The deal is done. You’ve bought or sold a property and taken another step toward your legacy wealth goal. You’re tempted to celebrate a little and then move on to the rest of your life. That’s natural. But you’ll become a better investor if you review your investment process to identify what you did well and what you can do better next time.
Management gurus Peter Drucker, Warren Bennis, and many others suggest we should review our actions and results to improve our performance. Many businesses have a formal project review procedure. The military does this after every important operation. They call the process an “After-Action Review.” I call it a “Process Review.” The goal is to review the sale or purchase you recently completed and squeeze out the lessons that will make you a better investor.
Why a “Process Review?”
The goal is to learn how to do better next time. The outcome of the process is relevant, but it’s not the most important thing. Luck may have intervened to change the outcome. In investing, like life, you sometimes do everything right and get a bad outcome. Other times you do lots of things wrong, and the outcomes are fine.
You’ll learn and grow more when you analyze what you did and why, regardless of the outcome. Look for lessons about what to do differently next time.
Questions to Ask
There’s no “right” way to conduct a process review. Every situation is different. Reviewing the process of buying a piece of investment property will be different from the process review a business conducts following a new product launch. Don’t worry about doing it the “right” way. Ask a lot of questions. Here are a few to get you started.
If we had it to do over, what would we do differently? This is a good general question and a good way to start your review.
How well did we identify an array of options? The best decision processes consider multiple options.
Would we change the way we analyze options? Analyze the time you spent and the techniques you used.
How did we handle negotiating challenges? You can usually improve how you negotiate.
What did we do well? We want to do these things well next time.
What should we stop doing?
What should we improve? How?
Top performers in all fields are constantly reviewing their performance to identify ways to improve. Have you used a process like this one? How did it work for you?
Terry Moore, CCIM, is the author of Building Legacy Wealth: How to Build Wealth and Live a Life Worth Imitating. Read his “Welcome to My Blog.”