3 Tips for Annual Planning….When You Don’t Know What to Plan For

Posted by Kristin Luck on 10/23/20 4:15 PM
Kristin Luck
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With so much uncertainty surrounding us (pandemics, elections, trade wars…even murder hornets), it’s easy to get caught up in what feels like day to day survival and forego annual planning. That said, when it feels impossible to plan for the future it becomes even more important to ensure you have guiding objectives and strategies linking the company’s future to the present day.

Scenario planning involves defining a specific set of uncertainties or different “realities” of what might happen in the future of your business, rather than relying on a singular plan or strategy. Where do you want to have impact? What it will take to achieve success? How will the organization evolve to meet challenges on the horizon?

Here are our tips for tackling annual planning in a business climate of uncertainty.

  1. Understand and accept that annual planning can be iterative. So often executive teams get stuck on the notion that once a corporate object or key result is defined, it can’t be changed. We are living in a time of unparalleled uncertainty. Some iteration should be expected as the business environment evolves and adapts to ongoing disruption.
  2. Scenario planning involves defining a specific set of uncertainties or different “realities” of what might happen in the future of your business, rather than relying solely on a singular plan or strategy. Scenario planning can be helpful in defining key triggers for actions to take when the unexpected does occur. It takes the guesswork out of tough decisions by mapping the specific actions that need to be taken when key triggers (financial or otherwise) occur.
  3. Last year’s OKR’s are so….last year. Ensure the objectives and key results you define are reflective of current (not past) business realities. These are tough times to convince buyers to adopt new behaviors. Get real about the fundamental changes you may need to make to your product portfolio or your sales and marketing strategy.

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when it feels impossible to plan for the future it becomes even more important to ensure you have guiding objectives and strategies linking the company’s future to the present day.

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Lastly, broaden your strategic planning team to ensure you’re including diverse perspectives and maximizing brainstorming, particularly around scenario planning. According to Boston Consulting Group, companies with more diverse management teams have 19% higher revenue due to innovation. Homogeneity is not your friend.

Need help kickstarting your 2021 strategic planning process? Reach out to us.

Topics: Growth Strategy, Sales Strategy

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