What Happens When You Skip Annual Planning?

A group of explorers was working its way through a jungle, hacking through thick underbrush.

Exhausted after several hours, they stopped to rest. Looking around, the brush was so thick they could only see tree trunks, leaves, and vines as the tunnel they had cleared curved out of sight.  It was so thick they hadn’t even realized they weren’t traveling in a straight line.

One young explorer said, “I have an idea. Why don’t we climb a tree so we can see where we’ve been and where we are going?”

When they climbed high enough to see, they became furious. All their hard work had been wasted effort, for they had made an almost complete circle.

Running a business sometimes feels like being caught in a jungle. And even if you’re trying to be careful, it can be easy to get so occupied with hacking away at the day-to-day obstacles that you lose track of your direction.

If you run on EOS®, you help keep control of the jungle using what we call the Meeting Pulse™.  It consists of the weekly Level 10 Meeting™, quarterly planning sessions, and most importantly, the annual planning session (“the Annual”).

The Most Important Meeting Of The Year

The Annual is the most important meeting of your year because it’s when you climb the tree to see where you’ve been and where you are going.

It is a time when you and your senior leaders celebrate your accomplishments, strengthen your team relationships, and work together to set the course for your company’s future.

In “normal” times, I would say that if you are inclined to skip a full-blown annual planning session and just do your planning at the office, don’t give in to the temptation. The quality of the meetings will not be the same and you won’t get nearly the bang for your buck by skipping the team-building activities. I’ve had clients who were skeptical about the benefits of a retreat, but I’ve never had anyone regret doing it after holding one.

Amid a pandemic, I still say don’t give in to the temptation not to hold an Annual.  As I wrote in my EOS Company’s Guide to Surviving Coronavirus, it’s more important than ever to stay disciplined and focused.

If you are a remote team or you can’t get your team together because someone is in quarantine, there are still ways to do an effective annual planning “retreat” online.  There are hundreds of ways to do “virtual” team-building activities that are actually fun!

Here are a few ideas and resources to get your creative juices flowing:

These are just a few of the resources available online to help you and your team connect with one another when you can’t be in the same room.  It may be a challenge to schedule the time, but bite the bullet and do what it takes to make it happen.  If you do, there will be a lot less hacking through the underbrush in your future, and you’ll move in straighter lines toward your ultimate goals.

Previously published on the DeWitt LLC blog

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