With the new year rapidly approaching, our team is laser-focused on helping our clients prepare and create their plans for this next year. With the days of last year drawing to a close, we are reminded of the importance of preplanning activities you can take to help your organization adequately prepare for the new plan and planning year. So, as a quick guide, here are three crucial steps you can take to help your organization prepare for the planning cycle ahead:
Step 1: Determine Your Planning Readiness
A first and crucial first step is assessing the readiness of your organization to embark upon planning. We like to pose a few questions to assess the readiness of an organization to plan:
- What steps need to be taken to ensure the planning process is successful?
- What planning pitfalls from last year should we need to avoid?
The answers to these questions should be a key consideration as you develop your planning team and schedule. Use the answers to decide how fast (or how slow) your organization should complete the planning process and consider what you need to avoid pitfalls that might derail your process.
Step 2: Select Your Team
The next action you’ll need to take is deciding on who will be part of your planning team. You might already have a planning team, and that’s great! But, if you don’t, you will need an individual that will champion the process (a Chief Strategy Officer, Strategy Direct, etc.), decision-makers within your organization (CEO, CMO), and other key individuals that will add value to the process. Planning teams are best with about 12-15 people with diverse backgrounds.
Step 3: Collect & Review Current Performance Data
Deciding where you want to go in the future requires looking at your past. Inform your planning team of where you are today by collecting your current plan performance data and reviewing it as a team. If you don’t have a strategic plan in place, consider looking at these metrics from your current fiscal year:
- EBITA and balance sheets
- Sales and market performance data
- Your mission, vision, and values
- Any other relevant information from your business operations
Arming your planning team with this information is key in helping your team identify trends and important nuggets of data to inform your strategy.
Bonus: Complete a Free Organizational Benchmark
Our free Strategic Performance Index will gather insights from your leadership team and benchmark your organization’s performance against other high-performing organizations. The free 15-minute web-based survey provides a report that will help you identify gaps in your organization, gives you an effectiveness baseline, and compares your organization’s strengths and weaknesses against other growth-oriented organizations. Take it here.