Annual Debrief: Done Yours Yet?

 In Careers

We always teach our career management clients to go through a debrief process at the end of an interview but it never occurred to us to do an annual debrief – not until, that is, my team and I came across a brilliant blog by Jeff Walker.

We teach the technique to our clients so that each interview they attend becomes a learning experience for the future: if you want to improve your interview technique and thereby your chances of receiving a job offer it just makes common sense to ask yourself a series of structured questions in a debrief process. Jess Walker takes the process further and introduces the idea of an annual debrief.

If you go to his web site: and then look at his blog you’ll see a short video entitled, “4 Words That Will Change Your Results Next Year”.

It really is well worth a listen and like all the best ideas the one that Jeff propounds is profoundly simple!

His four words are: worked well do differently! We’ve all heard the phrase that “successful people plan ahead” but the first step in any plan for success is to debrief yourself by asking a very simple question that contains Jeff’s four words:

What worked well and what do I want to do differently?

I listened to his blog and I started to think. Jeff focuses predominantly on business success and being a successful entrepreneur, but it then dawned on me that this technique can be applied to all sorts of different aspects of our lives: it can be applied to our careers, our businesses, our job searches, our relationships, our holidays, our health: in fact any area of our lives where we are determined to have a better year next year than we had this year.

Having chosen a specific aspect of my life, I started to review 2014 by thinking, as Jeff suggested, about the happenings in my life since January 2014, and then I categorised the thoughts into different lists. Create your own lists, but a few example list headings that I have used are:

  • The things I’d like to do again exactly the same
  • The things I’d like to do significantly more of
  • The things I’d like to do faster
  • The things I’d like to do slower
  • The things I’d like to do more accurately
  • The things I’d like to do more carefully
  • The things I’d like to do more vigorously
  • The things I’d like to do without procrastinating

These lists then provided me with the raw bones upon which to build the flesh of my success plan for next year for that particular aspect of my life. So far I’ve applied it to my company Proteus Consultancy and to two new products launching in 2015. The next aspect of my life to come under scrutiny will be family holidays!

I’ve always liked the idea of New Year’s Resolutions, but I think that using Jeff Walker’s technique of going through a debrief of what happened this last year, is going to make my written planning for next year so much more likely to happen.

Best wishes and season’s greetings to everyone who’s thinking of, and planning for, greater success in 2015 than they had in 2014!

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