As we begin the last month of year (if not before), our thoughts usually turn to our goals and objectives, which sometimes take the form of resolutions, for the New Year. Just as we identify our personal goals for the coming year, associations might turn their attention to the best approaches for addressing their strategic priorities in 2016.
For many organizations, focusing on upcoming goals typically means making an annual plan. As Forbes.com contributors Bill Fotsch and John Case observe in their recent post, those words—annual plan—can “just drain the energy from the room.” Why? In too many organizations, creating the annual plan is an exclusive activity reserved for senior staff at a retreat instead of an inclusive one that involves stakeholders at all levels. Instead of an exclusive exercise, Fotsch and Case recommend a more “open-book” approach to the planning process that hinges on three best practices:
Let employees have a say. According to them, “asking employees for input treats them as partners in the business. It improves morale and boosts support for implementing the eventual plan.”
Consider customer feedback. “A company that ignores customer input is missing a big opportunity to pull off a dynamite year,” Fotsch and Case wrote.
Educate employees about economics. Fotsch and Case note that “open-book companies teach their [employees] the basics of the business’s economics, so employees come to understand the difference between nice-to-have frill and profitable investment.”
In addition to these best practices, perhaps the authors’ most important observation in mind is that “good data, coming from engaged employees and customers, makes all the difference” in an effective annual planning process. It's ‘tis the season to plan, so consider ways to make the experience a positive one for everyone at your association.