Rhythm Blog | Annual Planning

by Patrick Thean and the Rhythm Team

‘Tis the Season for Writing Effective Annual Initiatives

Tiffany Chepul Mon, Nov 20, 2017 @ 11:30 AM

It’s that time of year again – just about everyone on a traditional calendar year is gearing up for Annual Planning! You and your team will invest so much time, money and effort in finalizing your 2018 plan. If the outcome isn’t a clear, executable plan with well-written initiatives, those resources will have been wasted. 

When consulting with clients to review their Annual Plans, here are some things we look for to determine if their Annual Initiatives are set up to deliver success. All execution-ready Annual Initiatives share these characteristics:

Do You Have a Line Item in Your Budget for Innovation? Your Success Depends on it!

Alan Gehringer Fri, Nov 17, 2017 @ 11:30 AM

It’s that time of year to create a winning plan for next year. As part of the Annual Planning process, you will be reviewing last year’s success and failures. As part of that exercise, I encourage you to do a detailed analysis of your products or services and the margins on each. It’s good if you compare this to last year’s analysis to see if your margins are beginning to slip or if they are stable. If you are not introducing enough fresh new offerings or incrementally improving your existing offerings, you will most likely see your margins eroding. I would also ask you to do an audit of how many new products or services you brought to market successfully last year and what percentage of your total sales they make up. Hopefully, it’s at least 5-10%. If not, there is an opportunity for improvement.

3 Tools for Better Brainstorming

Jessica Wishart Mon, Nov 13, 2017 @ 11:30 AM

Creative problem solving is an essential skill in our ever-evolving work world. As more and more technical and analytical aspects of our work are being automated, we still rely on people for using that data to come up with solutions and strategies for the future. Chances are, members of your team have some great ideas - whether they are for how to get unstuck on a current problem or challenge or for strategies or process improvements that could transform your business and bring you into the future.  

How can you tap into your team’s best ideas?

Harness the Thinking Power of Your Team to Create Great Annual Plans

Alan Gehringer Sat, Nov 11, 2017 @ 09:30 AM

“Nothing is more dangerous than an idea when it is the only one you have.” - Emil Chartier

What Is Poor Annual and Quarterly Planning Costing Your Company?

Jessica Wishart Wed, Nov 8, 2017 @ 11:30 AM

Your annual and quarterly planning sessions are expensive. Let’s do a little exercise:

Don't Let Your Annual Plan Fail by Using Spreadsheets to Run Your Company

Ted Skinner Mon, Oct 30, 2017 @ 11:30 AM

Many companies have strong Annual Plans but fail to execute on them and miss their targets year after year. They know that they are missing something, but they aren’t sure what. There are many reasons why nearly half of all companies fail to meet their annual targets, but one of the most important reasons is that they fail to implement a software system to drive company execution. 

The Value of Strategic Thinking: A More Robust Annual Plan

Cathy McCullough Thu, Oct 19, 2017 @ 11:30 AM

Regardless of size, all businesses require strategic thinking to grow. Many leaders consider strategic thinking (and the subsequent execution of their strategic plan) as one of the most challenging leadership tasks. So many times, though, leaders confuse strategic thinking and strategic planning with being tactical and task-oriented. 

While strategic thinking involves these two principles, it is not restricted to them. Rather, strategic thinking is the process of thinking, planning, and doing the work that will lead your company toward your preferred future. 

Are You Getting Good ROI on Your Planning Sessions?

Chris Cosper Thu, Oct 12, 2017 @ 11:00 AM

Your planning sessions are important and expensive. Whether they’re Quarterly Planning Sessions, Annual Planning Sessions, or Strategic Planning Sessions, you've invested the valuable time and energy of your most expensive employees – time away from the office,  travel  and meals, a rented meeting room, a professional facilitator, and who knows what else. That number can really add up, so it’s easy to see why this is a line item that sometimes gets cut when trimming the budget. But before you go there, like any other investment decision, you should consider the ROI of that planning session. The basic ROI formula is (Gain–Cost)/Gain. In order to calculate this, you have to really understand what the cost is and what’s at stake.

Bringing Your Annual Plan to Life

Cathy McCullough Sun, Oct 8, 2017 @ 12:00 PM

When we hear of silos, our minds drift to a beautiful landscape where we find tall grain bins built on finely manicured and plowed fields. However, when the word ‘silo’ is used in an organizational context, it isn’t such a beautiful sight. 

When there’s an organizational attitude where one department purposefully or from a lack of will refuses to share information with other departments, you’ll find an overall decrease in organizational efficiency on multiple levels. 

Annual Planning Playbook - 5 Steps to Create a Winning Annual Plan

Ted Skinner Thu, Sep 28, 2017 @ 09:00 AM

Did you know that nearly half of all companies fail to meet their financial targets? Much of this lack of success can be traced back to poor annual planning sessions. Perhaps you talked about the targets and set them, but you failed to create an action plan to get there. I understand - there is an amazing amount of work that goes into facilitating a winning planning session. We know how hard it is, as our Rhythm experts have facilitated thousands of successful planning sessions to set our customers up for success. This blog will give a high-level overview of the five keys to creating a winning annual plan.