What to think about for next year’s strategic plan
9 Essential Steps to Crafting Your 2020 Business Goals
Building a good, strategic plan for the next few years takes a lot of work upfront.
As we move into Q4 of 2019, now is the ideal time to put together your strategic plan. With next year not only being the start of a new decade but also a number that represents clarity of vision, what better time to build a plan that will take your organization to the next level of success?
The challenge is how to build a plan that’s ambitious enough to inspire but practical enough to be implemented. Here are nine things you should consider doing with your senior team during your planning process this year.
1. Don’t forget about Q4.
2. Review the past year.
Once you’ve addressed the final 12 weeks of the year, next elevate your horizon to the year in its entirety. Begin by asking everyone on your team for the top 2 or 3 things that went well in their department this year and what 2 to 3 aspects they would do differently. Trap their ideas on flipcharts and then transfer them over into a shared document to have them in one central place. Take a moment to review the successes of your team across the whole year. This gives you the momentum to take into your discussion for next year.
3. Dust off your vision.
It’s essential to set your planning for next year in the context of your overall vision. Any goals or strategies you set for 2020 should actively contribute to you achieving your vision in the long run. This provides a good North Star for your planning work. If your vision feels out-dated or ineffectual, now might be the time to dust it off. The easiest way to stress-test your vision is to ask these three questions
- Is it simple to understand? (Could a 9-year old make sense of it?)
- Does it excite you and your team?
- Does it describe why your team exists?
4. Set your annual goal.
5. Brainstorm your strategic initiatives.
Split the team up into groups of 3-5 and give them each a goal for the year. Have them brainstorm 3-5 strategic initiatives that would help bring you closer to achieving that goal. A strategic initiative is a focused project for that year that will add up to realizing that annual goal. If you successfully execute your strategic initiatives, you should be fairly certain you’ll achieve your annual goal.
6. Prioritize your initiatives.
It would be great if we could successfully implement every great strategic idea we have. The reality is that most teams are working with limited resources. That means you need to assign a level of prioritization on the strategic initiatives in front of you. Batch them together into categories of ‘must-do’ and ‘nice to do.’ If there are priorities that will likely compete for resources, agree which are most important. Then finalize your list.
7. Agree on accountability.
For each initiative, have the group agree who will be accountable for implementation. If you have the time, get them to draw out the key milestones throughout the year that you need to hit to complete the initiative.
8. Build a communications plan.
9. Define how you’ll make adjustments.
Finally, in an attempt to avoid your strategic plan from being put in a drawer only to collect dust and be forgotten about, agree when you will next review. In addition to that, make sure you have agreed to a process for making changes to your plan as the year progresses.