What to Include in Your Year-End Business ChecklistBefore you ring in the New Year, now is the time to get your office in order and get your business in line to reach your goals.

“As leaders, we often move from one year to the next with little or no time spent reviewing the year just past from a purely leadership perspective,” says Inc. contributor, Les McKeown.

Year-End Checklist for Business Leaders

To help counter that, he offers a year end checklist for business leaders.

Understand and Manage the Narrative

McKeown says there are four narratives every business ends the year with:

  1. We blew it.
  2. We nailed it.
  3. Our customer service team let us down.
  4. The first three quarters sucked, but the fourth wasn't too bad.

As a leader, you need to know what narrative your team has taken and manage it. It isn't about manipulating what people think. Great leaders help them understand the importance of it.

Tie Up Loose Ends

The end of the year is the perfect time to tie up any loose ends. December is a busy month, so be sure to set aside time to address your obligations.

Reassess Activities

McKeown suggests leaders ask for nominations of less-than-useful activities from your team and get rid of those that yield no ongoing benefit. Look at outdated practices, policies that no longer work, routines that get in the way, or meetings that don’t have a purpose.


Take some time to think about anything you've lost as a team. It could be a sense of fun, energy, enthusiasm, or maybe you’re short on perspective. Whatever it is, find ways to replenish it because you don’t want to start a new year with something missing. “When you've identified which is missing or has run down to dangerously low levels, think through how to restock in the next 30 days,” says McKeown. It could be anything from a holiday retreat to a conference to rest.

Don’t Forget About Yourself

Take a look at how you have changed as a leader throughout the year. McKeown suggests leaders create two columns: A column of your defining characteristics at the start of the year and a column of your defining characteristics at the end of the year. Identify which characteristics helped your team and which caused trouble.

“When you've decided, ask your team members if they agree—you may be surprised by how differently they view which characteristics are your strong points and which are weaknesses,” McKeown says.

The end of the year is a time to step back from day-to-day operations and make time to cross a few items off your to-do list before the New Year starts. Great leaders know how to make sure their employees are happy and ready to move forward.

What is on your year-end checklist?