The new year is right around the corner. Is your department really ready? Or what we think of as ready for the unveiling of new strategic plans and a flurry of shared PowerPoint slides, that possibly re-hash what you did last year?

Stop right there.

Before everyone leaves for the holidays and returns with the “same old, same old” approach to rolling out new plans and tactics to all employees, Corporate Path Leadership asks that you pause and think about this question:


How can you tell a compelling story about the plans for 2020 that will capture both the attention and imagination of your team?


We suggest three simple ideas to help frame up a strong story for next year that will get your team excited to support the 2020 strategic plan.

#1 – Discuss Your Biggest Failure From 2019

On the surface, this seems like a terrible idea! Who wants to go back and revisit a lost opportunity, a project that went haywire, etc.? The reality is that there are far more powerful learnings from the biggest failures – beyond blaming individuals or teams involved. How can the team/department/company avoid situations like these losses in 2020 without understanding the root causes?

Key Takeaway: Have an honest discussion with the team about the setback. Thinking about how positive learning can be applied for the future, to ensure those losses don’t happen again, is a great way to garner attention and apply those learnings to the new year’s strategic plan. It’s also a great way to reinvigorate the team with a new approach that relates to the story for 2020.

#2 – Discuss The Biggest Shift In The Market In the Last 12 Months

One of the most significant challenges to any business is missing the opportunity to capitalize on a new trend, or missing a new competitive threat before it was too late. Everyone may receive copies of research reports and news bulletins, but it is more rare for a team to talk about the impact of changes in the market.

Key Takeaway: Rather than continue to merely copy and send out reports to the team, take time in December and January to talk about 1-2 key market changes from the past year. Discuss how those changes are going to impact the new year’s story – both in the thinking and planning process, as well as what will need to be done differently to capitalize on these change(s)?

#3 – Identify the Biggest Challenge Ahead

Every strategic plan has sections that are relatively straight-forward and easy to accomplish. On the other hand, there are always those sections that are viewed by some as “impossible” to achieve. A great way to have a constructive, strategic planning session is to focus in on one of those hard-to-achieve objectives or strategies. You’ll be surprised at the ideas that start emerging when people are given the challenge to work together to go after a lofty goal. Capture those ideas and get everyone excited to run with them!

Key Takeaway: Have an honest conversation with the team about a hard challenge. Acknowledge the fact that it will be hard, but also discuss why it is important to accomplish, and ask them to use their imagination to suggest ways everyone can work together to make it happen.

We hope all of our partners and readers a terrific holiday season and we encourage you all to think about how you can take some of these ideas and use them to bring energy and enthusiasm to a new year, and a new goals and strategies roll out process!

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