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Guest: Mark Moses
Episode in a Tweet: The most effective way to plan for, deliver, and execute an annual planning meeting to get top and bottom line results.
Quick Background: Mark Moses has facilitated more than 200 annual planning meetings for companies all over the world. And during that time, he’s perfected a process that ensures companies get results. In today’s show, Mark reveals his process in specific detail.
Transcript: Download the full transcript here.
1. Hire an outside facilitator for your annual planning meeting.
While the annual planning meeting can definitely be done with an internal leader, “I don’t think it’s a best practice,” said Mark. Why? “Because typically the CEO would lead the planning session and this means the CEO becomes a facilitator rather than a participant. And in that position, they will probably be emoting their own ideas and influences to try to get what they want as opposed to letting the natural process take place.”
2. Make the meeting productive by asking attendees to complete a pre-meeting questionnaire.
Rather than spend valuable time during the meeting asking questions that are better contemplated ahead of time, ask attendees to answer questions such as these. What went right over the last 12 months? What went wrong? What did we learn? What are the biggest opportunities in front of us? What are the biggest challenges that we’re currently facing? How did we do compared to how we said we would do? You don’t have to spend a lot of time during the meeting to review the responses. Mark said, “They’re just frames of where we are and I’d like to say that I enjoy stirring the pot a little bit here to try and create the alignment.”
3. During the meeting, ask “The Three Provocative Questions.”
Mark sets the stage for the questions by telling the team to envision they were starting a new company that would compete with the company they have today. Then he asks them to answer these three questions.
1. What would you stop doing that you’re doing now?
2. What would you start doing that you aren’t doing now?
3. What would your new company do to try to put your current company out of business?
Often times the new company they describe is better than the one they have. And that’s when the skilled facilitator carefully guides them to get closer to that desired company.
4. Get tough about your one and three year plans.
Once you discuss where you want the company to be in one and three years, the tough work begins. Mark likes to stir the pot again by asking the meeting attendees, “What do you think it will take to guarantee you make that happen? What’s going to stand in the way of making that happen? How can we overcome what stands in the way?”
5. Develop your top goals and specific initiatives.
Put some meat on your one year plan by identifying one to three “wildly important goals” and the specific leading activities you need to implement that will guarantee you achieve the goals. After discussion and a ranking process, you might end up with three top goals and eight to 12 initiatives to accomplish those goals.
6. Ask each attendee to assess how they can improve their performance.
Mark said, “Everybody struggles with their own demons and their own effectiveness as a leader or in the way they manage their time. So, I like asking these two questions. What should I start doing to get the most out of my own performance? What should I stop doing and when?” Each attendee shares their answer with the group and the element of peer pressure ensures this is an effective exercise.
7. Make Big Happen!
You have a company plan with specific goals and initiatives. You have a leadership team that knows what they need to do to maximize their performance. What’s left is to execute. Mark shared a specific 12-month accountability meetings and communication plan that ensures the annual planning meeting “talk” gets turned into big results.
1. Use an outside facilitator for your annual planning meeting. An outside facilitator ensures you stay on track, pushes you to think bigger, and asks the right questions that lead to breakthrough results.
2. Systematically close the gap between your current company and your desired company. “The Three Provocative Questions” expose the gap between where you are today and where you’d like to be. A skilled facilitator helps you identify the specific action necessary to close that gap.
3. Follow up your tough talk with real action. Continue the momentum from the annual planning meeting by implementing a disciplined 12-month accountability meetings and communication plan.
Transcript: Download the full transcript here.