It’s that time again – back-to-school, pumpkin everything, football, and Annual Planning season! You and your team are about to invest so much time, money, energy, and resources into determining the Annual Focus & Initiatives for the year ahead. After the session is when the real work begins, however. How do you stay connected to your plan throughout the year to make sure it finishes Green? It’s tough to not become distracted, especially if you are part of a fast-growing mid-market company.
Here are a few tricks, from highly- successful Rhythm companies, for maintaining focus all year:
Calendar is King
Set your planning dates for the entire year now. Don’t succumb to the tyranny of the now this year. Make time and protect it on your calendar. You’ll need 2 days each quarter to determine your Quarterly Plan and set up your 13-Week Race. Don’t neglect that time – you’ll need it to evaluate progress on your Annual Initiatives and determine the next steps.
When you enter your Annual Plan in Rhythm, link your Annual Initiatives up to the Winning Moves they support, if appropriate. When you enter your Quarterly Plan, link your Team Priorities up to the Annual Initiatives they support. This gives everyone a visual reminder of how each Priority is there for a reason. Each Priority fits into the bigger picture to ultimately support achieving your Annual Plan, Winning Moves, and ultimately, your BHAG.
Targets = KPIs
When setting your Annual and Quarterly Focus (your Main Thing, Targets, and Critical Numbers) during planning, make sure those metrics become KPIs that someone owns and statuses every week. There is no point in setting a financial target during Annual Planning if you aren’t going to keep an eye on it all year. If you are using Rhythm, monitoring those Targets as KPIs is easy. When adding a Target, you have the option to use an existing KPI or add a new one, and Rhythm automatically creates a Dashboard for you to discuss these numbers with the team.
Status Annual Initiatives
If you own an Annual Initiative, get in the habit of statusing it at least once a quarter – preferably during quarterly planning preparation. Be reflective and thoughtful and really evaluate the status of that Annual Initiative. Is it on-track? Did you hit any roadblocks? Select a status color and put a comment on it so everyone else knows what going on with it, too.
Good luck with your upcoming Annual Planning sessions – make it your anchor for a successful year!
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