I have always liked the back-to-school vibe- lots of possibility, a fresh start, energized and ready to tackle new and big things. For me it is the ideal time to do annual planning for the next calendar year. In September we are wrapping up third quarter and getting ready to start the final quarter of the year. It’s a great time to take stock of all your successes and assess what you haven’t gotten done yet. You still have time before January to re-prioritize and complete your current year’s goals… and most importantly get yourself (you, your team, and your organization) set up for success in the year to come.
Here are my tips for successful business planning:
- Start with perspective. Know the vision and commit to it. Be clear about where you are today and will be at the end of the year.
- Put people before strategy. Make sure you have the right people in the room at the right level of planning. Owners, executives, and managers have different stakes in the game. Be respectful and avoid conflicts of interest. This work is intense so balance it with fun and rest.
- Limit distractions so your team can focus. When they understand the task and are committed to working together for the greater good of the company, you won’t waste time on politics or unhealthy conflict.
- Don’t lead with solutions. To turn vision into reality, annual planning needs to be about setting goals (see blog on SMART goals) not making a list of things you think you should do. Tie your action items to your goals- execution will be easier and you will be much more likely to succeed.
- Don’t confuse being busy with getting results. Remember you will have to say no to good ideas when they aren’t going to take you forward.
You shouldn’t wait for January to start planning what you will do next year. By planning now, you can build momentum and protect your priorities. In the time of the Great Resignation, your direction and clarity of purpose will keep and attract talent. Your team is your most valuable asset and treating them well and harnessing their power will be your competitive advantage for 2022