Friday Reflection – Identify Three Things Going Well and Three Things to Improve (Day 6 of 30 Days of Getting Results)


Day 6 - Friday Reflection

“I’ve found that small wins, small projects, small differences often make huge differences.” —  Rosabeth Moss Kanter

Your Outcome: Celebrate your wins and find your personal success patterns.  Learn a simple way to practice your attitude of gratitude while growing your ability to get meaningful results.

Welcome to day 6 of 30 Days of Getting Results.  In day 5, we created a simple map of what’s going on in our life so that we could improve our focus and invest our time and energy more effectively.  Today, we reflect on our past week.  I call this practice Friday Reflection.  It’s part of the Monday vision, Daily Vision, Friday Reflection pattern from my book, Getting Results the Agile Way.

Friday Reflection is a simple but powerful practice.  For Friday Reflection, simply think about your past week and identify three things going well and three things to improve. It’s a chance to celebrate your wins, no matter how small.  It’s also a chance to figure out what’s not working for you.  Whatever you learn, you can carry forward into the next week, and use this to continuously improve your results each week.   It’s a snowball of success.

3 Steps to Friday Reflection
Here are three simple steps to perform your Friday Reflection:

  • Step 1. Ask yourself, what are three things going well? The key here is to look at your approach.  You can’t always control your results.  Instead, focus on whether you made smart plays based on what you wanted to accomplish.  Pat yourself on the back for making your best moves, independent of the results.  No matter how good a baseball team is, you win some, you lose some.  The best you can do is play your best.  Where you made smart moves, pay attention to why it worked and how you can use it in the future.
  • Step 2. Ask yourself, what are three things to improve? This is the tough question, but it’s important to own it, and look at it objectively.  Once you put it down on paper, you don’t need to over-analyze it.  You simply need to see if you can identify the root cause, but then more importantly, identify some specific ways to improve.  Brainstorm here and let your imagination run wild.  The key is to quickly shift to “how” questions, don’t keep asking “why?”  For example, “How can I be more effective in that situation? … or “How can I be more resourceful when that happens again?” … or “How can I prevent that from happening in the first place?”
  • Step 3. Identify what you’ll change next week.   You’ll likely come up with a laundry list of simple things you can test to improve your results.  Just pick a few you really care about and add them to your bag of tricks.  Rather than over-analyze your ideas, just write down a few things that you can test next week and get feedback on.  The idea is to learn and improve, not beat yourself up, or wallow in pity.

I recommend adding a reminder to your calendar and blocking off time for it.  If you don’t, it’s easy to forget to do it.  If you schedule it, it will happen, and it’s one of the simplest ways to improve your results every week.

Example of Friday Reflection
Here is a quick example of my Friday Reflection:

3 Things Going Well …

  1. I got great feedback from a lot of people inside and outside of Microsoft how 30 Days of Getting Results is helping them achieve more meaningful results.
  2. I added key people to my network at Microsoft that have very effective ways of getting results.
  3. I effectively anticipated just about every possible surprise this week and had a fallback plan.

3 Things to Improve …

  1. I had the wrong lens, model, and map for looking at a few scenarios, which limited my effectiveness.
  2. I didn’t checkpoint a few of my key assumptions with the right people as early as I could have.
  3. I didn’t reset expectations appropriately in a few cases, which would have saved me some extra work and backtracking.

As far as a few things I’ll change next week, I’ll be asking a lot more pointed questions next week regarding people’s their model and their map.    I’ve been quick to expose my thinking and vision, but now I’ll be testing other people’s assumptions, their operating models, their vision, their timeframes, and gaining clarity on understanding how they test their success or what their rules are for what good looks like.  It should be interesting.  I’ll also be studying up against on effective argumentation as well as rhetoric (the art of arguing without anger.)

Why Friday Reflection
This is the perfect opportunity to take a look at the patterns in your week.  If you’re not achieving what you set out to do for the week, why not?  Are you biting off more than you can chew?  Are you letting other things get in the way?  Are you figuring out the right things to get done?  Are you making the right trade offs?   As you pay attention to these patterns, you’ll find you will improve your ability to anticipate, you’ll get a better handle on your capacity, and you’ll improve your ability to focus, prioritize, and achieve the results you want, while responding to things with skill, instead of reacting.

Aside from naturally improving your ability to get results, you’ll also improve your outlook.  Too many people look at only the upside or the downside of their week.  Looking at three things going well and three things to improve gives you a more balanced view, and your wins will build momentum, while your lessons learned will support you in all areas of your life.

Today’s Assignment

  1. Schedule a recurring 20 minute appointment with yourself for Friday’s for reflection on your results.  I recommend making this something you do earlier in the AM versus later in the day.  Your clarity will serve you for the rest of the day and start you off on the right foot.
  2. Identify your three things going well and your three things to improve.  Celebrate those wins!

My Related Posts

Photo by jcoterhals.


  1. I like that you bring in a positive aspect to improving our results. Sometimes we get too focused on results and not enough on how we feel.

    With that being said we need to be honest with ourselves and figure out what we need to improve within ourselves. We have to decide what we don’t want to fix and focus on the skills that are going to give us the biggest bang for our buck.

    Even being the Work Happy Guy I lose focus on what is important. Your 30 day challenge has been perfect for me.

  2. JD, First I wanted to say that this is such a great idea that you are blog-walking us through your book and helping us understand how it works. I think it makes it much more effective and proves great for providing feedback that will hopefully benefit you also in your project.

    here are my results from your challenge on Day 6:

    3 things going well for me
    *less doing, more being, more calm and satisfaction in my life
    *recognizing that when I am comforting and nourishing myself and others, I am in my strengths zone
    *writing clearly, and without guilt each day for my project – 5th day in a row. I moved my creative space so that I could have privacy and better flow.

