Plan to Make Next Year a Great One

As the year wraps up, managers have a lot on their plates – hosting holiday events at and for the business, managing staff vacation requests and personal holiday plans.  Most organizations are also undertaking some kind of planning for 2013. To get you going I’m providing you with my own Strategic Planning Cheat Sheet that I happen to be using right now.

A great place to start off your planning for the year generally involves reviewing last year’s goals and seeing what was accomplished and what needs to carry over to ensure completion. As you take a deep dive into your past year, use these perspectives to bring a bit more into the process.

  1. If you haven’t already celebrated your successes, be sure to do it now.  That doesn’t mean everyone gets a trip to Hawaii or that you have champagne flowing in the employee break room.  We recently completed an important company project and held a simple celebration with special snacks to congratulate the project team on their good work.
  2. Assess what items from last year’s priority list still need attention. There was some reason that you had this on your list at the beginning of the year. Determine what more you need to do to get it done.  You want to finish the year at a good pace with great accomplishments in place.
  3. Before getting started on plans for next year, consider whether business conditions have changed and adjust as needed. This is also a good time to look at whether your company faces any new competition from new products or new players in your market space.  While the health care reform initiatives don’t kick in for everyone until 2014, doing some planning for any changes your organization may want to make is still a good idea for 2013. 
  4. Sometimes a fresh approach makes all the difference.  Don’t forget to review your successes and failures as a team by doing post-mortems on your original plan. Be careful they don’t turn into blame sessions. Assess openly, how did they go? What did you learn? Write it down for posterity’s sake and share with others. It would be such a waste to repeat any failures you could’ve side stepped in 2013. 
  5. Don’t overlook the little things in your planning.  Do you have all the tools you need ordered and in place to start the year off on the right foot?  Do the 2012 files need to be boxed up to make room for 2013?  Do you need your people to complete new W-4s for the new year?  The IRS 2013 forms weren’t available on their website when I submitted this blog – I hope we are all a bit more prepared for 2013 than they are!  Do update your contact list annually.
  6. Finally, tackle the big issues and create the tactics to get you to your goal.  This is the time to assign resources, discuss budgets and establish benchmarks and deadlines.  Don’t forget to incorporate any information gained from items 3 and 4 above.

Even if you are part of a larger organization that handles the strategic initiatives for you, you still have location-specific concerns that require your manager’s eye and attention. Be sure you are working to support any new corporate objectives that are in the works.  Following the steps above will help you greet the new year with new focus, energy, and confidence.

By, Nancy Lane, Human Resource Manager at Red Book Solutions and B2A, LLC – 30 years of experience in education, medical imaging, oil & gas and business services.


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