9 Templates to Set Your Team up for Success in the New Year

Written by 
Brianna Hansen
 and 
  —  
January 19, 2023

We’re three weeks into 2023, and the future is bright. It’s that time of year when the calendar is still mostly blank, and we have the opportunity to decide how we’ll fill it. Right now, most teams are focused on planning and kicking off new initiatives. What’s coming in the new year? What do our objectives look like? What resources do we need to reach our goals?

However, it’s just as important for teams to look back as it is to look forward. After all, how can you effectively plan without first understanding what is and isn’t working?

To make this huge task slightly less scary, we’ve rounded up some helpful, free templates to kick off your planning and assist you in reflecting on and celebrating all that you accomplished in 2022. The new year may already be upon us, but it’s not too late to reflect, plan, and set the stage for a successful 2023.

Templates for reflecting

An organized and thorough retrospective is the best way to ensure its success. Teams that conduct structured retrospectives find them to be 25% more effective. Huzzah!

 Some questions you should consider discussing with your team include:

  • What went really well this year? 
  • What didn’t go as expected this year?
  • Where did we need more support?
  • What tools proved indispensable to us? 

Useful retrospective templates

I Like, I Wish, I Wonder template

This template will help your team reflect on what they liked about past projects and what they wish to apply to future ones. This “cozy” edition of the classic exercise is designed to help you create psychological safety, synthesize feedback, and record action items to keep the momentum going.

Use it when you want to:

  • Create a sense of psychological safety before discussing potentially challenging topics
  • Understand what’s working and what’s not
  • Brainstorm ways to improve in the future
  • Synthesize and visualize your team’s ideas
I like, I wish, I wonder template
Get the I Like, I Wish, I Wonder retrospective template.

Traffic Light Retrospective template

The traffic light retrospective, also called start-stop-continue, is a simple technique that gives teams and individuals an opportunity to review the way they work. It asks participants to consider what processes and activities the team should stop doing, start doing, and continue doing in the new year.

This template provides your team with the space to evaluate what is currently going well, what can be improved, and what they’re hoping to do in the future. It encourages engagement through fun reactions and a way to gauge your team’s mindset during the exercise

Use it when you want to:

  • Revamp a process
  • Brainstorm ways to improve teamwork
  • Discuss individual performance with your manager or direct reports
Traffic light retrospective template
Get the Traffic Light Retrospective template.
Related: End-of-Year Retrospectives: Better Projects for the New Year

Templates for celebrating

Hey! You! Your team worked hard last year. They deserve to party. And just because 2022 is over doesn’t mean it’s too late to celebrate. December is a big month for holidays, vacations, and scrambling to close out the year — so if you didn’t have a chance to celebrate with your team, now is the perfect time.

Unfortunately, hybrid work has made it challenging to pop champagne with colleagues, but there are plenty of ways you can celebrate virtually! Sending a nice gift, a thank you card, or even a shoutout in a meeting or on Slack can give your team the warm fuzzies.

Useful celebration templates

Kudos Wall template

It's essential to regularly recognize and celebrate everything the team has achieved and show gratitude (or kudos) to our colleagues. In this template, you will find kudos cards you can use to write complimentary notes to and with your team. Then, you can place the notes on the kudos wall to show off team members’ appreciation for one another.

Use it when you want to:

  • Build team camaraderie
  • Celebrate your wins
  • Give recognition to team members who go above and beyond
Kudos wall template
Get the Kudos Wall celebration template.

Team Feast template

🚨 WARNING! 🚨 This template will make you hungry! Gather around the team table in this fun icebreaker exercise where members can take turns sharing upcoming holiday celebrations and favorite culinary traditions. Mangiamo!

Use it when you want to:

  • Learn more about your team
  • Celebrate as a team
  • Kick off a meeting or workshop with a fun activity
Get the Team Feast celebration template.

White Elephant Deluxe template

Celebrate the spirit of the holidays (virtually, of course) with your team by playing this fun (GIF)ting game. But beware of the rules, for if they are broken, a virtual elephant will sit on you.

Use it when you want to:

  • Host a team building activity
  • Build connection among remote/hybrid team members
  • Give each other virtual “gifts”
white elephant deluxe
Get the White Elephant Deluxe celebration template.
Related: 15 Celebration Ideas for Virtual & Hybrid Teams

Templates for planning

Now the fun begins. Get ahead of the new year by making clear and actionable plans and objectives. Align on goals, build transparency, identify resources, and understand dependencies so your team hits the ground running this year.

Useful planning templates

Big Room Quarterly Planning template

Answer the big questions and make the big decisions using this handy quarterly planning template. This offers a space to interact in breakout sessions, build in-depth roadmaps, and connect all objectives together so that all teams are aligned.

Use it when you want to:

  • Prepare for the upcoming quarter
  • Plan with a large group of people
  • Identify dependencies
  • Create a roadmap for the next 90 days
big room quarterly planning template
Get the Big Room Quarterly Planning template.

OKR Planning template

One of our most popular templates to use for planning. Use this template to brainstorm, prioritize, and deliver measurable goals for your team. Developed and used by Mural's own executive leadership team, it includes instructions for two planning sessions and a framework for writing and measuring your OKRs.

Use it when you want to:

  • Define clear objectives
  • Set measurable goals
  • Use an OKR framework to communicate your decisions
OKR planning template
Get the OKR Planning template.

Quarterly Roadmap template

When you need to get tactical, this template will help your team plan work week-by-week for an entire quarter. You can organize your plans for different projects, goals, teams, stakeholders, or tasks and organize them on a timeline.

Use it when you want to:

  • Align on priorities and goals
  • Plan efficiently with any group or team
  • Create a roadmap for the upcoming quarter
Get the Quarterly Roadmap planning template.

Annual Roadmap template

Need to plan for the entire year? This handy template will guide your team through the process of developing an annual roadmap. Add key projects and initiatives to the timeline to visually communicate your plans.

Use it when you want to:

  • Align on priorities and goals
  • Plan efficiently with any group or team
  • Create a roadmap for the upcoming year
Get the Annual Roadmap planning template.
👉  Not seeing the right template for you? Explore more planning templates.

Cheers to a successful new year!

Take stock of everything you’ve accomplished this year — the good, the bad, and the ugly. Celebrate the wins and remember that failure is just feedback that helps us grow. But starting off on the right foot is imperative to hit the ground running in the new year. 

Here are all nine templates we recommended in this blog post, rounded up for your convenience.

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About the author

About the authors

Brianna Hansen

Brianna Hansen

Sr. Integrated Content Manager
Brianna is a storyteller at MURAL. When she's not writing about transforming teamwork, she enjoys swimming, cooking (& eating) Italian food, reading psychological thrillers, and playing with her two cats.