Today we’re going to evaluate your goals that we marked up in the last video. We’re going to either figure out what went (or is going) right, so we can do it again – or what isn’t going well so that we can avoid it in the future. If you haven’t watched the last video in the series yet, you can find it here.
What Is a Hot Wash
One way to do evaluate your goals is to use the ‘Hot Wash’ process.
I first heard about the idea of a Hot Wash from a Manager Tool’s podcast of the same name. It can be used to improve meetings, projects, and – yes – even goals. Manager Tools defines the Hot Wash as “a process that includes a facilitated meeting, with a visual record, using brainstorming rules, designed to capture raw data which you will later synthesize into Next Project Guidance.”
Essentially, the intent of the hot wash is to simply improve, next time, on the last time. When you’re doing this normally, you decide before you start that you’re going to pay attention as you go. Look for what goes well, as well as what needs to be improved for next time.
If you’re doing this as a group or a team, the hot wash is done as a meeting that follows the general rules of brainstorming: fast is better; no judging whether a comment is right or wrong, just throw it out there. If you’re doing the Hot Wash by yourself, sitting down with a piece of paper and following the same rules works just as well.
So now that you know what a Hot Wash is, how can we use this idea to evaluate our goals?
How we can use it to evaluate our goals
Perhaps you already know what went well or what went wrong – go ahead write it down. Going forward, take notes as you’re working on a goal. Note if you have an ‘aha’ moment, whether something you want to repeat next time or something to try to avoid or do better.
However, if you’re stuck on the sorts of things to be looking at, here are some questions you can ask yourself to get yourself thinking in the right directions. You can download a PDF of this list as well.
Go ahead and pull out your goals from last week and ask the following questions about each of them, being sure to take notes somewhere:
- Did I accomplish my goal? If not, did I get really close or was I satisfied that I made significant progress so that I’ll continue working on it?
- Did I do any planning for this goal? What kind of planning did I do? How detailed was it? Did I know what outcome I was looking for?
- Did the time frame for the goal match the time period I was trying to accomplish it in? Was it easier/faster than I thought? Did I not think it would take as long as it did/is going to? Did I over/underestimate the amount of time I would need to work on the projects associated with it?
- Was this a subject I was already familiar with? Or was this completely a new topic/idea that I was tackling?
- Was I attracted to this goal? Did it excite me? Why or why not? (Was it the subject? How it was worded?)
- How much of a stretch goal was this? Was this too easy? Did I think I’d be able to do it, or did I have an inkling that it was going to be impossible from the start?
- Do I think it was:
- too specific? Any changes threw me off course so that I couldn’t recover.
- Just right? I could adapt as needed and knew what I needed to do next.
- Too general? Any time I looked at it, I didn’t know where to start or (at the extreme) what I even intended when I wrote it.
- Was I reviewing this goal regularly? Did I put it on hold (whether consciously or not) and forget about it?
- Were there any internal obstacles that kept me from moving this forward like I wanted? External obstacles? (Be specific – sure, the pandemic might have affected it, but what about the pandemic? Was it the fact that you couldn’t reach out to people to help you? Was it that it affected your time, energy, or attention?)
- Did I have any way to track how things were going? (This could be projects or tasks you’re checking off, habits you’re tracking, or any sort of measurement that lets you see how close you are to done.)
How did your goals do?
Honestly, most goals have at least a little of both ‘went well’ and ‘needs improvement’. Generally each piece of the goal – the projects that help you accomplish the goal – have their own characteristics, and you can ask the same questions of those, especially if they’re significant in size or time frame.
Let me know in the comments here or on YouTube if any of these questions brought up some interesting ‘aha’ moments for you. What would be something that you want to either repeat or avoid next time? Did you see any common threads?
We’ll be covering how to fix goals you want to keep and how to break them down in future videos, but next week we’re going to revisit this same list again and talk about how to decide if it’s time to say goodbye to a goal and, if so, how to do so.