Team reviews and personal goals

Over the past few weeks we’ve been holding our quarterly team reviews at Grain Creative. Though the channels of communication are always open at Grain, it’s good to take the time to focus on each person and make sure everyone is happy. There are always points that come up that probably wouldn’t have otherwise – just by taking a half-hour or so to step back and ask some questions which rise above the day-to-day of getting tasks done.

The review is with the Grain team member, Christoph and me. We ask for general feedback from him or her first and then move on to any specific topics. This time around, partly inspired by a recent meeting with our ‘non non-executive director’ (a strategic advisor) and partly because of this blog prompting me to reflect about work life balance all the time, we focused on personal goals and what inspires everyone on the team.

They don’t have to share all of their personal goals with us. We don’t want to find out that someone wants to have 10 kids, or that their real aspiration is to raise geckos. We asked everyone to take time to set out what their goals are, just for themselves. Our recently achieved goal was to take a long trip to Mexico with the kids over the past summer – and upon arriving back to London I saw this entire Tube train decorated by the Mexico tourism board in Monarch butterflies!

We are already acting on one of the topics which arose: presentation and speaking skills, by organising a workshop just for Grain like the one I mentioned in a previous post.

Asking what inspires everyone was interesting…anything from courses and degrees to having free time and exercising all have their part to play. For me, simply getting enough sleep is vital in maintaining happy brain cells and keeping a sense of humour. I imagine that sleep is a common aim (mirage? nirvana?) for many working parents.

One Grainer surprised me by having all personal goals already mapped out (10 years, 5 years and yearly) with many specific points already ticked. Talk about SMART! (Specific, measured, attainable, realistic and timely.)

Without having specific goals, the bigger things like taking a long trip or working 4 days per week instead of 5 don’t tend to happen by themselves. Or if an unexpected opportunity presents itself it’s hard to decide if it fits in with what you’re doing.

It was refreshing to turn the reviews on their heads: instead of asking how the team can help Grain, we focused on how Grain can help the team personally flourish.

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