Has Year-End Strategic Planning Got You Spooked?
Halloween is right around the corner, and while your organization may be prepping for some spooky fun at work, how’s your strategic, year-end business planning going? Are you on track to pull together a solid plan before Q4 is over? Or, are you a bit spooked by all that’s got to go into developing goals and strategies for next year and beyond?
Deep breath. You got this! And we’re here to help. At MAP, we’ve coached 15,000 organizations and 170,000 business leaders since 1960, and one of our biggest areas of expertise has always been in the realm of business planning. So today, we want to share a few tips that can help you build focus around the strategic planning activity and boost your odds of success.
Push back on any procrastination. Business planning can feel overwhelming for a lot of us leaders, which can result in our pushing it off until the last minute. However, by breaking down this large planning activity into smaller, more doable chunks, you’ll find it easier to start, move through and complete the process. Get beyond any tendencies to procrastinate by creating a timeline or schedule for the various needs, such as pulling data and conducting an annual review, holding a planning kickoff meeting, writing whatever aspect(s) of the plan you’re assigning yourself to tackle, and hosting a follow-up meeting with your team or anyone to whom you’ve delegated planning tasks or deadlines.
Make meetings meaningful. We all know meetings can be a huge time suck. So when you’re approaching year-end planning, really scrutinize what can be done without a planning meeting and what needs to be addressed within a meeting. For example, consider what homework can be assigned to your team so that they come better prepared to create goals and strategies prior to an annual planning kickoff or any follow-up meetings. And when you do meet, don’t forget to create and stick to ground rules that ensure productivity and efficiency.
Don’t overthink it. Your year-end plan doesn’t have to be a gazillion pages long. In fact, some of the best plans are the simplest and shortest ones because they’re usable and doable. The trick is to make sure your plan has all the key elements, is backed by a system of accountability that serves as a GPS for Your Business™, and includes the right measures that will help track results and enable you to get valuable progress reports throughout the upcoming year.
Finally, one more tip. In case it’s not obvious, clearly communicate with your team that this year’s annual plan won’t be some document that gets put on a shelf, left to collect dust. The right plan, backed by an accountability system for implementing it, becomes a living document that is consistently revisited and used year-round. Not to spook anyone, but this document—if it’s done right—will have grit and teeth, for perhaps the first time ever. It will carry with it the opportunity for real change and results.
Ready to step up your annual planning experience for you, your team and the organization at large? MAP brings proven planning expertise to the table and the right system, tools and coaching to drive business success. Contact Us today!