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Annual Strategy and Planning Offsite


It pays to plan how to prepare the organization’s annual business and operating plans. Some key tips are below.

Click the figure above to see a Work Plan for the annual strategy update and operating plan preparation.
Strategy is How You Plan to Win the Game You are Playing
  • Separate Strategy from Operations.
  • The Strategic Plan and the Operating Plan are two distinct outcomes of a well-conceived annual planning process.
  • Ask each leader to work with their team to prepare a Strategic Plan for their assigned area of responsibility.
  • Review their Strategic Plan to ask questions to gain clarity and to push up thinking, give guidance, and add to the evolving overall Strategy for the entire organization.

Ask each leader to work with their team to prepare an Operating Plan for similar review, questioning, and guiding.

The Strategic Plan is short, high-level, and prepared from the top-down. It covers:

  • What the organization is trying to accomplish including WHAT the company provides, to WHOm, and WHY buyers choose to do business with the company.
  • How things are now, why they need to change, and how things will be once intended change has occurred.
  • Strategic initiatives to address what has to be done differently to move from the Current to target Next State.

Except for the current year initiatives, the Strategic Plan does not change much from year to year.

It is best to work on strategy and then reconvene to discuss operations after a separate effort to sort out how to implement the strategy.

Formulate and review strategic plans separate and apart from operations. Once conversation moves from strategy to operations it is difficult to then lift up and get back to discussing strategy.

The Operating Plan is more detailed and is prepared from the bottom up.

It covers:

  • How the organization will do what it does.
  • How the organization will create demand for what it does.
  • How the organization will grow.
  • How well the organization is doing relative to its past, plan, and peers.
  • How current year strategic initiatives are to be implemented.
The sum total of what each leader plans to do must at least equal, and ideally exceed, the overall plan.

Each leader drafts their Page-of-the-Plan to show how s/he will do what the organization is counting on from her/him to achieve the planned financial results, accomplish the strategic initiatives, and lay the foundation for future years.


Annual Process
Annual Planning Offsite POAD
How to Run a Great Annual Planning Offsite

Intelligent Strategies. Successful Ventures.