Do You Have the Right Data and Insight for Your Upcoming Annual Planning?

By Patrick Thean

How do you prepare for your annual planning session? How do you get the best data and insights to maximize the outcome of your planning session? To get the best data and insights, consider asking team members in your organization - the closer to the frontline employees the better.

Tip 1: Get data and insights from the front lines.

A typical mistake that larger growth companies make is not getting insights from employees who touch the customers. The problem is that sometimes at the executive team level, we don't know what we don't know. Lacking data and insight might cause us to develop plans for the new year that miss amazing opportunities.

Tip 2: Get people heard early in your process.

Often times, the reason team members don't seem bought into ideas is that they did not feel heard. You might have told them your plans, and they might have had the best intentions, yet misunderstandings occurred and mistakes happened. I have discovered that when people feel that their ideas have been properly shared and heard, it is easier to buy into ideas that were chosen that did not originate from them. I often hear "I don't mind executing someone else's great idea, as long as I know that mine was heard and properly considered, and my leaders made the best decision after considering all ideas."


So ask your team members the following questions to gather ideas and insights to consider as you review and work on your 3 to 5 year strategy during the annual planning meeting:

  • What are some strategies or ideas you think we should consider for our 3 year plan?
  • Are there any obstacles stopping the progress of our current strategies?
  • Are there any adjustments we should make to our current stated strategies?

Consider asking these questions to help you develop a great execution plan for next year:

  • What are the top 3 most important things to accomplish next year? And why?
  • What are the top 3 things that we should stop doing? That adds little to no value?
  • What are the top 3 things that are working well that we should keep doing next year? 

Tip 3: Invite guests who can add value.

Who should attended the annual planning session? Most times we automatically think it's our executive team. Yes, and who else? If you are discussing topics that need expertise that your team does not have, consider inviting other team members who might have that knowledge. They don't have to be promoted to the executive team to attend. Just share with them that you are exploring a topic that needs their help, and invite them to come, share their knowledge, and work with your executive team to develop the best plan for the company.

strategy planning facilitation



Patrick Thean


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