet has been exploited. I played a bitcoin win game and lost more than $75,000. Thanks to daniel meuli Recovery's excellent effort, the money I unlawfully lost has been restored.This hacker collective uses cutting-edge computer tools that can quickly recover monies. daniel meuli Recovery is a reliable company that can be reached by using: dani[email protected]) or via whatsapp +1 (323) 433-3594

jenner jane

I know it's hard to believe, but there are ways to retrieve stolen bitcoins or send money to the wrong wallet address. Sadly, I know this because it happened to me recently. Someone took advantage of me, after months of them supposedly being a trustworthy friend, and tricked me into investing in a fake Bitcoin mining company. I was overwhelmed and helpless when these scammers took my whopping $116,000 from me. Luckily, I reached out to a recovery specialist named Hi-Tech Recovery [[email protected]] and they were able to help me get my lost capital back. Despite their promises of initial profits, it was all a lie. Thanks to Hi-Tech Recovery, I was able to recover all my money back successfully. If you find yourself in a similar situation, contact Hi-Tech Recovery They may be able to help you get your crypto back too. Here is his contact; [email protected]

Grover Leon

Since I wouldn't mind administering legality myself, I wish I could challenge these deceitful individuals. I'm humbled by Wizard web recovery and thank God for it as I reflect on what transpired. These deceitful individuals made no effort to keep from emptying my Bitcoin wallet. They forced me to invest even after I didn't see any returns, and when I refused to do so any longer, their attention and persistent emails dwindled, which increased my level of skepticism. I was in danger of losing my mental stability and health, and I am aware of how frightening and confusing it can be to try to escape a fraudulent investment. What you need is a hacking team called Wizard Web Recovery. I had to find a solution quickly. Divine guidance made it possible for me to opt for Wizard Web Recovery out of all of them. To recover it all, get in touch with this reputable hacking team right away at wizardwebrecovery(@)programmer(.)net, It's never too late to make decisions morally.

Becky Gonzalez

My dad added me in a forum online where I met people testifying about a hacker, Wizard James Recovery, who is helping hundreds of people all over the world in recovering their scammed/stolen funds. Frankly Speaking, I am glad he did because I needed help to recover my funds though I had not mentioned anything to him. An investor I met on Instagram introduced me to cryptocurrency. I liked the idea and opted to invest through the site. These people will lure you by accepting you to make your first withdrawal depending on how much one invests on them. I contacted him on Wizard James when I could not withdraw my funds worth $127,000 USD any more. Instead, these guys insisted, I should invest more for withdrawal to go through. I gave him all the required information and after 2 days, he recovered my funds. I was surprised at the same time grateful to him and my dad for introducing me to this Recovery specialist. Email him today at: [email protected]

kellen klan

I cant believe this, Leeultimatehacker just help me to recover my BTC wallet that I was told I could never recover again. This is the best thing that has happened to me. A very big thank you to [email protected]

about 1 month

Gusto Jackson

Don't die in silence this is your chance to get it right this time ,i know it breaks your heart to get ridden like an *ss online and to what end ? Worst comes to worst we are out on the streets . These scammers with their different tricks or form do all it takes to ruin our life , some through romance scam and the hottest amongst them all now is investment scam . Their objective is still the same to exhaust our bank account and convincing us to believe its all worth it at the end of investing when we cash out big, it’s usually hard to evade them with the current economy. With all the conviction and maybe probably testimonies from investors on their site, you may decide to start small and in a week you are already seeing progress which leads to more funding and the numbers you start seeing on your portfolio gets you hooked and you have to keep investing hoping to cash it all out when the time is right. If you manage to get out early , then you are lucky unlike us who got hit bad , I went bankrupt , my company folded , lost my car , my house . I almost lost everything , I thought it was the end of the line for me but God sent VALOR HACK into my life and their hacking abilities is not something to contend with because it was swift and fast . In 24hrs my life went from bad to good like a switch was flipped , VALOR HACK and it’s RECOVERY TEAM are the best out there and the sooner you figure that out the better. Contact VALOR HACK today!, valorhaq @ g mail dot com, Telegram: ValorhaqHQ

firstname lastname

Someone once stole $50,000 from me (crypto). With the assistance of ProAssetRecoveryExpert@ gmail com, it took me three months and a lot of stress to eventually get it back, but it was a valuable lesson nonetheless. Since then, I've had to keep my online presence under control. I advise hiring them to retrieve your lost money if anyone reading this has a situation like that.

about 2 months

Annabel Dixon

BITCOIN RECOVERY MADE EASY / BY CAPTAIN WEBGENESIS. What you need is the best recovery expert. CAPTAIN WEBGENESIS can assist you get out of your crypto theft scams. The bitcoin investing platform is full of scammers, and despite people’s best attempts to earn enormous returns, they regularly end up losing money. No one can defeat these people’s cunning schemes because of their intelligence. They typically provide contact agreements and put you in a group with others who have already made investments to tempt you to invest your hard-earned money. I invested my money as advised, and a few days later I discovered that they had stolen it. I want to thank CAPTAIN WEBGENESIS for helping me recover my Bitcoin from these cyber thieves. CONTACT INFO; WhatsaP +1 (447) 442–0456. Mail Add [email protected]

wesley anabelle

i was deceived by an online scammer and i lost all my funds on my cash app but i was lucky to come across a recovery expert by the mail zattrecoverypro1 @ gmail com and i was able to recover all my lost funds all thanks to him and his team. if you have similar issues you can contact him and thank me later stay blessed

(っ◔◡◔)っ ♥ You can upgrade your school grades by contacting Jbee spy elite team they are professional ethical hackers. I am not saying this confidently, but my professional exam grades were successfully upgraded by them, they are the best and they are really good. You can as well contact them on whatsapp any of this number +447456201869 + 14793178566 +447456058620 email>[email protected]

Lizzy danzel

I was thinking of what to tell my Parent about my University grade because I failed woefully not until I searched for a solution and I saw a lot of testimony posts on quora about this hacker pro, I opened a case with their customer support on their platform and i was patched through to Wizard Ivan their database specialist who eventually assisted me in changing my grade so after he asks me some few questions and collected my details together with my school portal login. he asks me to message him after 6 hours so I did then he told me to go and check my grade in the school portal I was amazed at what I saw and I can proudly tell my parent about my grades, you can also contact him if you need such help, his work is swift and although quite expensive. you can Email him on : [email protected]

Juanita Max April

I recently tried out a School Grade Hacker and was impressed with what it offered. This hacker was really easy to use and was able to quickly help me fix all the school grades that I needed. It was also accurate and gave me the exact grade I wanted. The best part about this School Grade Hacker is that it was almost free compared to the time and energy I had invested studying earlier and still couldn't pass those courses until this hacker helped me upgrade my exam score. So I didn't have to worry about spending a lot of money to use it. Overall, I would highly recommend this School Grade Hacker to anyone who needs to quickly and accurately upgrade their school grades and credit score. Write this hacker on ([email protected]) WhatsApp (+1) 252-512-0391) and thank me later...!!!!

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How to Ace Your Next Performance Review

Natalia Autenrieth

Your performance review only comes around once a year. Make it count.

Have you ever considered quitting your job after a particularly disappointing performance review?

You're not alone.

Annual performance reviews, when conducted properly, can be a valuable feedback loop and a key driver for one's professional growth. However, when a performance evaluation is poorly handled by either the manager or the employee, it can result in damaged professional relationships, decreased productivity, and low morale in the workplace.

Don't let this happen to you. Below are eight tips to help you prepare for your next performance review and make the most of this important conversation with your boss.

Document your goals.

Begin by understanding what is expected of you . Most positions have formal job descriptions, which are a great place to start. Having a goal-focused conversation with your supervisor or manager can help as well. Make every goal time-sensitive and measurable.

Regularly check in with your boss.

Most professionals set their annual goals, then place the document in their desk drawer. There it sits all but ignored for a year. Then, a couple of weeks before performance review time, they scramble to dig it out from under a pile of urgent priorities, just to discover that life overcame their formal goals.

If you want to step out of that loop, make the time to speak with your supervisor about your progress towards formal goals at least quarterly. This will allow you to course-correct while there is still time!

In addition, use every opportunity to have regular check-ins with your supervisor throughout the year. Real-time feedback allows you to correct your course and generate positive results well before the official year-end review. Better yet, when you regularly ask your boss for feedback on your performance, you're less likely to be surprised with the results of your formal performance review.

Track your work accomplishments.

We tend to get diligent about tracking our wins when it's time to ask for a raise. Unfortunately, few professionals take a disciplined approach to writing down their career accomplishments throughout the year. Start a list — a Word document, a notepad or Evernote will work equally well — and jot down things that you do well right as they happen. Be specific: Did you successfully pitch to a prospect, deliver an important analysis three days before the deadline, offer a helping hand when a co-worker was swamped, or lead a new employee orientation? Write it down now, so that you don't have to scramble later when it's time for your performance review.

Related:  How to Successfully Track Your Work Wins Throughout the Year

Understand the ways in which you add value.

This point goes beyond your formal job description. Your actions and attitudes must support your company's mission and objectives in order to be seen as valuable. Focus on what adds value to every reporting relationship you have, and be sure to do those things consistently. This makes you a team member that is tough to lose or replace!

Look for opportunities to augment your impact.

Along the lines of Pareto's 80/20 rule , 20 percent of your actions typically generate 80 percent of your impact at work. Think about the parts of your job that have the greatest potential to positively impact your company's bottom line, and then consider how you could optimize the time you spend working. For some people, spending a few minutes with their manager every morning brings focus and momentum to the rest of their day. Others might find that coming in 30 minutes earlier allows them uninterrupted time to catch up and meet deadlines with less stress.

