It is clear to our team that carving out even one day to plan was challenging for most practices, so creating an agenda for that day might easily be overlooked. With that in mind, here is a nudge to action, and some simple tips to ensure you plan and execute a productive 2015 practice planning meeting.

  • First, the nudge. Before you read further, take out your calendar. Where do you see 4 hours to spare? If “nowhere” is the answer, ask yourself, what are the least important 4 hours that can be rescheduled to make time to plan an entire year of your business life? Can a surgery be moved back a day? Can a Saturday morning be spared this year? Of course, next year, you’ll plan better by putting the annual planning meeting in your calendar at this year’s planning meeting. In other words, if you don’t have time to spend four hours planning your next year, re-prioritizing priorities. Consider yourself nudged…
  • Tips for planning. So you have now set aside some time to plan your next year. Here are some suggestions and considerations to ensure you have a great event:
    • Make sure the event is in early to mid-November – this will ensure you have time to do the legwork for 2015 implementation. Early December will suffice, but try for sooner.
    • Invite the entire team, for at least the goal-setting portion. Then, keep at least your manager and sales team with you to review numbers and set specific accountability.
    • Have an agenda. Print it in advance. It might look something like this:
      1. Welcome – positive annual updates. (10 minutes)
      2. Goal Setting – review monthly numbers, set goals by month (30 minutes)
      3. Review areas of opportunity – each person contributes one thing they will personally improve and one thing they hope to see the team improve. (20 minutes)
      4. Review areas of strength – see above flipped upside down (20 minutes)
      5. Contest announcement (10 minutes)
      6. Manager Meeting – rest of team leaves:
        1. Review staffing, likely needs, budget (20 minutes)
        2. Review plan to cut costs where necessary (20 minutes)
        3. Review marketing, advertising, and web costs (30 minutes)
        4. Review options for reinvesting in lead generation, staffing, etc. (15 minutes)
        5. Plan out monthly email blasts, themes, promotions, content (Mother’s Day, Labor Day, 4th of July, Father’s Day, holidays, etc.) (20 minutes)
        6. Assign task leaders for accountability for all decisions made at the meeting (15 minutes)
        7. Manager contest announcement and recognition for 2014 (10 minutes)
      7. Team event (if time allows) – bond outside of the office over a meal or order pizza. Create buy-in and say thanks

While this outline can be greatly expanded, it is imperative that you at least hold a meeting. A simple outline like the one provided coupled with time together as a team will result in growth. If in years to come you can build upon what was accomplished in your initial planning meeting, even better. Don’t forget to focus on execution by staying on-time and on-topic, setting accountability, and creating true team buy-in. You will then have a month or two to take those tasks and action steps and ensure you are poised for a break-out 2015.

The future is bright. These ARE the good ‘ol days. Take advantage by taking time to plan. Back in Miami, rest assured that Team YellowTelescope is planning and thinking big. Our early November email blast you are currently reading was planned a year ago. Our executive team had its planning meeting in September to ensure we are way ahead and available to work with our existing clientele late this year. Our YT seminar slides for October of next year are currently being updated and our travel for June is already being booked. And it feels great! Through planning, we spend time on projects that are “important, but not yet urgent”, while our competitors spend time on things that have become “urgent and important,” which is when things slip through the cracks and quality decreases. We wish you a productive and successful annual planning meeting and an impressive start to 2015.