It’s the time of year to get ahead of something for a change. Do you want to finish 2015 as a champion or limp across the finish line? Don’t let your team finish the year without setting yourself up for a fabulous 2016. Schedule and host your Strategic Planning Retreat for 2016 in October. Work on a second draft of plans and budgets in November, and finalize your aligned 2016 plans, objectives, goals, and budgets before December 10. That gives you the opportunity to build momentum at the end of the year and hit the New Year charging ahead!
Listed below are some Best Practices to help you make the most of your Strategic Planning Opportunity for 2016:
- Use your company’s Core Values, Mission Statements, and Vision Statements as a starting place. As the CEO, you should kick off the Strategic Planning Retreat by reinforcing the 5 Core Values that determine how your company does business and how you keep score. Then remind everyone on the Leadership Team about your company’s Mission and your longer term Vision. Tell the story and inspire the team to go back to first principles before we begin to assess our current state and the desired state we want to drive to in 2016. Make sure that everyone has a shared perspective to align their thinking and planning around the company objectives, not just those of their team or their individual concerns.
- Conduct a thorough company-wide SWOTT analysis, assessing current state Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats, and Trends. Then have each Department Leader do the same for their Line Of Business. As a way of wrapping the internal assessment, lead the team through a deep conversation on 4 Strategic Planning Maps, asking the team, 1) What’s Working? 2) What’s Not Working? 3) What’s Missing? 4) What’s Confused? Ensure that someone strong is designated to take notes and keep track of the details, to facilitate a deep exploration of your current business and culture. Encourage constructive conflict around areas of disagreement, and let the team explore any problem, from the perspective of developing understanding, so that we can then take action to improve late this year or early next year. No sacred cows!
- Use the results of these SWOTT Analyses and the 4 Strategic Planning Maps to identify and prioritize the five issues that must be addressed during the coming year. These results will affect a measurable improvement in your current state and drive your organization to the desired state. Ensure that each Line Of Business Leader does the same for their Line Of Business. Give the Team 3 weeks to develop their First Draft of their Department Objectives and Budgets for 2016, and demand that their plans and budgets are congruent with the overall company rolled up objectives and budgets.
- Set your finance and executive team to work, synthesizing the combined departmental LOB plans and budgets to build your organization-wide plan and budgets. Present it back to the team for review in early November if possible, and give a short turn-around deadline to finalize the budget for 2016 by early December.
- Publish your final goals and objectives and schedule a company-wide meeting to let the entire team see where the company will be headed in 2016. Let them know that you are going to keep them engaged and informed in measuring and reporting on progress along the path to victory. Then begin managing the team to success!
If you’re not comfortable organizing or leading your team in a strategic planning retreat, contact us at MBCC and we can help you get this important habit started within your company. Make the most of the rest of 2015 and don’t let your team come out of the starting blocks slowly in 2016. You owe it to yourself, and to your team, to come out of the blocks with a roar in 2016. The only way to do that is to get started now!
I’d love to hear what your best practices are for strategic planning this time of year, even if you’re one of those who hasn’t gotten around to being proactive about planning and strategy yet. It’s not too late, you can begin building a new habit right now. Let us know whether we can help….