Ask for support.

Sure, your goal sheet belongs to you. That does not mean that you must accomplish all those goals on your own! We all grow and develop in contact with (and with the help of) other professionals, so speak up when you need support. The right mentor or coach can help you shorten the learning curve or find a different way to approach a tough puzzle. This is particularly important if you find that your daily tasks bear no resemblance to the formal performance review goals you chose at the start of the year. Set yourself up for success by getting realigned sooner rather than later.

Related:  How to Get the Most out of a Mentor at Work

Become a model for constructive feedback.

Some of us have the benefit of working with supervisors and managers who are great at providing timely and actionable feedback with a pretty bow on top. Others must deal with feedback delivery that is less than optimal. Regardless, it is within your power to step up and model the way. Begin by asking your boss simple questions during your performance review. What is working? What is not working? What can be done? Then, step back and listen.

Thank your boss for providing feedback — positive or negative.

An immediate emotional reaction to a critical piece of feedback is perfectly normal, but expressing it may not serve you. The next time someone offers you feedback, resist the temptation to explain yourself or get defensive — simply say “thank you” for the input instead. This is not as easy as it sounds, but it has the potential to change your professional life. Every piece if feedback is valuable. Some pieces just take longer to process.

Professional growth does not just happen in the annual performance review. Sure, the meeting is a great checkpoint and opportunity to measure progress, but the best way to ace your performance review is to ask for and receive feedback frequently.

Finally, don't let your supervisor get away with some lazy take on “Just keep doing what you are doing!” or vague feedback. You should never have to guess what your supervisor thinks about your work performance. Insist on clarity because that is the only path to consistent professional growth.

Make sure your resume is in line with your performance. Take advantage of our free resume review today!

Recommended Reading:

  • The One Thing Successful People Do to Get Ahead
  • How to Ask for a Raise — And Get It
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how to review a year

LaConte Consulting

Year in review, review of year, year-end review, end-of-year review, yearly review, yearly evaluation, year-end evaluation, annual review, annual evaluation, retrospective evaluation, 31 examples, entrepreneurs

31 “Year In Review” Examples to Inspire You

A Year In Review is an evaluation of what has occurred in the past year, what you’ve learned, where things went wrong, and how you will make changes for the coming year.

To learn how to create your own, read How to Do a Year In Review .

Year in review, review of year, year-end review, end-of-year review, yearly review, yearly evaluation, year-end evaluation, retrospective evaluation, risk intelligence

This type of evaluation will stretch you. You may find information about your company that is embarrassing. And you might decide to keep it private—known only to you or your leadership team. Or you could share the results with staff or customers. There’s nothing wrong with editing the content to fit the audience (especially if you’re an introvert like me).

But if you’re willing to be totally transparent , sharing a Year In Review with the entire world is extremely effective.

Read more: 5 Reasons to Share a “Year In Review” of Your Business .

Year in review, review of year, year-end review, end-of-year review, yearly review, yearly evaluation, year-end evaluation, annual review, annual evaluation, retrospective evaluation, risk intelligence

In this post, you’ll get to see examples of 31 different people who used a Year In Review. I will share what I liked (and didn’t like) about each one.

Ready? Let’s get started! It took me a while to find good examples of annual reviews done by business owners. After searching high and low, I can finally share some examples with you. These individuals come from around the world:

Four countries (the United States, Canada, Germany, and Liberia) including 14 states and DC.

A total of 18 men and 13 women are represented.

Each of the 31 examples are written by small business owners who serve a unique niche market .

Each has a compelling writing style and is committed to making a positive difference in the world (which aligns with my own Vision, Mission, and Values ).

We’ll start with the Granddaddy of the “Year in Review” concept , Chris Guillebeau.

Number 1:  

Chris Guillebeau

Chris Guillebeau, The $100 Startup, World Domination Summit, explorer, founder, entrepreneur, Portland, Portland OR, Year In Review

  • Location: Portland, Oregon, USA
  • Best-selling author of The $100 Startup and The Happiness of Pursuit , modern-day explorer , and host of the annual World Domination Summit
  • 2017 Annual Review

Chris has been publishing an annual evaluation every year since 2005 (2017 will be the 17th).

In each post, he asks two simple questions:

  • What went well this year?
  • What didn’t go well this year?

The openness and commitment to sharing his results consistently (evident on his blog ) have inspired many of us to do the same. Read his step-by-step instructions here .

Chris typically takes a full week in December to evaluate and measure his goals in 11 categories:

  • Friends & Family
  • Financial (Earning)
  • Financial (Giving)
  • Financial (Saving)

He then sets 3-5 measurable goals in each category for the following year. Here’s what he has to say about the adjustments he made to the process .

Entrepreneurs, authors, and other business owners are now following in Chris G.’s footsteps. Here are my favorites.

Nathan Barry

Nathan Barry, founder, entrepreneur, ConvertKit, Boise, Boise Idaho, Year In Review

  • Location: Boise, Idaho, USA
  • Software designer, author, and owner of ConvertKit
  • 2016 In Review — The Year I Became a CEO

Not only is Nathan’s 2016 post is easy to read and inspiring, it’s also incredibly down-to-earth. Nathan includes a lot of pictures and links to relevant posts elsewhere on his blog. I really like his use of revenue graphics and screenshots, as well as the simplicity of bulleted lists.

Nathan’s review sections include:

  • Locations Visited
  • The Best Decision I Made All Year
  • What Went Well
  • What Did Not Go Well
  • Goals for 2017

Brennan Dunn

Brennan Dunn, Founder, entrepreneur, Doubleyourfreelancing.com, Norfolk Virginia, Year In Review

  • Location: Norfolk, Virginia, USA
  • Freelance designer and prolific writer on doubleyourfreelancing.com
  • 2016 Year In Review

Brennan has been sharing his Year In Review since 2012.

His review includes:

  • Key Takeaways of the year
  • A Brief History
  • A detailed summary
  • Key experiences with screenshots of the relevant data including
  • Total Subscribers
  • subscriber behavior
  • A Vimeo video

The variety of media (screenshots, Tweets, graphics, photos, videos) is easy to understand.

Austin L. Church

Austin L Church, Austin Church, founder, entrepreneur, Wunderbar, Knoxville, Knoxville TN, Year In Review

  • Location: Knoxville, TN, USA
  • Entrepreneur, writer & expert travel hacker
  • Co-founder of marketing consultancy Wunderbar
  • Let It Go (2016 Year in Review)

I really like Austin’s quote to describe the importance of making your review public:

“There is something cathartic about admitting one’s fears and mistakes in front of a large group of people. No longer trapped in our minds or hidden in our hearts, they lose their power over us.”

Austin starts by saying he was inspired by Michael Hyatt’s mini-course Best Year Ever . His style is very conversational; each section is a statement that he’s learned. For example:

  • “I get frustrated with myself.”
  • “We need one another.”
  • “We can change.”

He then provides a bullet list of “What went well this year,” and a shorter list of “What didn’t go well this year.”

That’s it. Short and sweet.

Heath and Alyssa Padgett

Alyssa and Heath, Alyssa and Heath Padgett, The RV Entrepreneur, RV Entrepreneur, founder, living in an RV, Year In Review

  • Location: originally from Denton, Texas, USA
  • Hosts of The RV Entrepreneur Podcast , a weekly podcast for nomadic entrepreneurs
  • 2016 Year End Review (written by Heath)
  • Reflecting on What Went (and What Didn’t) in 2017

Heath and Alyssa are a fascinating couple who decided to travel the United States in their recreational vehicle (RV). They share their adventures, mishaps, and discoveries on their blog, podcast, and Alyssa’s book A Beginner’s Guide to Living in an RV .

Alyssa is the primary author of the Year In Review. She includes Major Highlights, Personal Highlights, Things That Went Well, Things That Didn’t Go Well, and a final summary. I enjoyed the many pictures of their adventures, and a very easy-to-read style of writing.

Derek Loudermilk

Derek Loudermilk, founder, entrepreneur, Art of Adventure, digital nomad, Boulder, Boulder CO, Colorado, Year In Review

  • Location: Boulder, Colorado, USA
  • Author, Speaker, Digital Nomad, and Host of The Art of Adventure Podcast

Achievements and what went well in 2016 (Work, adventure, physical, spiritual, financial, relationships, emotional), Bucket List Items Achieved, What did not go well in 2016.

Mike Vardy, Productivityist, founder, entrepreneur, Portland, Portland Oregon, Year In Review

  • Writer, speaker, productivity strategist, and Founder of Productivityist
  • My 2015 Year in Review (and How a Journal Made It Easy to Do )

Mike used a month-by-month format, with a bullet-point list for each. While not my favorite format for a review, Mike is still able to convey the ups and downs of his year. Mike ends with Planning Ahead For Success and mentions his Three Words (read it here ).

Chris Brogan, mythreewords, my three words, 3 words, founder, entrepreneur, Owner Media Group, Massachusetts, Year In Review

The “Three Words” concept was started in 2006 by Chris Brogan, who has been selecting 3 inspiring key words at the beginning of every year. The idea is that those words will be a subconscious reminder to focus on your goals for success.

Chris is the co-founder of Owner Media Group and is based in northern Massachusetts.

Read his #mythreewords post here ). #3words

Caleb Wojcik

Caleb Wojcik, black and white, founder, entrepreneur, DIY Video Guy, San Diego, Year In Review

  • Location: San Diego, California, USA
  • Founder of DIY Video Guy and Caleb Wojcik Films
  • Co-founder of Fizzle (see #11 below)
  • 2015 Year in Review

Caleb shares very heartfelt and detailed recaps, spanning from 2011 to 2015. I really appreciated his transparency when discussing his wife’s cancer treatments, and how that affected him personally and professionally.

