Here is a sequence leading to a fully developed financial plan that the CEO, top team, broader leadership team, board, and employees all buy-in to achieving:
Senior Team (SMT) takes the broader leadership offsite to review where we were, where we are, and where we’re headed, what we’re proud of and what we need to work on next following the script laid out here. In this forum take both a high-level top-down and beginning to form a bottom up view of the financial plan but it’s not mostly about the numbers…it’s more about strategy…what’s working, what’s not, what is possible, what do we want to do, and what are we going to do. This sets the context for the top down aspirational view of the future to iterate and come together with the bottom up view during the detail planning.
The SMT briefs the board in the fall meeting to share how the current year is turning out, status on key initiatives, and to proffer/review/tweak planning guidance for next year.
Then All Hands meeting communicates the where we were, where we are, and where we’re headed with the full backing and support of the SMT, broader leadership team, and the board. Note how it all cascades down from CEO to SMT to Broader Leadership Team to Board to Company as a Whole, building an ever broadening base of support for what the CEO carries as a vision and direction.
Then the bottom-up planning begins in earnest with each unit of major responsibility preparing and reviewing with the CEO how they’ve done, what they’re working on next, and how things will be going forward. The sum of these needs to be greater than the plan because everything never goes right. The CEO and SMT build a picture of the top-down that is rationalized by the bottom up and they iterate to be in sync with next year’s financial plan which is adjudicated relative to the heuristic that an acceptable plan should have NSR=Firm (i.e., B&HP) + 1/3(highly qualified pipeline for the upcoming year)
The spring All Hands is to inform everyone how things are going and to engage the whole company in whatever it is working on.
The spring SMT offsite is just the top team to bond, assess, refresh, and get a common sense for each other, how things are going, and where things are headed.