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  • scottgullickson

How to Make 2022 Your Best Year Yet

The end of the year is upon us and we all know what season comes with it………..ANNUAL PLANNING!!!! Let's cover the three parts that make up an effective annual planning session. Before the Session Why are you holding a 2022 planning session? You need to have a clear purpose for this meeting and know what results you're looking to get. WAY too often companies meet and discuss the next year and do absolutely nothing about it - stop the madness! Identify who needs to be there and clarify with them what their role is. Where is there!? ! Are you having this session in the virtual world or will it be at an off-site? What about the process you're going to follow to achieve the purpose of the meeting? One additional KEY factor - determine who will be your session facilitator. Trying to have a participant facilitate is typically the go-to solution but doesn't mean it is the right solution. Having a trained facilitator in the room will guide you through a highly structured meeting that will lead to effective decision making. Without one, you may not get consensus on the direction of your company for the next year. Imagine trying to rally your team around a strategy and goals that they cannot support - it could make 2022 for a very long and unproductive year. These are all critical factors that, if not covered beforehand, can cause your 2022 planning to go from a success to a $#iT show in a hurry! In the Session Now that you're all prepared with your purpose, agenda, key results and facilitator in place - it's time to set a plan for a great 2022! Take a look back at all that you've accomplished in 2021 and celebrate! You may not have it all of your goals and numbers but guess what?! You're human and it's okay not to be perfect! Making progress is more important than being perfect and if you hit your goals and made progress, that is important to remember. Now, look at what didn't go as planned and see how you can learn from this and take that to make 2022 a better year. You've reviewed 2021, now it's time to see where you're at today. A SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities & threats) analysis may not be sexy, but is helpful in determining the current state of your company. Great planning starts with understanding where you are today & confronting the facts. Completing a SWOT analysis helps capture & frame up your current state. Next, we move into your strategy planning. This helps you answer the question "what are the broad activities we need to focus on in the next 3 years if we want to hit our One Big Goal (previously established)?". These need to be activity focused and not results focused. Prioritizing the top 3-5 will help you in setting the most important annual goals for you to focus your company on in 2022. Now that you've defined the strategies your company needs to focus on, it's time to identify your goals for 2022. These goals need to help you accomplish the strategies you've set in place. Remember, if your strategies are not accomplished then your One Big Goal will not be accomplished, which is the one thing that the company is setting out to do. Decide what strategies you need to focus on in 2022 - then set your annual goals around these strategies. Get consensus from your team on what the 3-5 goals are for 2022. These need to be results focused and SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant & timely). You've done the heavy lifting and identified the strategies and annual goals that your team will be focusing on. Lastly, decide what needs to get done in Q1 to setup 2022 for success. Get consensus from the team on the top 3-5 quarterly goals that need to get accomplished in order hit your 2022 annual goals. Using this top-down approach helps your team guide you through this annual planning session. Knowing that your One Big Goal is the most important thing to your company and having that as an anchor helps set a clear destination that you're working towards. With this in place, you are able to make your way down to setting quarterly goals and knowing that they align with the companies One Big Goal. After the Session Now that you've put in all the work of planning for what your 2022 is going to look like at your company - EXECUTE ON IT!! Imagine you spent a full day shopping for a vehicle. You knew exactly what your family wanted, everyone agreed on the vehicle had a smile on their face! Then, the next week rolled around and the same old rusty vehicle was in the driveway. Two months down the road, not a mention of the great new car dad spent a full day dragging the family joy riding in! Does this sound like an effective way to spend time?!? Then, why would you do this in your business? You've spent the time and energy to get a great plan in place for 2022. Your team is all jacked to execute on it, so make it happen! Start off by spending a few minutes reporting at your weekly meeting with your leaders (if you don’t have get one in place ASAP!). Do this each week and be honest with one another when you're saying whether or not you are 'on-track' or 'off-track.' It's okay to fall off-track AND needs to be at the top of your priority list to spend the time finding out why and coming up with a solution to get it back on-track. Now What? Annual planning is such an important part of any business. If you don't know where you're going, how will you know if you've made it there? If you don't communicate what to focus on, how much money and time are you wasting by doing the wrong things? Spending a day getting your business a plan for an entire year is a great use of your time and your leaders. Be sure you're implementing the best practices called out above to be as effective and efficient with your time as possible.

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