His sections include:

  • A brief synopsis of the previous four years (with links to those annual reviews)
  • What Went Well? (with eight sub-points)
  • What Didn’t Go Well? (with eight sub-points)
  • Stats & Metrics
  • Revenue, Expenses, & Net Profit (with screenshots and graphs)
  • What Am I Working Toward?
  • Ending with a final farewell to a friend who passed away that year

Although Caleb’s last update was in 2015 , I contacted him to find out if he will be publishing one for 2017—and he said that, yes, he does plan to share one this year. So I’ll be on the lookout for it.

Brendan Hufford

Brendan Hufford, Hustle & Heart, Photo MBA, Chicago, Chicago Illinois, Year In Review

  • Location: Chicago, Illinois, USA
  • Father, teacher, entrepreneur
  • Founder of Hustle & Heart : Honest Business Advice for Dads
  • Founder of Photo MBA : Honest Business Advice for Photographers
  • Host of Entrepreneurs and Coffee Podcast ).

Brendan published an awesome 2-part review in 2015: Looking Back, and Looking Forward.

The first post is  Looking Back ( 2015 Annual Review: Looking Forward to 2016 (The Calm Before the Storm) .

The basic format includes a simple 2-question review:

  • What Went Well This Year
  • What Didn’t Go Well This Year

The other part he published is called  Looking Forward ( Annual Review 2015: Lessons in Hustle and Heart ).

This includes:

  • A Few Goals for Next Year: “Hustle” Edition
  • Writing Goals
  • Business Goals
  • Career Goals
  • A Few Goals for Next Year: “Heart” Edition
  • Family Goals
  • Health Goals

The distribution between Hustle (business & career) and Heart (family and health) is really interesting. I really enjoyed the variety of pictures Brendan included of his family, important events, and business endeavors. He also dives deep into difficult decisions he’s had to make. And he mentions the books he’s read (which is always fun to read).

I also liked the Looking Back/Looking Forward dual format. A majority o f Year In Review authors don’t spend a lot of time discussing their plans for the next year.

Brendan published a Looking Back version in 2016 , but I couldn’t find a Looking Forward version. Hopefully he shares an update this year!

Barrett Brooks

Barrett Brooks, ConvertKit, marketing, Fizzle, Portland, Portland OR, Year In Review

  • Director of Marketing at ConvertKit, author at Fizzle and at barrettbrooks.com
  • 2015 in Review and Looking Ahead to 2016

Barrett shared a very raw and easy-to-read post about his year with a look back/look forward perspective (read it here ).

The sections include:

  • What Went Well (with a numbered list),
  • What Didn’t Go So Well
  • What do I want to change next year?
  • A very brief look at the coming year.

I didn’t see a 2016 review for Barrett but hope he publishes one again soon.

Benny Hsu, founder, entrepreneur, Get Busy Living, Jacksonville, Jacksonville FL, Year In Review

(Hsu is pronounced “shoe”)

  • Location: Jacksonville, Florida, USA
  • App developer, author, serial entrepreneur, and Founder of the Get Busy Living website and podcast
  • 2014 Year In Review

Benny published a Year In Review for 2014 . The sections include What Went Well (Travel, business growth, podcast, interviews), What Didn’t Go So Well (writing, podcasting, health, distractions). He ends with “What’s next for [year]?”

At the end of 2016, Benny published a podcast called Why I Don’t Make New Year’s Resolutions.

He also shared a fantastic FREE Year In Review worksheet that I highly recommend.

Dave Barry, writer, entrepreneur, Miami Herald, Miami, Miami Florida, Year In Review

  • Location: Miami, Florida, USA
  • Comedian extraordinaire
  • Dave Barry’s Year in Review: 2016 — What the… ?

Dave is a well-known hilarious author. He publishes an annual Year In Review in the Miami Herald to bring some levity to the ridiculousness of modern culture. It’s not so much Dave’s own evaluation of HIS past year, more like that of the United States culture.

You’ll find his 2016 post here . He shares a hilarious conversational style, along with a monthly blow-by-blow of what has transpired in popular news.

I can’t wait to hear how Dave will describe 2017.

Chase Reeves, Fizzle, founder, entrepreneur, creative, creative director, Portland, Portland OR, Year In Review

  • Location: Virtual company; staff in Portland, Oregon and Chicago, Illinois, USA
  • What they do: Membership-based online business training for entrepreneurs
  • The End of Year Review and Planning Process Every Small Business and Online Entrepreneur Should Follow

Fizzle is a quirky online training company co-founded by Corbett Barr , Chase Reeves , and Caleb Wojcik (see #8 above).

Their End of Year Review and Planning Process was written by Barrett Brooks (see #10 above). I like this post because it’s not only a fantastic evaluation of their own company, but also provides practical suggestions on using data points to extract even more value.

In this post, Barrett recommends breaking up your evaluation process into two steps.

Part 1: The Review

  • What was my body of work this year?
  • How did my body of work perform this year?
  • What are the most popular things I made?
  • Which pieces am I most proud of?
  • What did I spend the most time making?
  • How did they compare in net profit?
  • Review the data with metrics
  • number of customers
  • total revenue
  • monthly growth rate
  • unique website visitors
  • total e-mail subscribers
  • conversion rate, etc.
  • List your body of work.  Write out all business activities including:
  • blogs, podcasts, and articles published
  • courses and training developed
  • office hours
  • customer support
  • bookkeeping

Part 2: The Plan

  • Review and update your Vision, Mission, and Values statements
  • Identify the Ideal Customer you serve
  • Visualize your body of work from the past 5 years.
  • What do you hope to have created?
  • Which new things have you produced? List these in order of importance.
  • Ask 3 Questions for next year:
  • What are my 3 strategic priorities, and how will I measure the success of each?
  • Which ongoing work and projects will help me reach my target goals?
  • List all work tasks and projects from the past 5 years; What needs to change or be discontinued?
  • Select which tasks you will achieve in the first quarter of the year (January, February, and March).

Fizzle also published a concise episode on the Fizzle Show about how to do a Yearly Review , written (and recorded) by Creative Director Chase Reeves .

Here are the highlights:

  • Take inventory of everything you made this year.
  • Make a list of what did/didn’t go well.
  • Decide who you make things for. Who benefits most from your services? Why do you want to help them? These are really soul-searching questions that need to be asked.
  • Put together a vision statement for next year .

The year-end review is a great opportunity to check your company’s vision and adjust it if needed. Plus, you can choose a word or phrase (or 3 words ) specific to this next year.

I’m really impressed by the depth of these two resources and highly recommend you check out Fizzle’s website .

WeWork, workspace, community, global network, creators, New York City, NYC, Year In Review

  • Location: their “Galactic HQ” is in New York City, New York, USA
  • What they do: “Workspace, community, and services for a global network of creators”
  • Mission: “To create a world where people work to make a life, not just a living”

WeWork posted a review of their company’s accomplishments that included the list of new countries and new cities where they have a presence, number of new members, innovations, and what inspires them.

In my opinion, this review focused too much on the positives and not on any failures or lessons learned.

I’m hopeful their 2017 review is a bit more transparent and raw. Reading the accomplishments and successes is fine, but learning from the not-so-fun experiences is ten times more interesting.

Adam Rafferty

Adam Rafferty, guitarist, guitar teacher, founder, entrepreneur, Study With Adam, New York, NYC, Year In Review

  • Location: New York City, New York, USA
  • Guitar expert, performer, and workshop instructor at Study With Adam
  • 2016 in Review: An Honest and Transparent Look at My Successes & Failures This Past Year

Adam is a fascinating, enthusiastic, and talented guitar player. I’ve learned a lot by watching his videos . (Here’s his version of “ Superstition ” by Stevie Wonder)

In his yearly review, Adam is very open about the goals he achieves and those he fails to achieve. He even vows to donate money to charity for all missed goals (with screenshots of the receipt!). Here are some other interesting aspects of his review:

  • Overall summary
  • What went well and where things could have been better
  • Vitals, Numbers, and Statistics
  • Videos relating to the year’s events
  • Takeaways and solutions (what he learned)
  • Commitments for the next year

Thanksgiving Coffee Co.

Thanksgiving Coffee, Thanksgiving Coffee Co, craftsman coffee roasting, fair trade, Fort Bragg, Fort Bragg CA, Year In Review

  • Location: Fort Bragg, California, USA
  • What they do: Craftsman coffee roasting
  • Mission: “Artisan roasted coffee since 1972, Thanksgiving strives for sustainability through Fair Trade, organic, shade grown farming.”
  • Motto: “Not Just A Cup, But A Just Cup.”

I really enjoyed the depth of this review. Not only did it provide a significant amount of data, there was also an obvious sense of connection to their growers, suppliers, and the consumers who buy the final product.

Here are the sections in Thanksgiving Coffee Company’s year in review:

  • Partnerships
  • New coffees
  • Volunteer hours worked
  • Pounds donated
  • Past and upcoming Events

Brad Touesnard

Brad Touesnard, founder, entrepreneur, Delicious Brains, Nova Scotia, Canada, Nova Scotia Canada, Year In Review

  • Location: Truro, Nova Scotia, Canada
  • Developer, Podcaster at Apply Filters , and designer

Although Brad’s last update was back in 2014, the elements he includes are worth taking a look at.

