Year in Review - An Annual Retro


A study* reported that employees who spent 15 minutes at the end of the day reflecting about lessons learned performed 23% better after 10 days than those who did not reflect. Performing an annual reflection has similar results, ensuring you look at past performance holistically to create a solid action plan going forward.

When to use this activity

The holidays in the December time period are ideal for this. Things slow down, you celebrate your achievements as a team, and you want to make sure you come back in January focused on the future instead of reflecting on the past.

This activity can also be done at the end of the fiscal year if your business runs on that schedule.

How does it work?

You can either do this individually, as a group or paste the template multiple times on a board and have each person fill it out individually and then compare. There are four main sections to complete:

1. Experience: Moving an emoji representing happiness, sadness, anger, or fear into each season. It should demonstrate the dominant emotion you felt through that time period.

2. Accomplishments: What are the main highlights of what you achieved individually or as a team?

3. Kudos: Who do you have to thank for that time period? Expressing gratitude is key for planning how you can help others in the future or how you need to ask for additional help.

4. Lessons & Mistakes: Either note your failures or, ideally, what lessons you learned.

One of the seasons should be a look ahead to the future, i.e., if you are filling this out in December, take winter as future planning of what you want. This cements your lessons learned and makes sure you are evolving through this self-reflection process.

If you do this activity in a group, schedule 15-30 minutes to talk about what you learned. Make sure to ask clarifying questions to your colleagues, so you understand their intentions. It will help you grow together as a team and create a clear path ahead.

*Study: HBR

Why You Should Make Time for Self-Reflection (Even If You Hate Doing It) by Jennifer Porter:


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The Infinite Loops
Team Leader and Coach@Kristina Damschen Spina
Resources that will provide your team with endless loops of improvements. Collaborate better, and grow as individuals together.
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