Every month, project management expert, Elizabeth Harrin, fields readers’ questions about the challenges, risks, and rewards of project work on the LiquidPlanner blog. This selection is used with permission.

Dear Elizabeth:

It’s that time of year again—reviewing the year gone by and preparing for the New Year’s goals and commitments. I could use some new ideas to get myself and my team excited about reviewing what they’ve accomplished and using that to set up some goals they’re excited about. Any tips? – Goaltender

Dear Goaltender:

First, congratulations on caring enough about your team that you want them to be excited about the coming year and what they’ve achieved. Far too many people in your situation see end-of-year reviews as a bureaucratic process to get through before they leave for the holidays. So, kudos to you!

I find that team members have short memories and will often only bring to the table things that they have achieved in the last few months. You could give them a template that says things like:

  • In March I achieved . . .
  • In April I delighted this customer . . .

And so on. Ask them to go through their project plans, notebooks, and emails to find the examples if they don’t immediately spring to mind. There are a ton of achievements stored in their project management software so they will be able to find something, I promise.

As for [the upcoming year], you could think forward and ask them to imagine what their end of year review would look like. What do they hope they have achieved? What projects would they like to have worked on, or what skills would they have developed? This can help build a sense of interest in the coming year.

Finally, use the end of year conversations with your team to share with them as much as you can about the wider business plans. People are inspired when they know they are part of a company that is going somewhere. Talk about the plans you have for new clients and new projects and business developments. Show them what they could be part of over the next 12 months.