How to Maximize Life’s Rhythm While Setting Goals

Goal setting conversations are best held after the holidays. December is a month of endings; January beginnings.

It’s difficult to dream about new things when you’re wrapping up old.

Go with the natural rhythm of life. Shift end of year goal setting conversations to January. During the holidays, you naturally look back. Around New Years, you instinctively turn forward.

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Capitalize on natural instincts to focus on the future in January. Invite your team for one-on-ones.


  1. Think strategically and individually.
  2. Craft short open questions.
  3. Avoid either/or and yes/no questions.
  4. Send questions ahead of time.
  5. Prepare for relationship. One-on-ones often focus on process, procedure, and results, while neglecting relationships.
  6. Don’t think of this conversation as an annual review.

20 questions:

  1. What’s working for you?
  2. What do we need to keep doing because it works?
  3. What could be better?
  4. What might we stop doing?
  5. Where are you best using your talents?
  6. Where is the organizational energy?
  7. What suggestions do you have for yourself? (Focus on the future.)
  8. What suggestions do you have for me?
  9. How might I help you be more successful?
  10. How might you help me?
  11. How are you leveraging your strengths?
  12. Where are we going as an organization?
  13. Where are you going?
  14. What are you doing well? What are we doing well?
  15. What is success for you?
  16. What is success for our organization?
  17. What’s next for our organization? Think of something that could be started in the next thirty days.
  18. What’s next for you? Think short-term.
  19. Where is your greatest development opportunity?
  20. Where is my greatest development opportunity?

Bonus: What question would you like me to ask?


I’m going through a round of “New Year Meetings” with leaders and key players on my team.

The meetings will be both personal and strategic. I’d like to ask the same set of questions for all participants.

Which five or six questions do you find most useful? Why?

What questions would you suggest?

**Thanks to Facebook friends for your suggestions. Tomorrow’s post will answer the things that make one-on-one’s go badly.

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