Planning takes Practice
Last week, we had our 2-day planning retreat at Art's cottage, better known as the North Office.
We have a lot of fun at these meetings and they require our full attention and engagement. After all, if we want to achieve our TPC vision, there is work to be done!
How is your planning going?
We've certainly had a lot of experience with planning whether it be within our TPC team or when coaching advisory teams with their own planning.
While it's still fresh in our minds, we want to share some impactful planning tips that we make a point of utilizing at our meetings. You can implement these into your advisory practice as well.
1. Start with progress
We make a point to discuss accomplishments at the beginning of the meeting in order to start on a positive note and ensure an energized discussion. Many individuals focus on what didn't get done rather than progress. It's about progress, not perfection.
Later, we talk about our annual plan and where we are compared to plan. Are we ahead, behind or on plan? Then, we outline actions required for the team and each individual to continue to make progress in the fall.
2. Achieve clarity and focus
Next, our team takes turns talking about what each of us hope to achieve at the meeting. We revisit any action items from previous planning meetings. We have 2 planning meetings each year. Anything we do not have time to discuss, gets moved onto the agenda for our next monthly meeting. We have 12 of these meetings each year.
3. The most powerful plans are written down
Our Operations Manager, Sue Block takes notes in our meetings and highlights all action items as well as whom is assigned to that action item. These details go on the first page of the meeting notes. The notes are shared across the team and stored on our TPC server so they can be reviewed at any time. We hold each other accountable to the plan and provide support when required.
4. Accountability and assigned homework
This year, we asked team members to review the Stop Start Continue exercise, coming prepared to share their ideas of what strategies fall into each of these 3 categories. We also asked our coaches to come prepared to discuss their individual marketing plans. We send out a number of documents to review before the meeting so we can get right into the discussion. Preparation work helps make sure everyone is organized and ready for the meeting.
5. Get creative with agenda and meeting chairperson
Each team member contributes to the agenda and is prepared to lead the discussion on their topics. Everyone reviews the agenda prior to the meeting. We change agenda chairperson occasionally. This helps avoid the meeting becoming monotonous. Everyone has a different style so they add their own personalized touch to the meeting while adjusting the format of the agenda given the current planning initiatives.
6. Consider your entire business plan
Go deeper. In our meetings, we discuss strategy for the next 3-5 years, even for the next 10 years. Then, we review what tactics need to be implemented within the next 6-12 months to gain momentum in the right direction.
7. Have fun and build relationships
We make it a priority to spend time together relaxing after the meeting and having a group dinner. This is when team members get a chance to have meaningful one-on-one conversations and reconnect on a personal level as well.