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Les McKeown's Predictable Success Blog

  • October 13, 2006
  • minute read

How To Make Your End-of-Year Planning Truly Valuable 

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Let’s face it, most end-of-year (or so-called ‘strategic’) planning isn’t very good. 

The process is clunky, avoided or postponed until the last moment, dreaded by those who have to dredge up the figures, and worst of all, rarely bears any relationship to the real issues faced by the organization. 

Here’s how to make it sing.

Tactics Can Be Your Enemy

In the search for Predictable Success, the worst aspect of much year-end planning is that it is relentlessly tactical, concentrating on the detail of numbers and budgets, and is not sufficiently strategic, failing to focus on the real threats and opportunities faced by the organization.

I’m not going to suggest that you forgo the tactical, ‘numbers and budgets-based’ aspect of your year-end planning, but what I do suggest is that you redeem the end-of-year planning process: embrace it, welcome it — make it your friend.

Strategy Is Your Friend

You do this by adding a strong dose of strategic planning about your Predictable Success: how to attain it, keep it, improve it.

Think about this: what other time of year provides the opportunity to think strategically without being under constant pressure to perform on a daily, hour-by hour basis?

The year-end planning cycle brings an ‘approved’ haven for real, genuine, strategic planning for Predictable Success.

However, even strategic planning doesn’t add up to much if it is un- or mis-directed. Don’t get me wrong – there’s no secret to strategic planning — it’s not rocket science, despite what management gurus would have us believe.

Here’s How To Do It

Forget all the strategic planning definitions you’ve read. There are just two parts to good quality strategic planning:

  • Asking the right questions, and
  • Getting (or giving) the best answers.
Asking strategic questions isn’t difficult, in principle. What is difficult is to raise yourself above the mundane, the legacy of this year, the temptation to rationalize and explain, the ego that wants to admit few problems…These, and a hundred other distractions impede us from being truly strategic in an objective, unbiased, real-world kinda way.That’s why, often, we have better strategic planning sessions with someone else – an outsider or consultant – facilitating the discussions. They prod us to go further, to take off the blinkers, and to stay real.Two Resources To Help YouHere are two resources to help you make the most of your end-of-year planning cycle (each opens in a new browser window):
  1. Predictable Success Fact Sheet: My Top 10 Personal Year End Strategic Planning Questions
  2. TELECLASS: Year-End Strategic Planning That Works: Wednesday October 25, Noon (EST)


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