Here is what he included in the yearly overview:

  • Professionally (graphs with growth, website traffic, blog content; how I hope to do better)
  • Conferences (how many attended, which ones, lessons learned)
  • Personally (health, trips, sports, books read, podcasts listened to)
  • Past Year Goal Checkup
  • Professional Goals for Next Year (numbered)
  • Personal Goals for Next Year (numbered)

Delicious Brains

Delicious Brains, developer, WordPress, Brad Touesnard, Nova Scotia, Canada, Year In Review

  • Location: Nova Scotia, Canada
  • Founded by Brad Touesnard (see above)
  • Developer of WP Migrate DB Pro

This review is of the Delicious Brains company; it was written by Brad Touesnard (whose personal Year In Review is #17 above). I really like the simplicity and readability, as well as the refreshing use of actual numbers.

Here are the elements included in it:

  • Revenue % growth (and graphic chart)
  • Conferences attended
  • Goal Checkup
  • Last year’s 6 goals
  • Goals for Next Year (numbered 1 to 11)

Let’s take a break here and talk about something that may be quite obvious by now.

Year In Review Authors: Where are the Women?

As you may have noticed, so far this list is composed entirely of males (other than Alyssa Padgett ).

Why is this?

Well, I had a really, really difficult time finding Year In Review posts written by females. After a lot of searching high and low, here are some gems I finally discovered.

Yael Grauer

Yael Grauer, Yael Writes, founder, entrepreneur, Phoenix, Phoenix AZ, Arizona, Year In Review

  • Location: Phoenix, Arizona, USA
  • Freelance journalist, investigative reporter, and Founder of Yael Writes
  • My 2016 Year In Review

Inspired by Chris Guillebeau , Yael has been publishing an annual review since 2010. I found her style to be very open and inviting, which is a welcome change from the more aggressive style of other writers.

Yael includes the basics:

  • What went well . The format is interesting; Yael describes her “wins” under 3 categories. For this year, she picked Joyful, Organized, and Whole.
  • What went badly . I really enjoyed hearing the “not-so-nice” details and felt very inspired by her story.
  • Looking Forward to Next Year . Yael didn’t just keep her update self-focused; she also shares helpful tips and recommendations.

Emily Abernathy

Emily Abernathy, CPA, Certified Public Accountant, accountant, world traveler, Everyday Accounts, Austin, Austin Texas, Year In Review

  • Location: Austin, Texas, USA
  • Certified Public Accountant at a Big Four firm
  • Adventurer and writer at Everyday Accounts
  • 2016 in Review

Emily shared a visually inspiring update about her personal and professional life. She included lots of pictures about her adventures in a month-by-month format, with links to the locations she’s visited.

Anuschka Rees

Anuschka Rees, founder, entrepreneur, A Curated Closet, Berlin, Berlin Germany, Germany, Year In Review

  • Location: Berlin, Germany
  • Author of “ A Curated Closet ”
  • Your Year In Review: 50 Questions to Help You Reflect, Appreciate and Get Excited for 2017

Anuschka published a very simple list of suggestions to evaluate your year and plan for the future. I really enjoyed the thought-provoking questions, as well as the fact that it’s easy to download and print.

Kathy Caprino

Kathy Caprino, founder, entrepreneur, TedX, career coach, Ellia Communications, Amazing Career Project, Connecticut, Year In Review

  • Location: Wilton, Connecticut, USA
  • Personal growth coach, writer, TEDx speaker , and founder of Ellia Communications and The Amazing Career Project
  • Your Year in Review: 21 Questions To Ask Yourself Before The New Year

Kathy wrote this excellent self-evaluation article that includes:

  • What worked best
  • What was hardest
  • What to amplify
  • What to remove
  • Top priorities
  • Vision of future self

Although this is not Kathy’s own Year In Review, the questions she shares are excellent.

Classy Career Girl

Anna Runyan, Classy Career Girl, founder, entrepreneur, e-learning, San Diego, San Diego CA, Year In Review

  • An e-learning platform for women in career transition and one of Forbes’ top 35 most influential career sites
  • Founded by Anna Runyan, entrepreneur, instructor, and international speaker
  • 2017 Year in Review At Classy Career Girl (which is already published as of mid-December!)

Anna uses a month-by-month review in her annual company review. She details the events that happened, achievements, and big wins for the year.

I really like her in-depth perspective about how she runs a fast-growing service business.

Carrie Dils

Carrie Dils, founder, entrepreneur, WordPress, developer, Fearless Freelancer, Fort Worth, Fort Worth TX, Year In Review

  • Location: Fort Worth, Texas, USA
  • WordPress developer
  • Founder of thefearlessfreelancer.com
  • Podcaster at officehours.fm
  • 2016: My Business Year in Review

Carrie has shared a Year In Review since 2011, and I am really inspired by the way she writes. Here are the sections in her review:

  • Carrie starts with a review of last year’s goals , including some detail about how each one succeeded and/or failed.
  • “Looking forward to next year” has two sub-sections: Consulting and Educating (the core aspects of her business ).
  • She ends with “Some final thoughts” as a summary of what she plans to focus on in the coming year.

Omoju Miller, PhD

Omoju Miller, Github, data scientist, startup advisor, San Francisco, Year In Review

  • Location: San Francisco, California, USA
  • Data scientist with Github , educator, and startup advisor.

Omoju is a fascinating person. She is a data scientist, innovator, has a PhD in Computer Science and Education, and writes about culture and technology.

I really enjoy her writing style; it’s smooth and simple. Omoju’s Year In Review starts with a section called “Highlights of the Past Year,” which includes a single line :

  • “I kicked the year off with hosting a Nigerian’s women in tech dinner at Yaba, Lagos, Nigeria.”
  • “I wrote 11 blog articles on the omojumiller.com blog.”
  • “I transitioned into a career in Data Science.”

Omoju also lists all of the 19 books she’d read , which I always enjoy.

Megan Minns King

Megan Minns, Megan Minns King, productivity strategist, systems strategist, podcaster, Femtrepreneur Show, founder, entrepreneur, Houston, Houston Texas, Year In Review

  • Location: Houston, Texas, USA
  • Productivity and Systems Strategist
  • Podcaster at The Femtrepreneur Show
  • Year In Review 2016: 7 Life and Business Lessons Learned in 2016

Megan does an interesting twist on the typical format by including a video ( Year In Review 2016: 7 Life and Business Lessons ), as well as the transcript broken into seven separate Lessons. For example, Lesson #1: Practice Gratitude; Lesson #4: Mindset is the Foundation.

The only downside to this method is that it’s difficult to identify Megan’s “successes” and “failures,” because they get buried in the text. That could just be a style preference. But otherwise, I like her writing style and the way she weaves  her business lessons into the post.

Bombchel Factory

Archel Bernard, founder, entrepreneur, Bombchel Factory, African fashion, Monrovia, Liberia, Africa, Atlanta, Year In Review

  • Location: Monrovia, Liberia (Africa), with pop-up shops in Atlanta, Georgia, USA
  • What they do: “African fashion wonderland that produces ethically made, high quality, medium cost garments for global export.”
  • Mission: Support and provide self-sufficiency tools to Liberians who have had a difficult time finding their professional footing.
  • A Year In Review

This company’s back story is incredible. It was founded by Archel Bernard , who moved to Liberia after graduating from Georgia Tech in Atlanta. She started the boutique Mango Rags in 2013 and transitioned it into a clothing design and production company through a super successful Kickstarter campaign in 2016. Archel “specializes in dreaming up contemporary African clothing, training disadvantaged women to sew her designs, and empowering the women to become self-sufficient” ( About page ).

The Bombchel Factory Year In Review is brief, but it packs a punch. It includes

  • What worked (“Kickstarter!” “Telling our stories!”)
  • What didn’t
  • What’s up for next year?

As you can see from Bombchel Factory’s example, one big benefit of publishing a Year In Review is the ability to give a heads-up about what  is coming in the next year.

Lettie Gooch

Theresa Watts, Lettie Gooch, boutique, founder, entrepreneur, emerging designers, eco fashions, Shaw district, Washington DC, Year In Review

  • Location: Shaw area, Washington, D.C., USA
  • Women’s specialty boutique focusing on emerging designers, eco fashions, and prints
  • 2016: A Year In Review

This boutique, called Lettie Gooch, was founded by Theresa Watts in 2006. Their annual review is really interesting, because it combines events with celebrations and accomplishments. The format is a “top 5 favorite moments of the past year,” which includes:

  • Events they hosted like Girls Can Do and Small Business Saturday
  • News features (Fox 5 News and the New York Times travel section !)
  • Their 10-year anniversary

Although brief, Lettie Gooch’s focus on looking to the future and including a lot of fun photos made it very enjoyable to read.

Melissa Yeager

Melissa Yeager, Melissa Yeager Designs, founder, entrepreneur, Holistic Logo, Brand Designer, West Chester, West Chester PA, Pennsylvania, Year In Review

  • Location: West Chester, Pennsylvania, USA
  • Holistic Logo and Brand Designer
  • What she does: “I help creative small businesses bring their brands to life.”
  • 2016: Year in Review

Melissa’s post provides a variety of categories and graphs to encapsulate her past year. I really enjoyed the visual references sprinkled throughout.

