We’re nearing the end of another calendar year. It’s a good time to reflect on the prior year’s accomplishments and set the strategy and goals for the coming year. Let’s see how Joe and Wanda are handling this annual planning exercise.
Joe Kerr: Here we go again! I’ve been through over a dozen of these exercises. When the boss unveils the slogan of the year (developed with the help of some consulting company), I just nod my head and smile approvingly like it’s the most profound and life altering plan of all time. I go through the motions and in a few months it blows over. Occasionally the boss gets extra serious about it and actually requires reporting updates against the plan. If this is the case, I just make something up and retrofit it to the plan. If I happen to be late with something, I just tell the boss I was busy serving the client. That gets me off the hook.
This year it will be the same deal. My strategy to setting strategy is simple and effective – Keep the head low and wait it out.
Wanda B. Goode: I like to close out the year by reporting how the team did against the prior year’s objectives. It’s usually not that big of a surprise since I’ve reviewed the plan throughout the year, but it does give the team a sense of accomplishment and it also gets them pumped for the new year. Sometimes I use it as an opportunity for recognition as well.
This year, corporate came up with a strategy. We’ll meet as a team to develop some goals for our group that link to the larger strategy. We won’t get carried away. We’ll quickly come up with a handful of things that will really help us improve. Then we’ll execute one at a time. We’ll get commitment from all team members to complete the first one by the agreed upon due date no matter what. I’ve learned the hard way that if you try to do too much at once, you end up getting nothing done. This feeds the apathetic and freguently derisive attitude that often surrounds strategic plans.
Remember, the team works full time. Attempting to tackle multiple initiatives simultaneously is unrealistic. Just pick off one at a time. Show progress. Build momentum. Communicate. Communicate. Communicate. Before you know it, the team will have made valuable contributions to the business.