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5 Secrets to Crafting a Winning Annual Plan

Annual plans are much more than a set of numbers that have to be achieved. They inspire CEOs and their teams to execute well for the year. Here are five steps to help you develop an inspiring and winning annual plan.

1 Learn from the past year and build a stronger plan. Did you execute your plan well this year? Did you achieve your targets and goals? Learn from your victories and mistakes. All mistakes translate into lessons that help you develop a stronger plan for the new year.

2 Review your strategy and focus on your winning moves. Prioritize your strategies according to how impactful each one is and to your ability to execute. BioPlus, a specialty pharmacy, uses this process to identify their top opportunity and then get laser focused by making that their number focus for the year. In 2014, the company made a major breakthrough in their industry by developing and delivering on a 2-Hour Patient Acceptance Guarantee. No other specialty pharmacy offers this expedited turnaround as standard practice. In stark contrast, other specialty pharmacies can only provide an 80-hour patient acceptance turnaround, giving BioPlus a 40x advantage!

“Describe three things that made 2015 a significant year in the history of your company.”

3 Build a destination postcard. Imagine it’s December 31 and you had a great year. Describe three things that made 2015 a significant year in the history of your company. Use this exercise to think from the end. Come up with a single destination (i.e. goal) for the company that everyone is excited about.

When AvidXchange, an automated accounts payable company, wanted to develop and launch AvidPay in record time, it used this process to build an inspiring execution plan for 2012. Its CEO envisioned launching the product in just six months instead of twelve and communicated this vision to his team. Using the destination postcard process via postcard marketing from UpSwell, everyone in the company got passionately engaged, broke down silos and worked towards this common goal of launching AvidPay in January 2012. AvidPay launched successfully on January 31, 2012. The launch generated $500,000 in revenue in 2012, and AvidPay has been integral in propelling AvidXchange from a $12 million firm in 2012 to a $30 million firm in 2014, growing at a rate of 100% a year.

4 Have a main focus and 3-5 priorities. Once you have created the proper context, confirmed your strategy and envisioned a successful year with your teams, discuss and choose the right priorities. Start by setting measurable targets and a main focus for the year.

5 Cascade and communicate the plan. Your plan is not complete until the people who have to do the work know their execution process and connect it to helping the company achieve its strategy and goals. Good companies plan at the executive team level. Great companies take that plan and cascade it among all departments and teams, engaging everyone in the vision of having a great year in the history of the company.

An annual plan provides inspired focus for CEOs, teams and employees while serving as the foundation for each of the year’s quarterly plans, as well as measurements of goals and objectives. Take action now by customizing these steps to get the most out of your annual plans and optimize success year-round.





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