Here are the sections she included:

  • Looking Back at Last Year (My Big Leaps)
  • The Numbers
  • articles, subscribers, design inquiries, new branding clients, total clients, total projects, cups of coffee, yoga, sessions, new puppy
  • The Work (images of her logo and design work)
  • Last Year’s Clients Here, she uses pie chart images for these categories:
  • Client types (new, existing, collaboration)
  • How they found me (Referrals, Pinterest, Know me personally)
  • Goals  and Plans for Next Year

New Beginnings Chiropractic

Dr. Brenda Trudell, Brenda Trudell, New Beginnings Chiropractic, founder, entrepreneur, chiropractor, chiropractic, Mount Horeb, Wisconsin, Wisconsin, Year In Review

  • Location: Mount Horeb, Wisconsin, USA
  • Prenatal and pediatric chiropractic services
  • 2016 Wrap Up & 2017 Changes & Events
  • Year In Review: Top 5 In 2016

This chiropractic office is owned by Brenda Trudell, DC. They share a unique 2-part review with a Wrap Up of the past year, and a Top 5 List.

The “Wrap Up, Changes, & Events” post is basically a reminder of useful services they offer, packages & discounts to take advantage of, and a reminder about insurance changes.

I do like how many of these points is linked to a corresponding article or page. This makes it easy to find more information and take the next step.

The second part is called Top 5 in the past year . This includes:

  • Ways their organization gave back to the community
  • Passions and commitments
  • Record Number of patients seen
  • New workshops planned
  • 9th anniversary announcement

In addition, the bottom of the document includes an extra section in which they share:

  • A thank-you message to patients and supporters
  • Their company vision
  • The annual theme of the past year
  • Changes to expect in the coming year
  • A special gift offer

The focus of these two posts is definitely on current and potential patients, which is a refreshing change from a more egocentric perspective typical of most Years In Review.

Lastly, I am featuring another chiropractor who happens to be in Wisconsin (which  happened totally by chance , honest!).

Miller’s Sports & Wellness Chiropractic

Dr Therese Miller, Therese Miller, Miller Sports and Wellness, Miller Sports and Wellness Chiropractic, founder, entrepreneur, chiropractor, chiropractic, Greenfield, Wisconsin, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Year In Review

  • Location: Greenfield, Wisconsin, USA
  • Chiropractic services
  • What they do: “MSWC partners with you to achieve your health goals; whether its reducing pain, preventing injury or striving for optimal health, let us help you in ‘Getting to the Root of the Problem.’”
  • Year in Review

Therese Miller, DC is the Owner of this chiropractic center. Their annual review serves a few purposes:

  • Announce changes (adding new staff and launching new programs)
  • Discuss the challenges they faced in the past year
  • Summarize the main events that occurred

What I like most about this month-by-month post is that they selected just four months (out of twelve). For each month, they provided a short explanation and a list of “Key Points.”

Final Thoughts

Now that you’ve read about these fantastic examples of a Year In Review, I hope you’ll feel more prepared to complete one for your business (or even personally).

Have you authored (or discovered) a great Year In Review (YIR)? Leave a comment with the link, or let me know so I can feature it in an upcoming post!

If you are a business owner who feels frustrated about planning for the future, let’s talk. Find out more here .

Grace LaConte is a business consultant, writer, workplace equity strategist, and the founder of LaConte Consulting. Her risk management tools are used around the globe, and she has successfully reversed toxic work environments for clients in the healthcare and non-profit fields. Grace specializes in lactation law compliance & policy development, reducing staff turnover after maternity leave, and creating a participatory work culture.

Find more at laconteconsulting.com , or connect with her on Instagram and Twitter @lacontestrategy.

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Grace LaConte is a profitability expert, writer, and speaker. She is the founder of LaConte Consulting, which provides business owners with practical ways to improve their company's profit, growth, and value. Grace also shares her thoughts about marketing strategies and the dangers of predatory tactics used by MLM (multi-level marketing), which you can find at https://laconteconsulting.com/blog. She is based near Houston, Texas.

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How to Review Your Year

The three questions to ask yourself at the end of every year

Published on

December 4, 2022

Since I started writing online, I took a week or two at the end of each year to review how things went in the year. And then, I published them on my blog to share my journey and things I've learned along the way.

Occasionally, I read these reviews myself to relearn the lessons from the past.

This episode is not a 2022 review. I will be writing that in a week or two. Instead, I want to take this episode to share how I review my year with a few tips after doing it for the past six years .

People love New Year's resolutions. While it's good to plan for things you want to do and accomplish in a new year, it's equally, if not more important, to sit down and review the things you've done and accomplished this year.

What did you achieve? Have you done what you said you were going to do? What are the big and small wins? And most importantly, what have you learned?

These are important questions we should ask ourselves regularly. Be it every quarter , every six months, or every year.

The answers reveal insights you potentially miss in your planning, help you gain better clarity , and create the spaces to celebrate the wins and thank yourself for all the work .

Three questions to ask yourself at the end of every year

The first tip is to keep the review process simple . We all have the tendency to complicate things. Because the more complicated something is, the smarter we look.

At the end of the day, all you need is three simple questions:

  • What went well?
  • What went wrong (or not as well)?
  • What needs work?

1. What went well?

Start by listing things you've accomplished in the past 12 months.

You started a blog. You got promoted. You doubled your business. They could be desired outcomes you've gotten, bucket list items you've crossed off, or habits you've successfully put in place.

When you're done, take a moment to be grateful for all the good things that have happened. At the same time, celebrate the small wins you've worked hard for.

The list is also helpful when planning your new year because now you know what works. All you need is to do more of them.

2. What went wrong?

Next, make another list of things that went poorly in the past 12 months.

It could be setbacks in a project, difficult moments in relationships, or fitness goals you've failed to hit.

Doing this might be uncomfortable, and reminding yourself of some of these incidents could be emotional. The trick is to be easy with yourself and do it with little judgment.

3. What needs work?

The goal isn't to guilt-trip yourself. Instead, it’s to lead you to the next step: figure out what needs work.

Answer the question reveals insights from past mistakes and uncover steps you can take to improve next year. Think about what you would do differently next year to make things better. Also, how you could be better prepared for things outside your control.

Remember that the question "What needs work?" often focuses on corrections of the system instead of the strategy.

Two simple exercises to take your annual review to the next level

If this is your first time doing an annual review. Answering the three questions (What went well? What went wrong? And what needs work?) should provide you with enough feedback when planning for your next year.

But if you want to take things to the next level, there are two other things I do in my annual review.

1. Turn your experiences into lessons and principles

The first is to turn the answers I gather from the three questions into lessons and principles . I do that by removing the details and nuances .

For example, calorie counting has worked so well for me this year compared to things I've tried in the past. And because of that, I got from 22% body fat to 14% in six months—which is the leanest I've ever been. So I strip away the details and turn the experience into two lessons.

  • Calories deficit is the key to weight loss.
  • Calories counting is effective even when I don't like it.

By doing that, I can refer to them anytime when I want to optimize my systems or introduce new strategies.

Do this enough time for every life area; you will have a playbook that cuts your decision-making time in half or more , at the same time, increase the success rates —whether it's in your health, relationships, or business.

2. Rate different areas of your life to reveal hidden insights

Another thing I do is to rate different areas of my life based on my long-term vision and how I feel about them at this very moment.

In my post on How to Think About Your Life , I break my life into six different areas: work, money, fitness, relationships, learning, and hobby. During my annual review, I will score each area on a scale of 1 to 10.

If an area aligns with my long-term vision and I feel good about it now, I would rate it with a high score. On the other hand, if an area is out of alignment and I feel really bad about it, it gets a low score.

How you feel about a life area is subjective and usually not outcome-focused. Because of that, scoring them using a simple scale is a great way to measure them. The goal of this exercise is to find the imbalance that frustrates and bothers you .

It's common for high achievers to hit all of their goals and KPIs but still feel off. Often, that happens because their lives are out of balance. They might be performing well at work but neglecting other areas that don't have a KPI, such as health, family, and personal growth.

If it sounds like you, scoring your life areas give you a clear picture of what needs work—especially on things that are not outcome-driven and don't have KPIs.

Download the annual review template here

Now you have it. To make things easy for you, I've created an annual review worksheet based on a few things we've just gone through. You can download it here .

Again, you can expand your review with more questions and exercises. But I recommend keeping things simple.

Remember to give yourself enough time to gather all the necessary information . But not too much time that makes you keep putting things off. One to two weeks is an excellent timeframe to set.

Another problem is that you might not remember everything from the past 12 months , especially when working in a fast-paced environment. That's where practices like daily journaling, weekly reviews, or even the brag folder come in handy. It's okay if you don't have them now, but do consider adding them to your system in the coming year.

Once you're done reviewing your year, take a few days to let things sink in. Reward yourself with good time off. Reach out to people who have helped you in the past and thank them.

And when you're ready, it's time to plan for the next year—which I will cover in the next episode.

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How To Review Your Year & Plan For The Next Year

Bluchic shares a little brainstorming exercise with you on how to review your year and how to plan for the next year so we can all make it the best year yet!

We’re spending this month slowing down, reviewing the past year, and dreaming up what we want the new year to look like.

It’s important to set aside time to reflect on your business and review your year.

It’s so easy to fall into the trap of always creating, moving, growing but after months have passed you realize you’ve gone down a path you don’t want to walk down.

We don’t want that to happen to you so we decided to share a little brainstorming exercise with you.

We wanted to share how to review your year and how to plan for the next year so we can all make this the best year yet!

If you’re curious about our own plans, be sure to sign up for our email list!

How To Review Your Year & Plan For The Next Year

How to review your year.

When you first start to review your year, you’ll want to ask yourself certain questions.

You can’t move forward without looking at where you came from, so it’s important to spend time reviewing the past year in its entirety.

Here is a list of questions to ask yourself:

  • What products/services did you create in the past year?
  • What do you want to do more of?
  • What do you want to do less of?
  • What worked?
  • What didn’t work?
  • What were you happiest doing?
  • What were your finances?
  • What stressed you out the most?
  • How do you feel about the last year overall?

