Strategic Year-End Planning: How to Engage All Members of Your Team

Posted: Dec 27  |  By: Trey Gunn

It’s an important time of year to get budgets shored up, plans in place and strategies set for the coming year. But going it alone can be tough. Fortunately, there’s good news: You don’t have to be the sole person responsible for strategic year-end planning. You’ve likely got an entire team that is ready and willing to sit down and brainstorm ideas for next year. The hardest part of the process is figuring out how to engage the different members of your team. We’ve put together some ideas to help guide your strategic planning sessions.

Find the organization hound.

This person has a process for everything and their desk is probably immaculate. Projects never slip through the cracks and details are always well thought-out. Organizers always bring some valuable critical thinking to meetings. They may not have all of the creative ideas or the how-to elements figured out, but will have a systematic and organized way to lead the team through the strategic year-end planning process. He or she will also be quick to jump in to discuss a problem issue.

Tap into the creative thinker.

This person is a definite must-have during strategic planning because they’ll bring unique and outside-the-box ideas to the process. These are the people who will help differentiate your team and company in the marketplace. However, strategic planning can be difficult for the creative thinker. They often get hooked on one idea and want to plan it all the way to the finish. Reminding them that you’ll have additional meetings for each project kick-off to keep them on track. When their ideas are heard or incorporated into an overall business plan, they feel responsible for the outcomes later on down the road. This drives their passion.

Include the budget tracker.

Oh, our favorite buzz-kill, the accountant type. Just kidding! This is one of the most important people to incorporate in strategic planning. They keep everyone in check and ensure the creative thinker doesn’t come up with something that will blow the annual budget in Q1. They’re also the team members who will be instrumental in helping you pull together financials from the year so that you know what your budget is really going to look like. They are the realist who keeps the team grounded.

Incorporate the note taker.

This person never goes anywhere without a computer or a pen and paper. It cannot be overstated how many times a planning process has come to a screeching halt because nobody was writing anything down. This person will capture all the ideas—good and bad—and the next steps that need to be accomplished. And, bonus, he or she can be the one to send out the follow-up email when the planning sessions wrap up.

Besides lifting a bit of the burden off of your shoulders, your team’s support during strategic year-end planning is crucial for a number of reasons. Not only will they feel included in the process, but your team will also have a sense of responsibility when it comes to the successes and failures throughout the year. Simply put, they’ll buy into the business goals and work hard to achieve them. This directly impacts your bottom line and translates into a happier, healthier culture. Plus, this gives different members of the team an opportunity to demonstrate additional strengths and a chance to take on new responsibilities. It’s a win-win for you!

Remember, succession planning and management is critical in today’s rapidly changing business environment, and year-end is a great time to do it. Our white paper on achieving long-term stability will help prepare you for whatever the new year brings.