It’s that time of year again, time to look back reflecting on what last year brought us and time to look forward and plan for the unknown future. Time to be grateful that we are still here to experience and enjoy life, time to carry out the Annual Review.
In the Lean/Continuous Improvement world we carry out ‘Hansei’ which is Japanese (反射) for ‘Self-Reflection’. Hansei allows us to review goals (personal and professional) and reflect on how they went to see what worked so we can build on the successes and see what didn’t work so we can adjust and change direction.
I have been carrying out a ‘Hansei’ or Annual Review for many years now and find it hard to believe this is the 5th year I have published this review online. Time really does go very fast! See Annual Reviews from past years below,
Annual Review 2013 Annual Review 2014 Annual Review 2015 Annual Review 2016
As always Mike, my family and my friends are my reason for everything. By far the most exciting thing that happened to my family this year was my younger brother Declan and his beautiful wife Aoife welcomed my gorgeous niece Ayla Danaher to the world, a wonderful addition to our ever-growing family.
Here goes, in no particular order, my Annual Review for 2017.
2017 was a big year for me in the world of Lean. I continue to work for and enjoy my role with daa. This year saw us implement Hoshin Kanri (Lean Strategy Deployment) for the first time which brought new learnings every day in terms of our Lean journey.
For my personal goals it was also the first year I used the principles and structures of Hoshin Kanri to set and monitor goals and objectives. In terms of planning, organising and changing direction when required this brought the process of goal setting to a whole new level.
One of my goals was to share information and learnings from the world of Lean. I did this by designing, creating and launching my new website ‘‘The Art Of Positive Change’ in March. This took way longer than I had anticipated but it was worth the wait as I now have somewhere dedicated to sharing information on Lean, Simplicity and Positive Change and the immense benefits they bring to our businesses and personal lives.
Another goal was to write and publish a blog post a week (52 in total). I didn’t reach this, completely underestimating how much time it takes to create blog posts and edit them. I did manage to publish 24 blog posts which is more than I have published in any previous year. So while I didn’t reach my goal I’m definitely improving in this space.
Also in March I started working with the brilliant cartoonist Andy Kefford creating a new character called Pinky, aptly named by my 7 year old niece Miah. Pinky is the star of my 26 part blog post series ‘The A-Z of Effective Change’. You can view all of the published blog posts here.
The Complete A-Z of Effective Change
This year I was reminded how much I love Travel Photography and so I will be working more on this in 2018. If you are new to my work you can view my Travel Photography images here on my website ‘www.siodanphoto.com’ and read my Travel Photography blog posts on my blog ‘The Photographer’s Guide To Travel’.
In terms of travel near and far, Mike and I enjoyed weekends away in Edinburgh, Killarney and Kilkenny, my parents and I spent a few days in London and later in the year my Mom and I spent 10 days in the amazing city of Dubai. Earlier in the year I dusted off my skiing skills and joined one of my best mates Karin Hennessy for a few days skiing in fabulous Pila in the Italian Alps.
Following a trip to Abu Dhabi with Mike in 2016 I created and published my 8th Travel Photography book ‘The Photographer’s Guide To Abu Dhabi’ in September complimenting the blog post I wrote on this beautiful city ‘The Top 5 things To Do in Abu Dhabi’.
I worked with some of my family and friends on photo shoots this year which I enjoyed immensely. It’s always a joy to shoot images of family and friends,
My Travel Photography Fine Art prints and my Fine Art Catalogue are now displayed at my friend Michelle Quilty’s newly opened business, The Tea Cosy in Ardpatrick. This makes me very proud and gives me itchy feet to do more Travel Photography exhibitions – watch this space!
Social media continues to provide a steep learning curve for me that twists and turns at an exponential rate.
I have been using social media for online marketing for many years, however 2017 was the first year I created a social media strategy as part of Hoshin Kanri (Lean Strategy Deployment). This allowed me to focus on clear goals and objectives and ensured I tracked the correct metrics and used these metrics to change direction when required.
