And once again, in what feels like a long and somewhat stressful blink, 2023 is almost at an end.  The increased pace, expectations and challenges we all face have taken their toll.  Everyone is feeling weary.  I hope that you are also feeling satisfied as, despite the difficulties, it has been a year of growth. 

Donna McCallum (one of my mentors) has always reminded me of how important it is to reflect on the year that has passed so that the good, the bad and the ugly can be acknowledged and lessons learnt.  This supports each of us to make the best possible start to the New Year. 

I’d like to share my insights from the reflection process for RainTree.  I trust this will be valuable for you to apply to yourself, your team, and your business. 

The first area to reflect on is what there is to celebrate and acknowledge as successes

In 2023, RainTree has worked with incredible companies and leaders that value their people, acknowledge the contribution they make and are willing to invest in them.  In a world where there is so much commoditisation of the “human resource”, we celebrate that we are partnering with companies that truly care.  We have done more group and individual coaching than planned.  Our clients have inspired us with their courage and powerful insight.  At RainTree we honour our clients’ successes and achievements they realised through their coaching.  We respect their willingness to dig deep, do the work and live the statement “the only person I have the power to change is me”. 

We also worked closely with Kevin Britz and explored the W.I.N.G.S.  This journey has deepened our understanding of the future world of work and how this can and will impact business.  It has also helped us to recognise the value of the coaching we provide as it supports our clients to dig deeper into their unique human talents.  These are what will keep them relevant and thriving in our changing world. 

As we reflect on 2023, we also acknowledge the difficulties faced and appreciate the lessons learnt.  These havemade us a better business, team of coaches and partner to our clients.

Anyone who has worked in a business partnership will know it can be like a marriage.  As we reflect on 2023, I would like to acknowledge both Leoni and I for our increased willingness to have honest and vulnerable conversations about difficult subjects.  Each one of these has been terrifying. Conflict is never easy or “nice”. But it brought the necessary changes that made the business and our partnership even stronger.  We are now seeing the benefit as the business has scaled and we have improved our ability to deliver.

As with all businesses, we have also made mistakes. We have been forced to take a step back, look at how we are doing things and learn from our mistakes.  The art of not taking feedback personally has been very real to each member of the RainTree Team.  We have had to get fit at feedback and critical thinking.  Not always an easy road to travel.  Reflecting on the year though, by accepting the feedback, learning from it and making the necessary changes, we are wiser, healthier and excited about what 2024 brings.

Finally, we reflect on what we want to take with us from 2023 into 2024.  Most noticeably, we choose to take you, our clients, friends, supporters, coaches, and partners with us into 2024.  We take the humility to learn from our mistakes.  We take the courage to lovingly work through conflict.  We take learning and growth, formally and informally, as that helps us to remain interesting, insightful and empathetic as coaches and business leaders.  We take each other as RainTree is a collaboration that is partnering with likeminded leaders to lift business to achieve its true, human possibility.   

Here are the four questions you can use to take yourself, your team and your business through to close off 2023:

  1. List your 2023 successes and celebrations?
  2. List what didn’t work in 2023?
  3. List the lessons and/or gifts that came from what didn’t work?
  4. What are you taking from 2023 into 2024?

Thank you for 2023.  With its good, bad and ugly.  We are stronger for it. 

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