These answers don’t have to necessarily be all business based. Maybe you want more freedom and you want to spend less time working. Maybe you want fewer clients so you can spend more time with your family.

There are no “right” answers to these questions, but you need to answer them honestly.

Related post: 5 Ideas to Help You Diversify Your Business Income

Create short term and long term goals

Now that you’ve reviewed your year, it’s time to start creating some short-term and long-term goals.

We like creating both short-term and long-term goals because it keeps us accountable yet feeds into the life that we desire to live.

We first create our long-term goals (for example, this next year we want to double our revenue but we also want more whitespace in our lives and not work around the clock).

After you’ve created your long-term goals, you can break it down into short-term goals so you can take the steps you need to take to achieve these long-term goals.

In our case, we’re breaking down each quarter of the year and how we can work toward doubling our revenue while creating more whitespace.

The tactical steps for our long terms goals mean refining our sales funnels for our products and making sure we’re continuously growing our audience to drive to the current products we sell.

Your short term and long term goals may look different than ours. The point is to think about the life you want to create and make sure your goals are in line with that lifestyle.

Related post: How To Set Priorities For Your Business

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Plan for the next year

Planning for the next year needs to happen in tandem with creating an action plan, which we discuss more below.

We like to ask ourselves these questions as we’re dreaming up what the next year could look like:

  • What are your financial goals for your business?
  • What new products/services do you want to launch (if any)?
  • How will you reach your financial goals?
  • What can you do in the first 90 days to get closer to your goals?
  • How will you grow your audience (blogging, YouTube, Facebook Lives, etc)?
  • What will your marketing strategies will you focus on to promote your products/services?

Answering these questions is critical to your success as a business owner. As the saying goes, “failing to plan is planning to fail.”

Create an action plan for how you’ll achieve those goals

Now this is where the magic happens. Nailing down your goals is a crucial step to reviewing your year, but if you don’t create an action plan for how you’ll actually achieve those goals then you won’t get very far.

If you want more whitespace in your life, you’re going to need to set up systems and processes for your business to run without you being attached to it.

This may mean investing in programs that help automate tasks . This could also mean you need to outsource some tasks so you can focus on what you do best.

We like to plan out our short-term goals in 90-day chunks. From there, we create an action plan for each of those goals and what we need to do each week in order to move forward.

Creating an action plan will help you recognize the people and systems you’ll need to invest in to achieve your goals.

If the people and systems you need to invest in get to be too pricey for you, you may need to reconsider some of the goals you have.

Related Post: 4 Ways to End the Year Strong in Your Business

Identify how you’ll measure the progress for these goals

What measurements will you use to check in on your progress for your short term and long term goals?

When throughout the year will you revisit your goals and see if you’re on track or if you need to pivot?

Sometimes we make long-term goals and then we realize halfway through the year that we need to pivot.

That’s totally okay!

But. You need a process in place for you to continuously be revisiting your goals, checking in on your numbers, and revising what works and what doesn’t work so you can continue to move forward.

Related post: How We Fit It All In As Business Owners & Still Have A Life

Leave whitespace

This is so necessary but often a step that’s overlooked when planning for the next year.

Please, if you do anything, leave whitespace in your year.

This means not cramming 17 new product ideas into the first 90 days of the year.

Give yourself a chance to breathe and not be doing, creating, giving, sharing every week of the year. You can increase your reach without sacrificing your time and energy .

Because life will happen. And some project will get pushed back or delayed for reasons out of your control. Or your kid will get sick. Or you’ll get sick. Again, because life will happen. There’s no escaping it.

You’ll appreciate the whitespace in the future, so you can either catch up on work that was missed or take some time to relax and admire the fruits of your labor.

Related Post: 5 Signs It’s Time to Revamp & Refresh Your Website

Gift yourself a Year in Review guide, social graphic templates, + more!

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For just $29 a month, you’ll get instant access to this month’s A Year in Review marketing guide and workbook , 60 share your Year in Review social graphics, AND all the past membership perks!

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With this guide in hand, you’ll be prompted to reflect on this past year’s tactics and strategies and set the tone for the year ahead! Get the Year in Review guide inside our Beautiful Biz Lounge .

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Ultimate Year End Review | Examples, Tips, and Phrases (2023)

Ultimate Year End Review | Examples, Tips, and Phrases (2023)

Astrid Tran • 02 May 2023 • 8 min read

How to Ace the Year End Review ? What to say in Year End Review? Even if you are not good at writing, A Year End Review is a must for years to come. Check out the ultimate guide plus examples, and phrases to write your best Year End Review. 

Year End Reviews can be very beneficial for a company in many ways. When organizations know how to make the most of Year End Reviews, it will be a competitive advantage for companies to stay ahead of their rivals. And individuals, of course, become a better version of themselves. 

year end review

Table of Contents

Purposes of a year end review.

  • How to Write a Year-End Review? (9 Tips to Practices)

Year End Review Examples

  • 35 Year End Review Phrases

Final Thoughts

Tips for better engagement.

  • Employee Performance Evaluation
  • Self-appraisal examples
  • Work goals examples for evaluation

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Year End Reviews are a common practice for both individuals and businesses to reflect on the past year and plan for the upcoming year. While some people may view the Year End Review as a tedious task, it is actually an important practice that serves several purposes, particularly in a professional setting.

Evaluate performance

One of the primary purposes of a Year End Review is to evaluate performance. In a professional setting, this means looking back on the goals that were set for the year and assessing how well they were achieved. This process helps individuals and organizations identify successes, challenges, and opportunities for growth.

Plan for the future

Another important purpose of a Year End Review is to plan for the future. Based on the successes and challenges of the past year, individuals and organizations can set new goals for the upcoming year. This process helps ensure that efforts are focused on achieving the most important objectives and that resources are allocated appropriately.

Acknowledge accomplishments

Taking the time to review the accomplishments of the past year is also an important purpose of the Year End Review. This practice helps individuals and organizations acknowledge the hard work and effort that went into achieving those accomplishments. Recognizing accomplishments can also help boost morale and motivation for the upcoming year.

Identify areas for improvement:

Year End Review also helps to identify areas for improvement. This practice helps individuals and organizations pinpoint areas where changes need to be made in order to improve performance or achieve new goals. Identifying areas for improvement can also help prevent repeating past mistakes.

Provide feedback

The Year End Review also provides an opportunity for feedback. Individuals can provide feedback on their own performance, while managers can provide feedback on the performance of their team members. This process can help individuals identify areas where they need additional support or training and can also help managers identify areas where their team members are excelling or struggling.

how to review a year

How to write a Year End Review? (9 Tips to Practice)

Year End Review is a valuable opportunity to reflect on your past year and set the stage for your growth and success in the upcoming year. By following these tips, you can write a comprehensive and effective Year End Review that will help you achieve your goals and continue to grow and develop.

  • Start early: Don’t wait until the last minute to start your Year End Review. Give yourself enough time to reflect on the past year, gather your thoughts, and write a well-organized review.
  • Be honest and objective : When reflecting on the past year, be honest with yourself and avoid sugarcoating your accomplishments or failures. Recognize your strengths and weaknesses, and identify areas for growth.
  • Use specific examples : When discussing your achievements and challenges, use specific examples to illustrate your points. This will make your Year End Review more meaningful and demonstrate your value to your organization or personal growth.
  • Focus on outcomes : When it comes to achievements, you should focus on the outcomes and results you achieved rather than just listing your responsibilities. Highlight the impact you made and the value you brought to your organization or personal life.
  • Analyze challenges : Think about the challenges you faced over the past year, both personal and professional. Consider what caused these challenges and how you overcame them. Did you learn anything from these experiences that will help you in the future?
  • Include feedback : If you received feedback from colleagues or supervisors over the past year, include it in your Year End Review. This demonstrates your willingness to listen and learn from others, and can show your commitment to self-improvement.

HINT: Using collaborative survey tools like AhaSlides to improve real time respondence and analysis.

  • Don’t forget to celebrate : It’s important to celebrate your achievements and successes over the past year. Take time to acknowledge your hard work and accomplishments, and use them as motivation to continue to grow and succeed.
  • Set goals: Use your Year End Review to set specific, measurable goals for the upcoming year. Make sure these goals are aligned with your personal and/or professional aspirations, and set a plan to achieve them.
  • Edit and proofread : After you have written your Year End Review, take some time to edit and proofread it. Make sure it’s clear, concise, and error-free.

Personal Year End Review example

As the year draws to a close, it’s a good time to reflect on the past year and set goals for the upcoming year. In the Personal Year End Review, you can reflect on your personal goals, accomplishments, and areas for improvement in the past year.

Reflection on Personal Goals

At the beginning of the year, I set several personal goals, including exercising more regularly, reading more books, and spending more time with friends and family. Looking back, I’m proud to say that I achieved all of these goals. I made a habit of exercising three times a week, read 20 books throughout the year, and made an effort to plan more outings with my loved ones.

Setting New Personal Goals

Based on previous reflections, you might identify several new personal goals for the upcoming year. For examples:

  • Planning at least one outing with friends or family each month
  • Limiting time spent on social media and television to allow more time for reading and personal development
  • Implementing a daily routine that includes exercise, meditation, and goal-setting

Performance Year End Review example

When it comes to Job Performance Year End Review, the managers or leaders can write appraisals on his or her achievements, challenges, areas of growth, and suggest plans for the upcoming year.


Over the past year, you’ve achieved several significant milestones. I acknowledged for your contribution on our company several projects which are ahead of schedule and received recognition from other colleagues. You also took the initiative to develop your skills in project management and attended a professional development course to improve your leadership skills.

