Sat at the centre of any good planning toolkit is some kind of method to both review and preview events (aka the Review/Preview Model): reviewing the past and previewing the future. Such a model is all about simplicity, focus and clarity.
Whether in the world of self-development or in the world of business strategy, it is always worthwhile looking back at what we achieved and how, as well as looking forwards, and to what.
The Review/Preview Model sits at the heart of the Check-in Strategy Journal and is used because it works. It is as simple as that. Whether looking at the whole year, the quarter, the month, the week or even the day, it makes sense to ask, “What did/didn’t work in the previous period?” and, “What are we trying to do in the next period?”. This a real back-to-basics framework; it asks basic questions like, “What is the big picture?” and, “What is it that we are actually trying to achieve?”.
The Check-in Strategy Journal is a two-part book where Part One is a triple espresso guiding the reader through designing and creating both their business and personal goals. Part Two is a journal where you map out and measure your activities and performance on a day-by-day, week-by-week and quarter-by-quarter basis. It is all about the review/preview process applied to both your business and your private life.
There are plenty of time management and similar productivity tools in existence but what makes this different is that the journaling section not only helps you map out your activities but also acts as an accountability buddy, asking how well you have performed and what you could have done better.
The Review/Preview Model appears in design/create stage for your strategy and goal-setting. It also appears at the end and start of each week, month, quarter and year. Feedback from our many users is conclusive that not everyone uses the journal every single day. No surprise there. What 90% of users do is commit to reviewing and previewing at least every month and many every week.
The review/preview that seems to give the biggest bang for the buck is the monthly one. It gets used as part of organisational planning or it gets used as part of monthly coaching and mentoring programs. Because of the one-month gap, recent events are fresh enough and future events are about to happen. This monthly focus session seems to be at the right interval for most people.
Personally, I find the weekly review/preview session to be the most valuable. It ensures I am up to speed on my big goals as well as the steps on the way. It gets me to examine that I am using my time as effectively as possible. It keeps me focused and yet aware of what the week ahead has to bring. Horses for courses…
Running the ‘One Thing’ questioning through the review/preview process adds even more effectiveness to the process. We ask the question, “What is the one thing you could do that would make everything else less necessary or unnecessary?”. We ask these questions at each of the review/previews (weekly, quarterly, annually). The ‘One Thing’ question presupposes that you know what the big goal is hence the Part One triple espresso drilling down on what success really looks like.
To summarise, the review/preview methodology gets tremendous buy-in. In other words, it hits the nail on the head. It gets you to think about what you’ve done and what you are going to do. It gets you to think about what has and has not worked and why. As a result, it makes you plan more carefully in the coming time period. The result is a better outcome. Who wouldn’t want more of that?