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Strategic Annual Planning

Hard to believe it’s already time to start planning for 2022 but as we know growth and success rely heavily on planning. Annual Planning is essential to realign the organization to assure efforts are geared toward the strategic goals of the organization, layout a clear execution plan, & communicating the goals and plan to the entire organization to assure everyone is united.

When we facilitate annual planning sessions with organizations, we like to complete exercises to answer three simple questions:

  • Where are we now?
  • Where are we going?
  • How are we going to get there?

Where are we now?

We like to start each annual planning exercise by reaffirming the purpose of the organization. This re-aligns the focus of leadership by reviewing the vision, mission, and value statements of the organization. This assures that when establishing goals and setting priorities for the year that the long-term vision and mission are being kept in mind.  

Before you can determine the next steps for your organization, it's necessary to define a baseline. Examining the current state of your organization includes reviewing the statistics and trends of the previous year. Learning from the previous year by reflecting on what went well, where were their challenges or failures, possible missed opportunities, & any changes to the market or your business provide a strong foundation for planning for the upcoming year.

Where are we going?

When establishing where your company is going, we like to complete a series of exercises to define the purpose & position given what you have learned in the previous exercise from establishing the baseline. The 1st exercise we like to complete is by brainstorming around one simple question - what does success look like at the end of the year? Other exercises we find helpful are completing a SWOT analysis, Start/Stop/Continue & the Hedgehog Concept.

After completing these brainstorming exercises, we suggest funneling the ideas collected into goals for your organization. There are countless different types of goal formatting but the three we prefer for annual planning sessions are SMART Goals, OKRs, & V2MOM.

How are we going to get there?

Determining how you are going to execute on those goals is crucial for building the foundation for a successful year. Set measurable goals with clearly defined metrics, dates & targets. Break your larger goals and initiatives into set defined milestones to include actions, achievements & deliverables necessary to make progress towards your goals. Examine your resources and capacity through a series of forecasting & budgeting. From there, you can pull it all together into a Roadmap based on the goals, milestones, budget & capacity determined.

Strategic Alignment

Assuring your organization is aligned on the goals, priorities, and roadmap for the annual plan begins with communication. Foster buy-in by communicating motives and how initiatives relate to the strategic goals of the organization. Define the communication methods and how much information should be shared and with who. Track the progress of initiatives and goals and report out frequently to keep the organization aligned and on the same page. For a more in-depth overview of Change Management strategies and techniques – sign up for our webinar on an “Introduction to Change Management”.

With your roadmap established and organization aligned, your team is set up for successful execution & growth for the year. For more tips and tools to run a successful annual planning session, view our webinar. If you want to bring in an outside facilitator to lead your organizations' annual planning exercise, feel free to reach out to [email protected].