Driving the day-to-day of a business is important and necessary, but doesn’t often provide the mental space conducive to the thinking required to break out of the status quo. If you are serious about taking your business to new levels of success in the coming year, carving out time for a powerful planning meeting can set the foundation for meaningful business transformation. Here are five ways how.
1. Conduct Business NOT as Usual- Get Creative
A year-end meeting is the time to shake it up a bit. Creative techniques can help you break through current challenges or think innovatively about how to adapt in a rapidly changing world. Look from fresh perspectives, connect the unconnected, and collaborate in new ways. With a few simple exercises (there are dozens of sources- a few of my favorites are Creative Thinkering by Michael Michalko and Beyond the Obvious by Phil McKinney), you can generate an array of new ideas in the areas of your business is calling for revitalization. No obstacle courses required.
2. Build Ownership- Everyone Has a Voice
Getting your team involved in strategic thinking will build ownership. By asking for ideas and working to build a common framework for success, people feel valued and become more vested in the results. New frameworks require shared responsibility to succeed.
“Nobody ever washes a rental car” Scott Simmerman
3. Tackle Challenges Head On
We all face a complex set of challenges that may be preventing us from achieving important goals. A year-end meeting is the ideal time to identify a few big goals that have been eluding the team, then roll up your collective sleeves. Come up with a list of every possible obstacle that might be getting in the way of the goal. Next brainstorm an array of possible solutions for every obstacle. Consider them all, then explore the ideas that really stand out. Sounds so simple, but this is a process that is often avoided or only partially explored.
4. Build in Accountability- Not Just a Fun Day
Creative thinking and new ideas are great, but to seriously transform a business requires a commitment to action. While everyone is feeling good about what’s possible, it is time to get clear about next steps. Leaving with a set of concrete, measurable action items will create the foundation for real change. But even that is not enough, build in a follow-up plan!
5. Facilitator Skills- ‘This Meeting Was the Best One We Ever Held’
The skills of the meeting facilitator can either make or break a planning session. An objective, experienced facilitator will keep everyone focused, encourage full participation, balance personalities, tap into the group’s collective wisdom, and help to design well-thought out, sustainable plans. Without these skills it is way too easy to get stuck in operational issues and old patterns. The facilitator can be from inside the business or out as long as they can stay neutral throughout the meeting, plan a meaningful agenda, run the meeting to maximize the time together, and bring out the best in all involved.
Transform your business by planning your year end meeting to tackle challenges in creative, ownership building new ways .
To a successful meeting and year ahead.
Author: Helene Mazur
Helene is the founder of Princeton Performance Dynamics, an executive coaching and strategic planning facilitation company for business and non-profit leaders and their teams. Helene’s passion is helping her clients to focus their goals, see new perspectives on their current situation, put in place realistic, motivating plans, and execute to achieve new levels of success.
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