The academic year has drawn to a close and the hustle and bustle of commencement has subsided. Faculty and administrators are breathing a sigh of relief and taking a much needed—and well earned—break. The end of an academic year is a pivotal time to plan for the year ahead. Before you can effectively do so, you must reflect on the year you’ve completed, understanding your successes and failures. Reflection enables growth. Many individuals don’t integrate this practice because it feels overwhelming. They don’t have the time—or inclination—to spend an entire weekend rehashing everything from the previous year. However, an annual post-mortem doesn’t have to be a Herculean undertaking. Set aside one hour each week for 2–3 weeks in a row to look back. By dividing this into manageable chunks, you make it accessible. Having space between your sessions has the added benefit of allowing your insights to percolate and coalesce. Grab a blank notebook and spend some time sketching these four areas:

1. Biggest wins. Inventory your accomplishments over the course of the year. What factors enabled your success? How can you build on your momentum

2. Significant challenges. Each year brings setbacks—and the pandemic has thrown countless curveballs at each of us. Where have you struggled this year? How can you respond differently to these challenges moving forward? What additional resources would enable better outcomes?

3. Emerging horizons. Where are there opportunities to expand and develop? Consider this both on a personal level and for your institution as a whole. What additional information do you need to evaluate these opportunities? Who is already effectively engaging this space and how can you learn from them?

4. Key collaborators. Your work is never undertaken alone. Who are the others who helped you succeed? How can you express your appreciation to teammates whose work means so much to you? Where can you forge additional partnerships? Lean in to the power of community as you look to the year ahead. 

Once you’ve taken stock, know that our team is available to help. Hyatt-Fennell offers leadership coaching to enable you to make greater strides in the year to come. Coaching will pair you with a mentor suited to your goals and aligned with your values. Reach out today to find out more.