The turn of the year is always a great opportunity to inquire. What went well last year? What does it make sense to do differently next year?
Because reflective practice is such a big piece of who I am personally and professionally, I have decided to make my annual report this year more than a mere collection of meaningful visuals.
I'm delighted to share the major questions that I posed to myself, and what I discovered when I looked back on all the data I collected over the year...
How did business in 2016 compare to 2015?
Considering that for the majority of the year, I only worked part-time in my business, I was delighted to see that I still worked with a good number of clients - and provided graphic recording for more of them.
The number of projects I worked on (shown above) was actually similar. It surprised me a bit to see that graphic recording is becoming the primary service that I offer.
How did I spend my time?
I think of time as my most limited resource, so it is important to me that I thoughtfully consider how I am using it.
The time I spent generating business was considerable, almost one-third (see graph to left above).
Out of all of the time I spent on my business (graph in center), only about one-third was spent on client work. Almost half of the time was spent on communications of some kind, including creating content like my ebook.
When it comes to communications, about half of my time was spent in real-time conversation and the other half was spent in virtual avenues (graph to right).
How did things change over the course of the year? What were my bold moves and big lessons?
Like all of life, business moves in cycles. This year I took some considerable leaps: writing an ebook, redesigning my website, applying for grants, and offering new services including more speaking and training.
Overall, I learned an incredible amount in 2016. The most significant lessons gave me a much different perspective on my work.
My approach is distinct because I believe that the creative process offers unique opportunities to address root causes. For example, by producing this annual report with the intent to answer certain questions honestly, I feel more prepared to make 2017 even better.
Creative products (like reports, presentations and websites) may well treat symptoms of miscommunication and disconnection, but they can also lead to unpleasant side effects if not produced thoughtfully.
As a result of facing some of this unpleasantness myself in 2016, I am more committed than ever to spend my time this year serving myself and others with the careful attention that we all deserve.
Speaking of which, your organization's goals for this year, whether they be to
- engage your stakeholders more effectively
- influence decision makers
- and/or connect with a wider audience
will require you to ask questions like:
- What are better ways to tell and share our story?
- How can we use data and reporting more strategically?
- How can we best support our team in learning and creating new solutions?
I'd love to assist you as you seek the answer to these questions and more.
Here's to a new year full of clarity and connection!
Check out these related articles:
- The risks of poor communication in collaboratives
- Do's and don'ts for using visuals during group meetings
- Using storytelling to advance your organization's mission
- 9 nonprofit marketing must-haves
- The power - and responsibility - of expertise
- Best practices for communicating with Spanish speakers
- "Hiding" in your communications: When it's harmful and When it's helpful