Labor Day Weekend starts the transition from summer to fall and baseball to football. For the business world, Labor Day can represent the start of the final month of either the Third Quarter or of the Fiscal Year. How prepared are any of us for the impending change to a New Year?
You may have barbecued with friends or family over the holiday weekend and, if you have young children, been peppered with the question of “What’s for dinner?” While you busily prepared the meal, a curt answer of “food” might have sent the kids away short-term but it would not have stopped the questions. A friend or family member inquiring about the meal so they could bring a complimentary beverage or dessert would have certainly received a more detailed response to match the time, effort and planning you put into the event.
As business leaders, how much energy are we putting into our preparations for the New Year?
For the BBQ, you would have started with an overall vision for the event. Are we bringing family together for one last gathering before busy school schedules begin or are we inviting a new neighbor to introduce to the community? What will we serve and are there any food allergies to consider?
What atmosphere do you want for the event? Will this be a casual pool party or a more formal sit-down setting? Finally, you would have thought through all the details of your shopping list, food preparation and actual cooking time.
Unfortunately, many businesses treat the Annual Planning Process just like a pestering child and want it to just “go away”.
The annual strategic planning process takes time and should not be treated like a task on a check-off list. We recommend using the follow Foundations to guide your planning process:
- Vision: Where are we headed over the next three to five years? Are we pursuing new markets and products? If it has been a few years since we reviewed them, what are our Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats and their Impact (SWOT+I)?
- Mission: What is our purpose for being in business? What value do we add to our customers?
- Core Behaviors: What is the culture or atmosphere that we need to create a high performing team? What should we expect from our employees and what do they expect from our company?
- Initiatives: What are the key objectives we need to complete, and by when, to move the organization towards our Vision? What are the detailed Goals and Tasks to be completed and by whom to achieve the Initiatives?
What’s on your plate for 2020?