Which means the heat is on.
No doubt you have the following clearly articulated on a spreadsheet:
• When all reconciliations will be completed and reviewed and by whom
• The date when the books are 'CLOSED' and results are 'FINAL'
• The date the auditors arrive
• The audit committee date
• Subsequent events review date
To accompany this spreadsheet, you probably also have a calendar full of review meetings.
Are you clear on how you are going to get the best out of your teams during this intense period?
If you ever needed your team to fire on all cylinders, now is the time and it's your role to activate this.
Year-end is a really intense period of time where a few things happen:
• Our people work long hours
• We work long hours
• We are constantly challenged by others (reviewers, auditors and executives)
• Things inevitably go wrong for the first time
• We roll into another month-end before the year-end is completed, thus simultaneously closing 2 sets of books
Did I say 'a few things'? I meant, a 'whole lot' happens! It is a potential pressure cooker scenario. Neuroscience shows that when put under extreme pressure, our cognitive ability reduces as does our ability to be creative and collaborative. These are not ideal conditions for what might be argued as the most critical time of year.
As a leader, this is your chance to shine.
Don't undermine the great work you've done all year creating a high performing team by ignoring all of those valuable systems you have set up to do so. Continue to use your curiosity to create better ways to get through year-end successfully. Yes, there are going to be long hours, but we know that from last year-end, the year-end before that and the year-end before that... Let this year-end be a positive learning experience for you and your teams so that what you feel subsequently is a great sense of achievement.
Ask yourself the following:
1. What do you and your team look like the day the financial statements are signed (yes, anticipate that exciting day!)?
2. How do you want your team to remember this year-end?
3. What framework are you going to use to respond to those curly questions and issues that inevitably will pop-up, so that you can stay true to your leadership style?
Capture your responses on a post-it - electronic or physical - so that they can be front of mind every morning (and evening) of year-end. Knowing the answers to these 3 questions now - before the heat is really on - will make sure you have every chance to succeed.
Have a think about what you need to plan for now, to make these happen over the coming weeks.
I'd love to hear how you're going to stay true to (or elevate!) your leadership style throughout year-end. Please share your thoughts and who knows, you may help someone else through their year-end.
PS. One last question. What was the one leadership tactic that really worked for you this year - that when implemented, your team really lifted and delivered a brilliant outcome? Make sure you do this too!