The Holidays are a great time spent with family and friends. As the year draws to a close many find themselves reflecting on their year, counting blessings and being truly thankful for everything that they have. Perhaps you got a promotion at work, found your true love, had a new child or are just thankful to have another year of health and happiness.
This is also a good time to reflect on your business, and more importantly create a plan to ensure you have a prosperous 2016. Taking time to gather your team, do an honest and thorough assessment of your business, and making plans to improve are critical to the success of any business.
Rhonda Abrams in USA Today talks about how having a plan will help your small business grow. While this article underscores the importance of having a plan, sometimes it can be difficult to get started. Here are some tips/tricks to make the most of your annual planning.
- Include your entire Team – this may mean that you have to do it during off hours, bring in a temporary worker to answer phones, split into multiple smaller teams (i.e. accounting, marketing), or even close for a few days. As crazy as that may sound now, the rewards will far outway the down time the more successful you are.
- Schedule Ahead – don’t let this become a spur of the moment event. Put the event on your team calendar, give everyone assignments to either present or have things prepared in advance to spark conversation.
- Get OUT of the office – this cannot be stressed enough. You don’t have to leave town under cover of darkness, but you should get away from the office. There are a few reasons for this. First and foremost is that you get away from distractions. The phone isn’t ringing, email isn’t going off, you aren’t staring at the stack of paperwork on your desk – you’re focused on the task at hand. Second, getting out of the office can often spark new ideas, but it will help build your team. You’re all together, outside of your normal work environment, good things will almost always come from that.
- Review – take stock of where you are as a team. What went right in the past year? Where can you improve? Are people new to the team or in new roles? What are your client’s opinions of your organization? How well do you work as a team? These are just a few of the many review questions that should be asked during your review.
- Plan – Much more than numbers on paper (i.e. we want to grow by 10%), how are we getting there? What new skills need to be developed in order to allow us to reach our goals? What new clients do we want to approach? Are our procedures and policies working for us? Create a real action plan, with SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timely) goals. Everyone should feel connected to the plan, and know the role they play in helping the company succeed. Some companies even bring in outside moderators to assist in the planning so that all team members are participants (our staff has helped many companies over 26 years with their planning, if you are stuck – give us a call.
A well-run staff planning conference will not only provide a roadmap for your team’s success, it will rev engines and have your team firing on all cylinders. Time spent planning together now will lead to time spent celebrating together later.
As we enter the season of Holiday parties, make sure you think about 2016 and where you’d like your company to go. How are you going to get there, and is your team ready to take the journey with you? We wish you the best during this holiday season. We hope you’ve had a great 2015 so far and we encourage you to take time for planning to ensure that next year is even better.