As the calendar year comes to an end, it’s a good time to reflect on where things stand, and to refresh your vision for success heading into the new year. The advice I would offer (and what I try do myself) is simple: question everything.

Regardless of whether you have positive momentum coming out of the year, or a clear roadmap for the next chapter, I have found it invaluable to step back and test your assumptions through a few simple questions.

I benefited from this firsthand when I stepped into the role of CEO at Intuit more than six years ago. Despite our strong track record of success, I was encouraged by my predecessor to look at the future with a fresh set of eyes. Heeding his advice, I took the opportunity to embark on a listening tour for the first 100 days. I met with our employees, our top investors, our customers, our industry peers, and our board of directors.

In my discussions, I posed three open-ended questions: 1) What is the single biggest untapped opportunity that we have not capitalized on as a company? 2) What is the single biggest risk that you worry could disrupt our future momentum if we fail to address it? 3) What is the one thing I could do to screw it all up in my first year as CEO?

What I heard was invaluable. It helped me understand current views about our company, crystallize future themes that emerged, and build shared vision with our major stakeholders whose fingerprints and voice helped shape the process. The end result was a new chapter for the company, building on the prior successes that had been accomplished.

As a father, a husband, and a son, I have found the same approach works just as well in my personal life. So while you reflect on the past year, and appreciate the accomplishments achieved, as well as the things you hope to improve as you formulate your New Year’s resolutions, you may find value in conducting your own listening tour … with family … with friends … or in your own workplace.

Have a happy New Year!

Photo source: Flickr, ed_needs_a_bicycle