    3 things to improve
    *find my balance and rein in my emotions to my center core for emotional clarity.
    *responding out of fear takes me out of my strength zone, even if it is desiring to protect someone, it actually hurts them to feel I am trying to fix them.
    *learn to listen more, and empty out to create more spaciousness in my life and create more quality relationships.

    3 Identify what things I’ll change next week
    Become more transparent with others, speak of the heart *while showing compassion and understanding.
    Less talk, more being and making space in my life for the spirit qualities I most desire.
    Imagery: Letting my thoughts flow like a waterfall, rushing by me, and standing behind the falls, enjoying the refreshing view. Remaining meditative.

    Wishing you a relaxing weekend! 😉

  3. p.s. Karl also made me think in what he shared here:
    *I like that you bring in a positive aspect to improving our results. Sometimes we get too focused on results and not enough on how we feel.

    I tend to feel too much in that it is easy to speak less clearly then.. So, I am learning to gain *emotional clarity and speak from the heart to hopefully bypass the extra jargon. Emotions can be a strength, but not if we take every path for each emotion felt, it is exhausting and leaves little left to share with the world. I also tend to get discouraged if the results are not coming in.

    Which is why I also agree that your positive focus on what we can improve and gently align each week, certainly helps! 😉 This gently reels in the emotional scale and encourages growth which helps results!

    thanks JD, you are definitely in your strengths zone!

  4. Jenn’s results from Day 6 shows how clearly this model can be applied to any aspects of living from work to enhancing being. Jenn, I really appreciate the results that you shared. J. D. I also love the specific examples you included in your blog post.

  5. @ Karl — Thank you. I learned early on that improvement is a process, and that natural talent only goes so far. Success and excellence often look like magic, but behinds the scenes, it’s usually a lot of practice. It’s a path.

    @ Jenn — Thank you. I bet moving your creative space made a big difference. I always need to make space both in terms of time and space — I need a buffer in time, and I actually need a quiet, relaxing workspace for my best creative flow.

    We all lift each other up, when we share our strengths … and when we give our best where we got our best to give (I’m in my element when I’m helping people get results.)

    @ Sandra — Thank you. Yes, Jenn’s results and examples really help show how to use the model in a practical way.

    @ Farouk –Thank you. The nice thing is it scales up and down — it’s both the lazy learners way to continuous improvement, and it’s the continuous learners way to turn insight into results on a regular basis, and keep a balanced mindset.

  6. Hi JD .. I look forward to following your ideas through – but can definitely see the logic in their progress, actions and reviews ..

    The time will come .. have a great week – Hilary

  7. @ Hilary — I think I need to create a small video to show how this stuff fits together. While I think sharing the pieces is effective, I think when folks see it end-to-end it will create a lot of “ah-has.”

  8. Hi JD .. that sounds like an excellent addition to your blog .. and I’m sure if we see your vision in action – then it will make a lot more sense to everyone.

    Great – something to look forward to .. Hilary

  9. I just did the exercise and I really love it.

    I won’t list everything I wrote by hand as it’s extra work that’s a bit unneeded.

    However, I can say that I think the Friday Reflection is powerful for a few reasons.

    1. I think it helps us to reinforce good behavior in ourselves.

    2. It helps us focus on fixing problems that we might otherwise forget about or put aside.

    So far what I’ve learned this week has helpd to really charge up my motivation. Looking forward to more.

  10. @ Rodney — It sounds like things really clicked for you. Those are the two keys … shining the spotlight on the good stuff, and surfacing some areas for improvement. The beauty is it’s personal reflection which means it’s by you and for you.

    It’s like compound interest too. Each week you whittle a little more and hone what works for you.

  11. My Friday Reflection exercise had things that are 1) going well and 2) to be improved, but not 3) to be changed. I don’t know how I missed it all this time… I will work on it going forward. Indeed, “improvement is a process.”

    One of my weekly goals for this week is to reduce or find one friction a day. I have made a friction analysis sheet a while ago, but it was just messy – tons of random entries, relevant notes, and good solution ideas). At least they were categorized somewhat. I will review the friction analysis sheet and pick one thing a day to meditate this week. I will continue to do this next week as well if it makes sense. This should be a piece of yummy cake 🙂

    The main theme of this week is efficiency. I pick a few inspirational quotes each day as a reminder of my weekly theme… The quote of the day is “Efficiency is intelligent laziness.” I thought you might like this one! As we know ourselves, we know how to “scale up or down” to see “continuous improvement” as we wish.

    I appreciate your insightful reply for my comment on Day 5. I liked your comment that 1) visualization from meditation/manifestation/setting goals is a powerful recipe for significant results, 2) investing and reinvesting for things that matters more, and 3) Not Hot Spot is an island.

    • > “Efficiency is intelligent laziness.” I thought you might like this one!
      I do like it!

      It’s amazing how far a little “think time” can take us, if we focus on little changes that we execute.

      My Friday Reflection has actually become a ritual that I look forward to, much like working out. When I do it well, it’s my main technique for exponentially improving my results on a consistent basis.

      The most important thing I did long ago was make it an actual appointment on my calendar, both so I made time for it, and to officially acknowledge how important it is to helping me get better results in work and life.

      When I learned to make it a Friday thing, it really took on a new life. It gave me more meaning on my Friday, and it helped put a nice cap on my work week. Sure work spills over now and then, but for the most part, Friday is a great chance to look back at what happened, before heading into the weekend.

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