Day 6 – Friday Reflection – Identify Three Things Going Well and Three Things to Improve

“I’ve found that small wins, small projects, small differences often make huge differences.” –  Rosabeth Moss Kanter

Your Outcome: Celebrate your wins and find your personal success patterns.  Learn a simple way to practice your attitude of gratitude while growing your ability to get meaningful results.
Welcome to day 6 of 30 Days of Getting Results.  In day 5, we created a simple map of what’s going on in our life so that we could improve our focus and invest our time and energy more effectively.  Today, we reflect on our past week.  I call this practice Friday Reflection.  It’s part of the Monday vision, Daily Vision, Friday Reflection pattern from my book, Getting Results the Agile Way.
Friday Reflection is a simple but powerful practice.  For Friday Reflection, simply think about your past week and identify three things going well and three things to improve. It’s a chance to celebrate your wins, no matter how small.  It’s also a chance to figure out what’s not working for you.  Whatever you learn, you can carry forward into the next week, and use this to continuously improve your results each week.   It’s a snowball of success.
3 Steps to Friday Reflection
Here are three simple steps to perform your Friday Reflection:
  • Step 1. Ask yourself, what are three things going well? The key here is to look at your approach.  You can’t always control your results.  Instead, focus on whether you made smart plays based on what you wanted to accomplish.  Pat yourself on the back for making your best moves, independent of the results.  No matter how good a baseball team is, you win some, you lose some.  The best you can do is play your best.  Where you made smart moves, pay attention to why it worked and how you can use it in the future.
  • Step 2. Ask yourself, what are three things to improve? This is the tough question, but it’s important to own it, and look at it objectively.  Once you put it down on paper, you don’t need to over-analyze it.  You simply need to see if you can identify the root cause, but then more importantly, identify some specific ways to improve.  Brainstorm here and let your imagination run wild.  The key is to quickly shift to “how” questions, don’t keep asking “why?”  For example, “How can I be more effective in that situation? … or “How can I be more resourceful when that happens again?” … or “How can I prevent that from happening in the first place?”
  • Step 3. Identify what you’ll change next week.   You’ll likely come up with a laundry list of simple things you can test to improve your results.  Just pick a few you really care about and add them to your bag of tricks.  Rather than over-analyze your ideas, just write down a few things that you can test next week and get feedback on.  The idea is to learn and improve, not beat yourself up, or wallow in pity.
I recommend adding a reminder to your calendar and blocking off time for it.  If you don’t, it’s easy to forget to do it.  If you schedule it, it will happen, and it’s one of the simplest ways to improve your results every week.
Example of Friday Reflection
Here is a quick example of my Friday Reflection:
3 Things Going Well …
  1. I got great feedback from a lot of people inside and outside of Microsoft how 30 Days of Getting Results is helping them achieve more meaningful results.
  2. I added key people to my network at Microsoft that have very effective ways of getting results.
  3. I effectively anticipated just about every possible surprise this week and had a fallback plan.
3 Things to Improve …
  1. I had the wrong lens, model, and map for looking at a few scenarios, which limited my effectiveness.
  2. I didn’t checkpoint a few of my key assumptions with the right people as early as I could have.
  3. I didn’t reset expectations appropriately in a few cases, which would have saved me some extra work and backtracking.
As far as a few things I’ll change next week, I’ll be asking a lot more pointed questions next week regarding people’s their model and their map.    I’ve been quick to expose my thinking and vision, but now I’ll be testing other people’s assumptions, their operating models, their vision, their timeframes, and gaining clarity on understanding how they test their success or what their rules are for what good looks like.  It should be interesting.  I’ll also be studying up against on effective argumentation as well as rhetoric (the art of arguing without anger.)
Why Friday Reflection
This is the perfect opportunity to take a look at the patterns in your week.  If you’re not achieving what you set out to do for the week, why not?  Are you biting off more than you can chew?  Are you letting other things get in the way?  Are you figuring out the right things to get done?  Are you making the right trade offs?   As you pay attention to these patterns, you’ll find you will improve your ability to anticipate, you’ll get a better handle on your capacity, and you’ll improve your ability to focus, prioritize, and achieve the results you want, while responding to things with skill, instead of reacting.
Aside from naturally improving your ability to get results, you’ll also improve your outlook.  Too many people look at only the upside or the downside of their week.  Looking at three things going well and three things to improve gives you a more balanced view, and your wins will build momentum, while your lessons learned will support you in all areas of your life.
Today’s Assignment
  1. Schedule a recurring 20 minute appointment with yourself for Friday’s for reflection on your results.  I recommend making this something you do earlier in the AM versus later in the day.  Your clarity will serve you for the rest of the day and start you off on the right foot.
  2. Identify your three things going well and your three things to improve.  Celebrate those wins!
Photo by jcoterhals.