Year End Strategic Planning - A Meditation

A good practice for executives is to stop long enough to look back on the year and determine what you intended, what changed, and where you arrived. 

I like to meet with my clients during fourth quarter budget planning to do this serious thinking. We sit down together to review the year that has passed and examine the state of the company. We look at what worked and what didn't work, and what we learned from each success and failure. It is a quiet time, often a reflective time. A meditation.

From this insight, we can plan forward. We reflect on the business strategy and assess the organization’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats as it relates to the most critical phases in the talent lifecycle:
  • Onboarding, integrating and developing new economy workers into organizations
  • Developing existing leaders to prepare them to move up, take on more responsibility, and guide the organization's growth
  • Planning for the succession of key positions by defining future state roles and developing talent pipelines to succeed outgoing generations
From here we can set appropriate goals that will achieve and accelerate the results of the business strategy. We prioritize our objectives and initiatives for the upcoming year, what they will cost, whether we have the right resources, and how many steps it will take to implement these goals.

Once we have approved budgets, we then go over the goals and initiatives that we outlined in our planning. We edit those goals to align with the budget we have been given, ensuring realistic expectations. The result is that we are able to determine what we can realistically and economically achieve to drive significant change and competitive advantage over next 12 months.

Some examples of goals that my clients are setting for the upcoming year revolve around:

  • Recruiting and retaining top talent in the face of increasing talent shortages
  • Improving the accountability, reliability and performance of younger workers
  • Increasing the ownership and commitment to corporate goals of midlevel managers
  • Developing leadership competencies among high potential employees at all levels
  • Executing the smooth succession plans for outgoing leadership
  • Empowering communication and productivity across all generations and business units
This quiet review of the year and strategic planning for the next develops discipline and strategic oversight for the organization, and, over time, becomes knowledge. This is deep knowledge: of ourselves, of the companies we serve, of the industries in which we work, and how all of this changes (or does not) over time, year after year.

This disciplined practice is also what drives and advances thought leadership and professional development in the Human Capital field. I recommend it.


Amy Hirsh Robinson, Principal, Interchange Group
Workforce Strategies for the New Economy

Upcoming Webinar: Succession Planning for the New Economy: Growing Your High Potential Pipeline for the Roles That Matter Most
Hosted by the Human Capital Institute
Live webinar on December 17 at 12:00pm PST
Webinar recasts on December 18 & 19