Just like the world of Lean and Continuous Improvement, the only way to definitively know if you are improving is to have ‘fact based’ metrics. I currently track 13 metrics across 9 social media platforms. Each one of these metrics increased in 2017 which means I’m moving in the right direction!!! In saying that, growth is slow – slow but steady!
Tracking and evaluating metrics may sound like a lot of work but just like metrics in business, when you get used to setting, tracking and using valuable information from the metrics, they can become quiet addictive and it really is the only way to measure improvement accurately!
If you’re not using metrics to measure performance in your business maybe 2018 is the year that you start, they really are a game changer!
Throughout most of 2017 I continued to post daily inspirational quotes to various social media platforms which helped me learn more about posting, scheduling and outsourcing on social media.
Like most things in life, the more I learn about social media and online marketing the more I realise I don’t know. Social media changes each and every day and so there is always much to learn.
In terms of health I welcomed 2017 with open arms as 2016 saw my Dad go through his second heart surgery. As I wrote in my annual review last year – there is no greater pain than watching someone you love and adore battling an illness. My Dad’s surgery and subsequent recovery has made me intensely aware of and grateful for every breath I take and every day my family and I spend illness free.
I take both my physical and mental health very seriously as I firmly believe the popular Irish saying ‘your health is your wealth’.
Knowing what nurtures my mental health and knowing what challenges it allows me to make decisions to protect it.
To keep my mind and spirit active and healthy I read as much as I can (see my Top 10 Books of 2017 here), meditate (not as much as I would like) and journal (again not as much as I would like).
I try to eat healthy but do have a rubber arm that can be twisted quiet easily when it comes to biscuits and savoury treats. Exercise has always been part of my life but I find I need to work much harder as the years go by. With this comes an immense respect for what the human body can achieve when we put the work in! This has always been a work in progress area for me and will continue to be a focus for 2018.
Every year my goals include understanding more about personal finance. In this quest, I re-read Tony Robbins book ‘Money Master the Game – 7 Simple Steps To Financial Freedom’. Tony is a master when it comes to finance and in this book he not only shares his own wisdom but also leverages the wisdom of many of the world’s finest financial advisors to share their advice, insights and experience. Tony’s book is written in an easy to understand format for all levels of wealth which is why I liked it so much.
I have always known this but 2016 made me more acutely aware that no matter how much you earn or how much is in your bank account it doesn’t make you happy, make you a good person or heal you when you are ill and I continued to be very aware of th throughout 2017.
Just like my social media stats I monitored income, spending and savings much more than I have done in any previous years. Like many people I am not what you would call ‘good with money’ and I need to work much harder on this than I had previously anticipated.
It’s nice to give back. I have been supporting various charities for many years and year on year I try to give more to each charity whether this is monetary support or volunteering my time. I continued to support these charities in 2017 and also found new charities to support. This is something I will continue with and build on in 2018.
That’s it, 2017 was like most years, full of ups and downs, twists and turns.
Thank you to everyone who shares this journey with me, each and every one of you have a made a positive impact on my life. A special and heartfelt thank you to my boyfriend Mike, my family and my friends for making each year better than the last, you are the reason for it all.
May 2018 bring you health, happiness and prosperity,
x x x
Note: The system I use for my annual review is still a work in progress and evolves year on year as my own life evolves. When I first carried out my annual review I started with a template shared and used by Chris Guillebeau. If you are interested in starting your own annual review, here is Chris Guillebeau’s How To Conduct your own Annual Review. This is a great read and highlights how powerful planning and reviewing can be.
Chris’s updated annual review template can be found here – Annual Review Template, I used this initially then changed and modified it over the years. Chris is a very inspirational guy which is why I follow him on social media and I travelled all the way to Oslo a few years ago to attend his celebration of visiting every country in the world.