Hello, world! It’s been obvious that I got busy the past month. September and October every year is usually a busy season for me at work. It’s the busiest, but as an organizational sustainability advocate, it’s also the most enjoyable and fulfilling for me, serving our team in our annual strategic and budget planning. Yes, we do those too! We have to be aligned as a team with what God wants to happen for the following year, and we have to be good stewards of anything and everything He has endorsed to us. Let me share with you an overview of what we do. I appreciate how through the years, we’ve been able to systematize how we go about the planning, yet there’s flexibility to adjust depending on where we are.
This is usually done in three (3) days, covering the following:
- 3rd Quarter Review
- Top 3-5 Things We Need to Accomplish Next Year
- Overall Direction and Top-down Goals
- Department Plan Presentation
1. 3rd Quarter Review
We do a quarterly review of everything we committed to do for the year. Each department reports where we are, what’s next, any help needed, and any adjustments to the approved plans. The 3rd quarter review gives us an almost complete picture of the current year, which provides some ground data for what we want to happen the following year.
2. Top 3-5 Things We Need to Accomplish Next Year
This can happen in the afternoon after doing the 3rd Quarter Review in the morning. Usually, this is when metacards come in. Each person writes down what s/he thinks are the top 3-5 things we need to accomplish the following year, in light of the following:
- 3rd quarter review: What we have already accomplished so far and what we’re expecting to accomplish for the rest of the year
- Our dreams: We have strategically agreed on these about 3 years ago (will post more about this in the future)
- Our standard operating objectives: The bare minimums that we should be accomplishing regardless of the season of the organization (will also post more about this later on)
- Where God wants to take us / what God wants to do: This, we get by prayer, both individually and as a team
We then group the answers together, discuss the outcome, and agree on the final 3-5 things. We do not go beyond 5 as apart from these, we need to attend to our regular deliverables throughout the year.
3. Overall Direction and Top-down Goals
We usually set a different day for this, around 3-7 days after Day 1 of the annual planning. Based on experience, at least for our team, we need a few days to let the previous discussion sink in, pray about it all the more, and then gather to agree on them again or to make necessary adjustments. (It’s like reheating adobo… it gets better after each cooking!)
This is when all Department Heads gather to agree on what our overall direction for the following year would be, basing it from Day 2’s output. Some call this the “thematic goal.” We then go through each department to see if there are any goals the heads need the department to include in their planning. It’s possible that there are top-down goals for some departments and none for others.
Depending on the season that we’re in, this can take the whole day. Other times, the Department Heads meet in the morning and the afternoon is used for each department to meet and kick-off their department planning.
4. Department Plan Presentation
After Day 2, we send a department plan template to each department and share with everyone the overall direction and any goals a specific department need to include in their plan, if any. The department gets around 2 weeks to plan, after which we gather as a team where we reiterate our dreams, standard operating objectives, and overall direction for the following year. This is then followed by each department presenting their department plan. The plans are presented, discussed, adjusted, and approved in this meeting.
Tip: We recommend each department to submit their department plan at least 3 days before the meeting. This gives time for initial review, adjustments, consolidation of plans with other departments, and to ensure that we’ll all be on the same page for the meeting. This saves us a lot of time during the presentation itself.
We usually finish all the departments in the morning.
We then do our January to December (of the following year) calendar in the afternoon. Each department is ready with a list of their events and their preferred month for each event. Since we have a department that runs classes throughout the year as an operational deliverable, we place their schedule in the calendar before the meeting. We all then workaround their schedule and plot our events accordingly.
We do a 2-3 hour Budget Kick-off Meeting with the budget point persons per department. This is where we discuss the purpose and importance of budget planning, budget directions for the following year, reminders, best practices, and the templates each person will be using to come up with the budget plans.
The budget point persons are given 1-2 weeks to do their budget plans. Since everything they need to do the budgeting has been agreed on (direction, goals, plans, calendar), it usually just takes a week for them to finish this.
Their plans are sent in for initial review and adjustments before the budget plans are consolidated and the Executive Team discusses the overall plan. We make final adjustments based on the executive direction, and present the proposed plan to the head office.
Believe it or not, I had to consider this when we decided on our wedding date! We decided to get married on October 25, primarily because of our chosen venue’s availability, which was perfect since by then, we have already submitted our proposed budget plan to the head office. I take a leave, and when I get back, it’s usually time to prepare for the budget presentation. The schedule works out perfectly! ?
I hope this helps! If you’re from church, pray with and for us throughout our annual planning season! ?
I am the happy wife of my happy husband, Pao. We are overly grateful that I am now 18 weeks pregnant with our second child (at least 2 more weeks before we find out the gender!!!). I am the author of the book, When God Could’ve But He Didn’t, which is available in ebook at Amazon/Kindle, and will be available in paperback edition very soon!