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Elate puts everything you need to build your Strategic Plan right at your fingertips. From setting your long-term vision and annual goals to tracking quarterly objectives, it’s never been easier to create a plan that helps you reach your goals.
Rather than working out of dozens of spreadsheets or endless presentations, Elate helps you build a simple, intuitive plan that can be easily shared with team members.
The annual strategic planning process can be overwhelming, especially for those strategy and operations leaders at early stage high growth companies attempting to introduce structure to chaos. But in working with hundreds of high growth companies and some of the best strategy and operations leaders, it's important to realize that when done well, Strategic Planning can be a catalyst for growth.
Rather than relying on a dated, templated McKinsey strategy on a page example or some static free OKR tool, we recommend you think of Strategic Planning as a competitive advantage more than simply a box that needs to be checked.
If your company is coming up on the annual planning stage as a business, then we're here to help.
For those that might not be familiar with Elate and why we are so passionate about Annual Strategic Planning, well, let us share a bit about our background.
Elate was born out of the pain our founding team experienced in strategy and operations roles at past high growth companies. After leading Strategic Planning efforts, building OKR frameworks, and trying just about every goal-setting framework and performance management tool under the sun, our founders decided to simply build the platform they needed.
A Strategic Planning platform built by strategy and operations leaders for strategy and operations leaders.
Today, we'll share how Elate can help as you set out on your journey to build the best Strategic Plan for your company.
The annual strategic planning process should begin by aligning your team on the long-term vision for the company. For so many strategy and operations leaders, they want to jump directly into executing or building out their annual plan or quarterly goals.
Before you jump directly into what next year looks like, first look 3, 5, and even 10 years out for where the company is heading. This is a great time to either affirm the company's mission, vision, and values or build them for the first time. But setting your company vision, mission, and values is a crucial part to your annual planning framework.
From there, now we can start to outline what success looks like this year, and how reaching our annual goals aligns with our long-term vision. At Elate, we often recommend setting these annual goals as company Themes.
Often these are the Sales, Customer Success, or even culture-centric rallying cries for your company. It is how we are defining success, and in turn, measuring our company's performance. When thinking about annual planning best practices, this is another step in the process that is often overlooked.
Once we've built our Themes and aligned our team's on the long-term vision for the company, now we can apply the annual planning best practices we often see around setting milestones and measures of success.
For many companies, this part of the process consists of selecting and implementing a goal-setting framework. Whether you choose OKRs, V2MOM, EOS, 4DX, or any other goal-setting framework, it's crucial that you communicate the 'why' behind the operating framework itself and how it helps the company achieve long-term success.
One of the most common goal-setting frameworks we see at Elate is the OKR methodology. OKRs stand for Objectives and Key Results, and this goal-setting methodology was made popular by John Doerr's book, 'Measure What Matters.'
Once you've selected your company's framework, now comes the difficult part: executing. And this part requires commitment from your team, and an established operating cadence to drive accountability across the business.
This execution should then be reviewed and the learnings, both successes and failures, applied to how your company continues to evolve your "annual planning" framework and operating cadence.
Your Annual Plan template can be as simple as outlining the Annual Strategic Planning Process listed above. The Annual Planning process steps should include each of the following:
- Establish your company's 3, 5, and 10-year vision. Each of these time periods should have measurable milestones that ultimately lead to success and the company reaching it's long-term vision.
- Set Annual Themes. These should be the 1-year objectives your company is setting out to achieve in your drive towards long-term success. They should align with the 3, 5, and 10-year vision for the company, but be applied in the company annual plan template as the areas of focus that help determine quarterly OKRs or other goals.
- Define Q1 goals. Whether you use OKRs, V2MOM, EOS, 4DX, or any other goal-setting framework, you should be setting goals that align to your annual themes. Obviously, you will have annual goals that align with your Themes, but start by rolling out your first quarter goals. This will help roll out OKRs or other goals to employees, and allow your teams to stay focused on the key initiatives and areas of focus that lead to success and get your year off to a great start.
Applying this Annual Plan template to your company can come in the form of a free annual plan template or annual plan pdf, but to maximize visibility, alignment, and collaboration, look into investing in a solution that helps power your Strategic Plan.
After walking through the Annual Plan template, now let's outline an Annual Plan example and how to roll out the Strategic Plan to your team.
First, let's make sure we have our 3, 5, and 10-year visions clearly outlined. Do we have a clear objective outlined for each of those milestones? Similarly, do we have a measurable way to determine success for reaching those milestones?
If so, then we can move onto setting our Annual Themes. Again, these are often Sales, Customer Success, or even culture-centric objectives aimed at setting milestones for the company on our way to reaching the long-term vision.
Finally, have we broken out those Annual Themes into quarterly objectives or goals that build into reaching the Annual Theme? In setting these OKRs or objectives, we need to ensure they are aligned with our annual strategic planning process and allow us to hit our goals for the year.
With each of these parts of the process now complete, we can shift into rolling out our Annual Strategic Plan.
Remember that your company's Strategic Plan and the communication of that plan is your commitment to employees in providing clear, transparent direction for the company. With that being said, it's crucial you bring employees along for the journey of what you and your team are looking to build.
This is why it’s imperative that you engage with Team Leaders and Managers as you are building and rolling out your Strategic Plan. By empowering Team Leaders and Managers, you help arm them with the context and resources to bring along their team members in a way that can bring your Strategic Plan to life.
Often the process of engaging with Team Leaders and Managers starts in the final quarter of your fiscal year, but comes into the final form at the start of the new year. From this point, we can think about rolling out the Annual Strategic Plan at our company's annual kickoff. This is a great way to capture the momentum from this event, and ensure your entire company is aligned heading into the new year.
So for those strategy and operations leaders looking for a solution to help build, execute, and review their Annual Strategic Plan, we're here to help.
Rather than leveraging an outdated, static McKinsey business plan template or a OKR tool that limits adoption and engagement with employees, think about maximizing how your employees leverage a solution in a way to power the insights and information shared across every level of the business.
At Elate, we believe that Strategic Planning done well has to have three parts: People, Process, and Tools. Simply relying on McKinsey strategic planning documents or other static annual planning pdfs won't provide you with the opportunity to introduce Strategic Planning as a catalyst for growth at your company.
If you'd like to learn more about how Elate is powering growth for today's leading high growth companies and strategy and operations leaders, reach out to our team today! We'd love to share more on how our platform can help as you scale your annual Strategic Planning process.