I love this time of the year. Certainly the holidays and everything that goes with them are the primary reason. But I also truly enjoy the process of wrapping up with an end of year reflection, and looking ahead with anticipation and optimism.

Most managers have their own processes for concluding the year that usually include budgeting and personnel discussions. At Building Engines, we try to drink our own Kool-Aid. We take a hard look at the past year’s performance measured against our targets. This includes evaluating activities and results and making adjustments in our planning for next year.

Some of our year-end evaluations include looking very closely at processes and trying to figure out which we can streamline and automate in order to improve our overall organizational efficiency. It can be a painful exercise, but it is most definitely worth it.

Another big part our evaluation, particularly for me and my role, includes meeting with my employees to discuss the upcoming year. These are generally not scheduled formal reviews, but rather an opportunity to do several things.

An End of Year Reflection Provides Opportunities for the Following:

1. Express appreciation for employees’ hard work during the year

I think it is important to let my group know they are a part of our team. And while there may have been struggles during the year, we are in this together and I will support them.

2. Look back and review some of the year’s successes and failures

It is critical to conduct honest assessments of what we did well and where we fell a little short. We want to make sure we understand the critical factors for the successes and avoid repeating our mistakes.

3. Provide an honest assessment of needed improvements

We are never finished as individuals, or as a company trying to get better. Each member of the Building Engines team has to completely buy into that. That means we discuss specific areas needing improvement in the coming year, and mutually agree on a plan to get there. When you enable employee contribution to that plan, it helps make everyone feel accountable for achieving it.

4. Provide an opportunity for reverse feedback

We check all egos at the door here, including my own. I need my team to critique what I need to do better and how I can support them more effectively. If you think enough of someone to have them on your team, I believe it’s important they know they have a voice and their opinion is valued.

We have had a great year at Building Engines in spite of the difficult economy. One of the biggest factors in our success is that we take the time for an end of year reflection, and to contemplate, talk, and plan. We are all certainly very busy with all of the other holiday-related activities. But there is generally enough of a slow-down that we have the opportunity to do this, and we take advantage of it. We always begin the New Year with a refreshed sense of hope and optimism by doing so.

I want to wish all of you a very joyous holiday season and best wishes for a happy New Year!

If you’d like to assess the state of the CRE industry today—and gain insights for the year ahead—download Building Engines’ new report: The State of Commercial Real Estate Building Operations for 2022.