“Who should attend our annual planning session? Should it just be my executive team?” I get asked this question all the time. The default answer seems to be the executive team. However, in many cases, that simple answer might not be the complete answer. In most cases, your executive team should be invited to your planning session. But should you invite anyone else?
Here is a question to help you determine who you should invite to your annual planning session:
Do you have a complete view of the business with your executive team? If your executive team is small and not completely built out yet, you might not have a complete view of all aspects of the company if you limit attendance to only your executive team.
Here is a checklist to help you determine if the people attending can give you a full 360 degree view of your business:
You are going to be making key decisions in your annual planning sessions. It would be great to have different points of view, representing all sides of the business. If your executive team is able to cover all the above areas, then that’s great, and you are all set. But, many of us don’t have all the above areas covered on our executive teams.
For example, your company may not be large enough yet to have a CFO (Chief Financial Officer). You might have a controller assisting you who is not on your executive team. Or you might not have a CIO (Chief Information Officer); instead, you might have an an IT (Information Technology) manager. Both points of view are important to have when you are making critical and big decisions.
If this resonates with you, one solution is to invite such non-executive team members to participate in your annual planning meeting. This way you can gain their perspective and their brain power to develop the best possible execution plan for the year. Make it clear that they are attending as guests (and not executive team members) to provide valuable input so that we can go into next year with the best execution plan possible.
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