Areas for Growth

Based on my observation over the past year, I’ve identified several areas for you to grow. One area is to continue to develop your leadership skills, especially in terms of motivating and managing team members. It is recommended to focus on improving your time management skills and prioritization, so that you can stay on top of my workload and avoid unnecessary stress.

Business Year End Review example

Here is a sample of Year End Review for a business in it report with their stakeholders. It should deliver the value and benefits which its stakeholders have got in the past year and the reason for continuing collaborate with the company in the next year.

“Dear valued stakeholders,

As we close out another year, I want to take this opportunity to reflect on the progress we have made as a business and share our plans for the future.

This year has been challenging, but also full of opportunities for growth and innovation. We are proud to report that we achieved many of our goals, including increasing revenue and expanding our customer base.

Looking ahead, we are excited to continue building on this momentum. Our focus for the next year will be on expanding our product line, increasing efficiency, and continuing to innovate to meet the needs of our customers.”

Year End Review examples

35-Year End Review phrases

If you are stuck on what to write in a performance review whether you are manager or employee, here is the complete list of Year End Review phrases that you can put on your review form.


1. Demonstrated an exceptional ability to learn and apply new skills quickly.

2. Showed strong initiative in seeking out opportunities to develop new skills and knowledge.

3. Consistently displayed a high level of competence in [specific skill or area].

4. Successfully applied [specific skill or area] to achieve outstanding results in [project/task].

5. Demonstrated excellent problem-solving skills, consistently finding creative solutions to complex issues.

6. Developed a new skill set that significantly contributed to the success of the project/team/company.

7. Continuously improved [specific skill or area] through ongoing training and development opportunities.

8. Displayed a strong work ethic and dedication to improving [specific skill or area] in order to achieve personal/professional growth.”

9. Contributed positively to the workplace culture, promoting teamwork and collaboration.

10. Demonstrated strong leadership skills in guiding the team towards achieving our goals.

11. Demonstrated a tendency to procrastinate or become easily distracted, which negatively impacted productivity.

12. Received feedback regarding [specific behavior or performance] and struggled to make improvements.

13. Missed important details or made mistakes that required corrective action.

14. Encountered challenges related to collaboration or communication with team members, resulting in delays or misunderstandings.

15. Struggled with time management and prioritization, leading to incomplete or unfinished work.

16. Difficulty managing stress or workload, resulting in decreased productivity or burnout.

17. Experienced difficulty adapting to changes in the workplace, including [specific changes].

Need improvement

18. Identified opportunities to improve [specific skill or area] and proactively sought out training and development opportunities.

19. Demonstrated a willingness to receive feedback and took action to address areas for improvement.

20. Took on additional responsibilities to develop skills and gain experience in areas of weakness.

21. Recognized the importance of improving [specific skill or area] and consciously prioritised it throughout the year.

22. Made strides in improving [specific skill or area] and consistently demonstrated progress over the course of the year.

23. Took ownership of mistakes and actively worked to learn from them and improve.

24. Recognized areas with more attention and took steps to improve overall productivity.

Goal setting

25. Participated in training programs or workshops that focused on areas in need of improvement.

26. Identified barriers to success and developed strategies to overcome them.

27. Engaged in ongoing self-reflection to identify areas for improvement and set goals for the upcoming year.

28. Revised and adjusted goals as needed to ensure they remained relevant and achievable.

29. Set challenging but achievable goals that pushed me to grow and develop my skills.

30. Identified potential obstacles to achieving my goals and develop strategies to overcome them.

Business review

31. We exceeded our revenue targets for the year and achieved strong profitability.

32. Our customer base grew significantly, and we received positive feedback on our products/services.

33. Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, we adapted quickly and maintained our operations, ensuring our business continuity.

34. We invested in our employees and created a positive workplace culture that resulted in high employee satisfaction and retention.

35. We demonstrated a commitment to corporate social responsibility by implementing sustainable practices, supporting local communities, and donating to charitable causes.

Many people reckon that performance review is more biased and subjective. But Year End review is always two-way communication between the company and the employee, and other stakeholders, you and yourself. It is the best occasion to take stock of things that were valuable and things that weren’t from the previous year.

Ref: Forbes

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Astrid Tran

I've got my rhythm with words

More from AhaSlides

Mid Year Review Examples: 45+ Best Performance Review Phrases (With Tips)

how to review a year

Summarize a document with Microsoft 365 Copilot

Did you know that Microsoft 365 Copilot can save you a lot of time? Suppose that you've been asked to summarize a document. It's too long to read in its entirety right now. You know you're going to read the whole document soon, but you need to deliver a summary today. Microsoft 365 Copilot can help! 

Step 1: Summarize a document

Open Microsoft Word, and then open your document.

In the ribbon, on the Home tab, select Copilot .

Screenshot shows Copilot in Word summarizing the document.

Step 2: Review the results

Review the summary Copilot generated. How does it flow? Is it ready to share? Or does it need a little more work? 

Often the first response isn't perfect. Artificial intelligence (AI) works best with a little back-and-forth conversation. You can get better results by providing more context and details about what you're after.

Step 3: Provide more context and details

Include some context and a few details in your prompts to get better results with Copilot. Who's the summary for? Why do you need it? How do you plan to use it? Try using prompts like these:

What should business decision makers know about <subject in your document>?  Why is it important to understand these things?

I need to share the main points of this document with my teammates. Write a few paragraphs that include why these points are important to our company.

Are there any calls to action? What should we do next?

With each prompt, Copilot scans the document again, and then generates a response. You can continue submitting prompts until you're pleased with the results.

Try suggested prompts

Copilot offers suggested prompts to try, too. You can always type your own prompts for Copilot. You can also use suggested prompts. With each response, you'll see one or more suggested prompts. Give one a try, and see what happens.

Give feedback

How did it go? Tell us. At the bottom of each AI-generated response, use the thumbs-up or thumbs-down icons to submit your feedback. Submitting feedback helps to improve machine learning.

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How Can I Check Credit Scores?

Credit scores are how financial institutions assess your credit risk. Even though credit reports from the three nationwide credit bureaus don’t usually contain credit scores, there are other ways to check your score. [Duration - 1:01]


Credit reports from the three nationwide credit bureaus do not usually contain credit scores

You may be able to get a credit score from your credit card company, financial institution or loan statement

You can also use a credit score service or free credit scoring site

Many people think if you check your credit reports from the three nationwide credit bureaus, you’ll see credit scores as well. But that’s not the case: credit reports from the three nationwide credit bureaus do not usually contain credit scores. Before we talk about where you can get credit scores, there are a few things to know about credit scores, themselves.

One of the first things to know is that you don’t have only one credit score. Credit scores are designed to represent your credit risk, or the likelihood you will pay your bills on time. Credit scores are calculated based on a method using the content of your credit reports.

Score providers, such as the three nationwide credit bureaus -- Equifax, Experian and TransUnion -- and companies like FICO use different types of credit scoring models and may use different information to calculate credit scores. Credit scores provided by the three nationwide credit bureaus will also vary because some lenders may report information to all three, two or one, or none at all.  And lenders and creditors may use additional information, other than credit scores, to decide whether to grant you credit. 

So how can you get credit scores? Here are a few ways:

  • Check your credit card, financial institution or loan statement. Many credit card companies, banks and loan companies have started providing credit scores for their customers. It may be on your statement, or you can access it online by logging into your account.
  • Purchase credit scores directly from one of the three major credit bureaus or other provider, such as FICO .
  • Use a credit score service or free credit scoring site. Some sites provide a free credit score to users. Others may provide credit scores to credit monitoring customers paying a monthly subscription fee.

In addition to checking your credit scores, it’s a good idea to regularly check your credit reports to ensure that the information is accurate and complete.

You’re entitled to a free copy of your credit reports every 12 months from each of the three nationwide credit bureaus by visiting www.annualcreditreport.com . You can also create a myEquifax account  to get six free Equifax credit reports each year.  In addition, you can click “Get my free credit score” on your myEquifax dashboard to enroll in Equifax Core Credit ™ for a free monthly Equifax credit report and a free monthly VantageScore® 3.0 credit score, based on Equifax data. A VantageScore is one of many types of credit scores.

If you find information you believe is inaccurate or incomplete on your credit reports, contact the lender or creditor. You can also file a dispute with the credit bureau that provided the report. At Equifax, you can create a myEquifax account  to file a dispute. Visit our dispute page to learn other ways you can submit a dispute.

Get your free credit score today!

We get it, credit scores are important. A monthly free credit score & Equifax credit report are available with Equifax Core Credit TM . No credit card required.

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How to Be a Better Leader Amid Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, and Ambiguity

  • Angus Fletcher,
  • Thomas L. Gaines,
  • Brittany Loney

how to review a year

An updated approach to VUCA.

More than three decades ago, the U.S. Army War College developed a framework for understanding how leaders succeed during times of volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity. The framework, known as VUCA, has been widely discussed and adopted since, but it turns out to be better at describing what successful leaders do than teaching all leaders how to succeed. The authors present an updated approach that has generated positive outcomes in military, business, and sports contexts.

Your environment is changing fast. You lack the data to make confident decisions. Your operations sprawl with processes. You’re spotting trends that could be good — or not.

These are the four challenges of volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity. They’re the reality of business today. But they’re not new. They’re intrinsic to markets, sales, manufacturing — and life in general. So why do some organizations respond better? How do they succeed when others struggle or even surrender?

