The Secret Weapon for Accomplishing 100% of Your Annual Plan

By Tiffany Chepul

Every team is focused on setting their Annual Priorities & Budget for the next year at this time of year. It's an incredible commitment of time, energy, and resources to determine the plan, not to mention what it will take to actually achieve it next year. So how can you be certain that your team is fully aligned and set up in the best way possible to get it all done and hit your numbers?

One of the most effective tools of the trade (that I learned from our expert facilitators!) is to write an Objective Statement for each of your Top 3-5 Annual Priorities. Taking extra care to gain hyper alignment as a team around the goal, how you will go about it, and why it's important is a secret weapon used by many successful Rhythm companies.

Here is the simple Objective Statement framework:

TO: What is the action? What are you going to do? Start with a verb. (This will likely end up as the title of your Annual Priority when you put it in Rhythm.)

IN A WAY THAT: How will you go about doing it? List criteria, scope, involvement, success measures, specific tactics, side benefits, or any other relevant information. (this is usually a list of 5-8 bullet points)

SO THAT: Why are you doing this? Why is it important? What is the one main benefit? (This might provide a clue as to what your Red Yellow Green success criteria might be for the Annual Priority.)


Here's an example:

TO: Create a World-Class Employee Recruiting, Onboarding, and Retention Program

IN A WAY THAT: Improves the quality of applicants (more A players); strengthens our culture; benefits our current employees; is simple for the HR team to administer; doesn't create drama; helps us avoid mis-hires; produces productive and happy team members.

SO THAT: We hire the right people the first time, ultimately impacting our retention of A players and our Employee NPS


Three tips when creating an Objective Statement:

- Start with the “TO” and make sure it is specific and actionable.

- To avoid getting bogged down in the “IN A WAY THAT” section, agree on and fill in the “SO THAT” section next. Getting the team clear about the objective's main benefit and common purpose will help clarify some of the specifics you’ll want to include in the “IN A WAY THAT” section.

- You can write your Objective Statement on that actual Annual Priority in Rhythm in either the Goal Description or Notes fields. This keeps it top of mind as you revisit your Annual Priorities throughout the year during Quarterly Planning.


Begin with the end in mind

If you begin with the end in mind, the outcome should be aligned across the organization. This speeds up your execution in the long run. With shared expectations at the outset, it's rare to need to go "back to the drawing board" on your Annual Plan. Take the extra step of fleshing out an Objective Statement for each of your Annual priorities and set your team up for success!


Learn more about quarterly and annual planning these articles:

Tiffany Chepul


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