At this time of year, companies are investing massive amounts of resources in an effective Annual Planning Session. Executive teams are giving themselves to a process that requires a commitment of money, time and lots and lots of brainpower. There are heated discussions, brutal facts, and ultimately, alignment on 3-5 Annual Priorities for the entire company.
Here are some great ways to inform and inspire everyone with your Annual Plan, all the way to the front line:
- Connect to Strategy. There are really two objectives in meeting with everyone to share your Annual Plan. The first is to help everyone feel connected to strategy - spend some time refreshing on your Core Values, BHAG, Core Purpose, etc. The second is to share the annual priorities, goals/targets, success criteria, along with a little background as to how the executive team arrived at them. Ultimately, you want everyone in the organization to not only understand the "whys" and "hows" of the Annual Plan, but feel invested in it - a part of something bigger.
- Town Hall Meeting. If it is feasible for your company size and location, have everyone assemble in-person for a "Town Hall Meeting." If phone coverage or the size of your meeting space is an issue, you can break the group into two. In this setting, the CEO shares the Annual Plan with the team in a conversational setting followed by Q & A.
- Trickle Down. If your company is too large or geographically dispersed for a Town Hall, sharing the Annual Plan can trickle down through departments. In this scenario, the CEO and/or department head can lead the session to inform and inspire. Be sure that everyone is included in a meeting, and no one gets left out. Also, be sure to leave time for Q & A.
- Virtual. If getting everyone in one room is impossible or you have a plan that requires precise explanation and messaging, a webinar hosted by the CEO is the best way to go. In this scenario, use a webinar application like Webex or GoToMeeting for everyone to join virtually. The CEO can work off slides and/or video, depending on their comfort level. Have someone else on the executive team act as the facilitator to field questions in the Q & A portion of the call. Be sure to record the session so those who miss can listen later.