In the late 1980s, after the fall of the Soviet Union triggered a spike in global instability, the U.S. Army War College set out to find answers. They developed the concept of VUCA, an acronym for volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity. And they determined that leaders who did best in VUCA had the capacity to create and communicate a story of the future, a story broad enough to adapt to changing circumstance, yet accurate enough to yield competitive advantage . They called this skill “vision.”

In the wake of the 2008 global financial crisis, Harvard Business Review published a four-part series on VUCA that detailed the core characteristics of visionary leadership: flexibility, collaboration, foresight, active listening, clear communication. Since then, the War College’s theory has become a standard resource for modern business in times of uncertain change.

But in the 2010s Army researchers inventoried VUCA and discovered that the War College’s theory was better at describing leaders than at producing them. It explained what good leaders did in VUCA, but didn’t explain how to cultivate those behaviors in less successful leaders.

To fill that gap, we (the authors of this article) returned to VUCA. Two of us have decades of experience training military commanders and frontline leaders; the third is an expert in the brain science of creating and communicating plans and other narratives. Working with U.S. Army Special Operations, we developed a suite of new techniques for training the brain to initiate effective plans and strategies in murky and fast-changing environments. We tested these techniques outside the Army in professional sports (such as the NFL) and in business (from Fortune 15s such as Cardinal Health to billion-dollar tech firms such as Faire). And we synthesized our findings into a method that the U.S. Army has formally recognized with a Commendation Medal for “groundbreaking research.”

Here’s that method, starting with what psychologists refer to as a mindset shift.

Decision-Making Doesn’t Always Improve with More Data

When life is stable and transparent, more data leads to better decisions. But when life turns choppy or murky, data gets fragile and elusive. More data is not an option — and to seek it produces passivity, mission creep, and hesitation.

The key to intelligent leadership in VUCA is low-data decision making. Low-data decision making is impossible for computers, which is why volatility causes AI to become brittle and prone to catastrophic error. But low-data decision making is an inherent power of the brain, which evolved to thrive in unpredictable environments.

To activate that power, target “exceptional information.” Exceptional information is an exception to an existing rule. It’s the initial sign of an emergent threat or opportunity, like when the mainframe engineer Steve Wozniak saw the Altair 8800 microcomputer at the first meeting of the Homebrew Computer Club on March 5, 1975. Other mainframe engineers dismissed the Altair as too small to be useful. But in the Altair’s unusual smallness, Wozniak glimpsed a new story of the future: a world where computers were used to work and play games at home. He dashed back to his own home and engineered the Apple I.

If you think you can’t spot exceptional information unless you’re as brilliant as Wozniak, think again. You did it as a child, when unusual cracks on the sidewalk and unique clouds in the sky prompted your brain to imagine: What if? To return to that earlier mindset, exit your adult brain’s bias toward abstract reasoning. Focus instead on identifying what’s unique about every person you meet and every place you visit — like how a company accountant spends his evenings studying Nigerian poetry, or how a local chef blends two spices like nobody else. You’ll know you’re picking up on the exceptional if you find yourself experiencing that childlike power to dream new tomorrows, imagining what could happen next.

New Leadership Techniques

Now that you have shifted your mindset, here are three techniques for training yourself to lead better in VUCA.

Don’t Rely on Active Listening. Do Use the New Science of Active Questioning. 

Active listening is a venerable business method, defined in the 1950s by Carl Rogers and Richard Farson, that can be effective when there is low urgency and high transparency. But in VUCA, you will increase your effectiveness by employing active questioning.

Active questioning surfaces exceptional information via a simple technique: Delay asking Why . When we ask Why , the brain seeks answers in existing rules and prior judgments, which dismiss or explain away the new and unexpected. Instead prioritize What , Who , When , Where, How — focusing on answers that trigger surprise. That surprise is an indicator of exceptions that press the brain to develop new rules and judgments. The more of those exceptions that can be gathered and held simultaneously in view, the more effectively a leader can imagine new futures.

We recently worked with a Fortune 50 finance company that since 2019 had been losing a growing slice of its junior talent. To understand what was happening, HR asked the leavers, “Why are you going to our competitors?,” and they responded, “Money.” So the company upped its retention offers — but continued to lose talent.

To help the company respond more effectively to this emergent challenge, we trained its HR staff to delay asking Why and instead engage junior talent with questions like: What do you do on your weekends? Who do you do it with? Where do you go on vacation? From these questions, HR determined that the company’s junior talent suffered from a variety of sources of low life-satisfaction. Money wasn’t the deep reason for their discontent; it was just a surrogate explanation, used to communicate their sense that something was missing and to rationalize why they wanted to explore outside career options.

By using active questioning to identify what was actually missing from its younger employees’ lives, the company became substantially more effective at retaining talent. One junior exec was unhappy because they and their partner were struggling to conceive a child. The company paid for fertility treatments — then hosted a baby shower.

Don’t Optimize the Plan. Do Optimize the Planner.

In 1957, U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower gave a speech in which he recalled spending his early days at the Army Staff College planning for wars that never happened. It was a waste of time, he said — except that it wasn’t, because the process trained him and his colleagues to be ready for anything. “The reason it is so important to plan,” he told his audience, is “to keep yourselves steeped in the character of the problem that you may one day be called upon to solve.” In other words, as he put it famously in that speech, “Plans are worthless, but planning is everything.”

Not long ago, we worked with a $100m sales company that had an unusually high percentage of senior managers who did not successfully transition to leadership. We embedded with them and discovered that they believed a key to leadership was developing the optimum plan. Their senior managers brainstormed every likely challenge or opportunity, crunched the probabilities, and developed a grand strategy. Just in case something unexpected occurred, they also made a Plan B. Yet despite having plans for every probable contingency, they were continually caught flat-footed. Their optimum plans broke again and again, as did their Plan Bs — at which point they lost confidence in their leadership, prompting their teams to lose confidence too.

These managers set themselves up for failure by trusting in Plan B. In VUCA, Plan B isn’t anything other than a variation on Plan A. Both are based upon the same underlying methods and assumptions, so if one fails, the other often follows.

To help the senior managers transition into leadership, we trained them to push beyond Plan B and generate a whole set of plans that encompassed not just the most probable contingencies but all possible contingencies, with a particular emphasis on the extreme and unprecedented. The goal of this process was not to make better plans. It was to make better planners, who reacted dynamically when their plans failed by planning again. As assessed by the company’s internal metrics, this approach more than doubled the rate at which senior managers transitioned into leaders.

Don’t Dissociate from Fear and Anger. Do Use Emotion Reset.

Fear and anger are popularly characterized as negative emotions. Leaders are taught to suppress or bypass them via mindfulness, meditation, pop-Stoicism, and other dissociative techniques. But although fear and anger may lead to negative behaviors, they arise, like all emotions, for positive reasons — notably, to signal the onset of a flight-or-fight response. That response is triggered when your nervous system detects environmental volatility and other indicators of VUCA.

If you ignore or suppress fear and anger, you deprive yourself of a warning system, tuned through millions of years of biological evolution, for alerting you when you’re under threat and need to switch on your leadership vision.

That warning system isn’t perfect. But you can improve it. The next time you feel fear or anger, recall in detail a time when you dealt successfully with a similar situation, reminding your brain, You’ve done this before . We call this technique “emotion reset.” It allows you to quickly evaluate whether your flight-and-fight is tuned to your environment. If your fear and anger calm when you perform emotion reset, then your flight-or-flight response is an overreaction. You’re imagining more VUCA than is actually present, so the best course of action is to stick with your existing plans and keep gathering data. But if your fear and anger remain constant when you perform emotion reset, then the VUCA is real, and your circumstances are urgent. Respond energetically to match that urgency by re-planning fast and acting decisively.

We worked on this with an NFL quarterback prospect who improvised too much during games. To rein in his behavior, his coaches drilled him on sticking to the gameplan. This stopped him from improvising but negatively affected his performance, turning him into a robot who lost his feel for the game.

To help him keep improvising without overdoing it, we studied his game tape. We noticed that his improvisation rate increased after failed plays, suggesting it was often driven by overactive fight-or-flight. To allow him to better assess the reliability of his fight-or-flight response, we worked with him on emotion reset. From game tape, we highlighted examples of when he had successfully executed planned plays and we had him mentally review these occasions, over and over, seeing them in detail. This primed the memories in his brain for fast recall. Then we had him create a “trigger,” a memento he associated with those memories. He took the trigger into his next game and looked at it after every bad play, remembering I’ve done this before . By resetting his emotions, he kept himself from getting unnecessarily anxious or aggressive, sticking more consistently to the coaches’ game plan. And by not forcing himself to stick robotically to that plan, he retained his ability to improvise in VUCA, leading his team by inventing fresh plans when needed.

Tomorrow is full of fog and volatility. Markets, supply chains, technology, and consumer trends are hazy and transforming. But you can lead your organization to succeed. The Army’s original theory of VUCA defined visionary leadership. And now, using what we’ve laid out in this article, you have a Special Operations method for cultivating it in yourself — and your future teams.

how to review a year

  • AF Angus Fletcher is a professor of story science at Ohio State’s Project Narrative. He is the author of Storythinking (Columbia University Press, 2023) and Primal Intelligence (Penguin Random House, forthcoming).
  • TG Thomas L. Gaines is a lieutenant colonel in U.S. Army Special Operations Command. His research has appeared previously in West Point’s Modern Warfare Institute .
  • BL Brittany Loney , Ph.D. has led the development of cognitive performance programs across U.S. Special Operations units for over a decade. She is the director of the ECHO program at Core One and the founder of Elite Cognition , where she provides civilians access to the cognition tools available to the U.S. military.

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