In less than a month, 2023 will come to an end.
I believe many people have already started preparing for a review.
Why should you review? Because through reviewing, you can comprehensively examine your goals, reflect on the process, and make both successes and failures in your work valuable.
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Reviewing can bring compound benefits, while not reviewing is purely random.
So, the act of reviewing: should be done frequently, consistently, and on a regular basis.
01- Reviewing, should be done frequently
Why should you do it frequently? Because reviewing is the fastest way for personal growth.
Only through continuous reviewing can you discover your strengths and weaknesses, and strive for daily improvement and development. You need to know where you stumble to avoid those pitfalls.
Let me give you an example: early in my career, when I started in telephone sales, I once had an experience of crying with my head in my hands. I noticed that my sales performance could never surpass that of my friend, who was always the top performer.
Later, through reviewing, I discovered this: my friend’s phone calls didn’t involve any special technique; it was just one phrase, “Boss, would you buy one? Boss, would you buy one?” and then the boss would buy.
While I constantly explained the logic and value to the customers. Then the customer would say, “Alright, I’ll buy one.” But I arrogantly said, “Whether you buy or not is up to you.”
After this review, I found the problems I had in sales: I lacked a sense of urgency and hunger. Since then, I have never lost to my friend again.
So, how do you review? Typically, a good review often includes three steps:
Step 1: Observation
First is observation: What should you observe? You need to “turn back time,” look back on the past, observe the results, and also observe the process.
And your observation must be based on reality. So, you should look at data, examine objective descriptions of events, separate facts from opinions, and look at the problem rationally.
Step 2: Reflection
Based on the observed facts, you need to reflect. Your thinking should not be shallow; it must be deep for the review to be effective.
Keep asking questions, dive deep, peel the onion layer by layer, continuously ask five or six questions, and eventually you will review down to the essence and find the truth of the matter.
Step 3: Action
After reflection, comes action. You should adjust your actions based on the results of reflection: What should you stop doing? What should you continue doing? What should you start doing? Without action, reviewing is meaningless.
No reviewing, no growth. So, reviewing should be done frequently.
02- Reviewing, should be done persistently
Why should you do it persistently? Because reviewing goes against human nature.
Many times, you need to “strip the skin,” expose your own wounds, dissect yourself, and reveal your shortcomings.
However, this is precisely the most difficult part.
We are all accustomed to thinking from our own perspective, used to reporting good news and not bad news, used to applause, used to saving face, and used to finding external reasons. When we make mistakes, we are eager to turn the page and not admit our own problems.
But once you avoid the real issues, reviewing becomes meaningless.
So, reviewing should be done persistently, and you should dare to “cut off the tail after taking off your pants,” and dare to find reasons within yourself.
So, how do you do it? There are two ways:
- Look in the mirror
When reviewing a team, you should be able to “look in the mirror,” observe yourself from the perspective of the employees, introspect, and find your own problems.
When employees fail to meet their goals, you should ask yourself: “Did I provide clear objectives? Did I follow up on the process? Was motivation sufficient?”
When you feel that an employee lacks skills, you should ask yourself: “Did I provide adequate training for the employee? Did I mentor effectively?”
When you feel that employees do not respect you, you should ask yourself: “Do I have leadership? Have I fulfilled my responsibilities?”
For a manager, reviewing employees is akin to reviewing oneself.
- Step on the tail
I have said before, people cannot be awakened; they can only be awakened through pain.
When you can’t identify the problems, if you are a manager, you can hold a “fishbowl meeting” as mentioned in the management workshop.
Let others give you suggestions, point out your problems, and when others offer criticism or share their opinions, no matter how strong your desire to argue, restrain yourself and keep your mouth shut.
Listen patiently to what they have to say, see their perspective and opinions about you. Their words may sting and step on your tail, but only when you feel the pain will you reflect.
Growth comes with discomfort; reviewing should be done persistently.
03- Reviewing, should be done regularly
Why should you do it regularly? Reviewing at specific time points allows for a more comprehensive summary and reflection, helping you discover more problems and opportunities. It also effectively manages your time, preventing wasted time and energy.
When a project is completed, you need to establish a clear reviewing plan and process to avoid losing direction during the review.
Every week, every month, every quarter, how has the progress been toward your goals? Was the strategy correct? What needs improvement? What should be maintained?
Regularly reviewing has three specific benefits:
The first one, understanding goal completion
Goals provide direction, and if you don’t pay attention to goal completion, you won’t know what to do next.
For example, if your annual sales target is 100 million, and by the end of June, you’ve only achieved 30 million, then you need to review what went wrong in the first half of the year and how you plan to achieve the remaining 70 million in the second half.
Through reviewing, you can gauge goal completion and adjust strategies for the next phase, ensuring that you eventually reach your target.
The second one, ensuring you stay on course
Don’t keep your head down pulling the cart; also, look up to see if you’re staying on the right path.
For instance, if you work in design, you shouldn’t just satisfy your own preferences without considering the real needs of your clients, ultimately producing a product that the market doesn’t require.
Reviewing helps you adjust your strategies and methods. If you’ve veered off course, it helps you correct your direction and continue moving forward.
The third one, examining your initial intentions
Sometimes, you may get so busy doing things that you forget the original purpose and significance of those actions. This can lead to doing things just for the sake of doing them.
Regular reviewing helps rekindle your initial intentions, allowing you to reassess your motivations for doing what you do and whether it’s still worthwhile or if there have been any changes.
Regular reviewing is like giving your own body regular check-ups, ensuring your growth and development are on the right track.
Socrates once said: “The unexamined life is not worth living.” Reviewing is an opportunity for self-examination. Make it a habit to review, persevere in it, and do it regularly. Learn to review, and let each review become an accelerator on your path to growth.