It’s been another incredible year for CEO Coaching International and its clients, including 9-figure exits, creating major international partnerships, and landing 9-figure contracts. And while there’s no one magic recipe that allows companies to achieve such incredible growth year after year, the single biggest commonality I see among our clients who get BIG is their commitment to the annual planning process.
CEO Coaching International clients are already gearing up for a successful 2019 by getting their annual planning sessions in order. You can too by following these 4 proven steps that are central to CEO Coaching International’s best practices:
1. Prepare for the planning meeting before it starts.
To get the best result from your planning meeting, take some time to answer a few “pre-work” questions before the meeting. Have an assistant collect the responses from your leadership team and then circulate the results to your planning meeting attendees. Here are some key questions to answer.
- What went right over the past 12 months?
- What went wrong over the past 12 months?
- What did we learn over the past 12 months?
- What are our greatest opportunities in 2019?
- What are our greatest challenges in 2019?
- What potential changes to our marketplace, business space, or customer base could affect the next 12 months?
- What are our main competitors up to? Do they have any best practices or new products or services that we can improve upon?
- Rate all of your direct reports on a scale of 1-10. Can we coach up any 6s or 7s? Are we sticking with too many average performers instead of replacing them with superstars?
- Imagine it’s 12 months from now, and we’re looking back on one of the most successful years in our company’s history. What happened that made the year such a huge success? What targets did we hit? What goals did we achieve?
The answers to these questions are the blueprint for your planning session agenda. Be honest, be realistic, and most importantly, be specific.
2. Use an outside facilitator for the meeting.
Look, I get it: delegating control of your company’s most important meeting seems counter-intuitive. But if you put your ego aside and participate in this planning session with your leadership team rather than try to facilitate, you’ll be sending a powerful message: I’m accountable too. In my experience, CEOs who allow a third-party to facilitate this meeting achieve greater buy-in from all employees and clearer targets for the year ahead. And if the facilitator is your coach, who already knows the ins and outs of your company, the process will be even more efficient.
Some nuts and bolts issues you’ll want to lock down with your facilitator ahead of time include:
- Logistics: Where, When, and using What supplemental materials.
- Agenda: Communicate the agenda so your team knows what to expect.
- Pre-Work: Communicate the results from the pre-work mentioned earlier and distribute any other prep questionnaires, surveys, or articles to your team.
- A/V: Any slide decks or videos you want the facilitator to present that will visualize key points or stimulate meaningful group discussions.
3. Develop your “wildly important goals” and the leading activities that will achieve them.
Set goals that will challenge you then determine the initiatives and leading activities that will almost guarantee you’ll hit those goals. And the word “leading” is key here. You want to determine the “leading” activity that starts the chain reaction of results and leads to your firm achieving its objective. Rank your goals and the initiatives but don’t go crazy here. Three key wildly important goals and several initiatives are plenty for most companies.
4. Finalize, communicate, and review progress on the plan.
The annual planning session requires three levels of commitment from the CEO: Planning the event, executing it, and following through on its key conclusions. Step 3 is critical and where mediocre companies and CEOs usually fail. At the end of the planning session, summarize the results and communicate it to the rest of your organization. Develop a regular meeting rhythm, such as a monthly review of the plan, and hold your team accountable for hitting the targets. Create and publish a scoreboard that clearly displays your progress toward achieving your goals and post it where all employees can see it. Do formal quarterly review meetings with your outside facilitator.
Remember, the goals that you set for 2019 should not just be about better sales figures or more total revenue. These goals are your vision for a company that top talent will be dying to work for. A company that lives and breathes a winning culture. A company that has a mission beyond profit.
In short, your goals should inspire everyone who’s working for you to make BIG happen in 2019.
About Mark Moses
Mark Moses is the Founding Partner of CEO Coaching International and the Amazon Bestselling author of Make Big Happen. His firm’s 17 world class coaches guide over 170 of the world’s top high-growth entrepreneurs and CEO’s from 22 countries on how to dramatically grow their revenues and profits, implement the most effective strategies, becoming better leaders, grow their people, build accountability systems, and elevate their own performance. Mark has won Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year award and the Blue Chip Enterprise award for overcoming adversity. His last company ranked #1 Fastest-Growing Company in Los Angeles as well as #10 on the Inc. 500 of fastest growing private companies in the U.S. He has completed 12 full distance Ironman Triathlons including the Hawaii Ironman World Championship 5 times.