During my working life I have had the privilege (and sometime pressures) of compiling and writing Annual Reports for a range of cultural and education organisations. It is one of those skills that I have learnt “on the job” and has come in incredibly useful in my working life.
One of the challenges of doing an annual report in an organisation is that nearly everyone looks at it as a “have to do” part of their work. Let’s get it done quickly and painlessly, which is a fair enough approach.
However, a few people, particularly in public facing organisations, see this as an opportunity to highlight achievements of the year and position their organisation for the future. Reporting is after all a form of communication, so let’s make the most of it.
Today, having come to the end of an operating year for Albany Lane, I thought I would take a moment and draft my own mini-Annual Report. There were three areas of focus:
· Numbers – How many clients, coaching sessions, workshops, participants, marketing and networking activities did we see or do? What did we earn, where did it come from and what did we spend? That is what, are the facts about what actually happened over the year.
· Achievements – What are the highlights or major milestones of the year? What did we do that pushed the company forward? What strategies were completed or developed? What is different now than 12 months ago?
· Values – How did Albany Lane express its values of courage, compassion and community in the year past? What did we do that brought these values to life and contributed to someone else’s experience? How did we make a difference?
What I found is that despite sometimes feeling that I was not doing enough or nothing was happening, that in reality there was considerable focused work and worthwhile outcomes during the year. Could I have done more? Well probably. Would I do things differently? Of course, we are always learning. Am I proud what I have done? Yes! I am. And looking forward to doing more.
It need not take long to review your performance but there is value on taking regular stock. Even when working alone (maybe even more so) we need to step back and assess: where are we now, and then where do we want to go.
Sharing this information with the people around you is also important. Ask for feedback and suggestions. Be courageous and generous. It is surprising how often people are willing to help if only they are asked. It is wonderful how often someone is willing to celebrate with you too.
One of the reasons that hold women back from having the life they love (based on our 2014 research) is negative self-talk. Taking an objective appraisal of your year to date can bring you clarity and confidence. It is all too easy to let the supposed failures overtake the achievements in our world. So acknowledge all that you have done this year, be proud and let someone see how wonderful you are.