The most critical place to start when thinking about Operational Planning for 2020 is defining the vision and mission of your company. If this is something that’s never been done before within your organisation, then it’s well worth the exercise. If it’s been a while, then it’s worth reviewing and revising to keep it current.

Once the mission and vision is clear, it will give great visibility and purpose from the top-down and the bottom up. 

The next step is to define what objectives are going to help you and your team get closer to this vision and mission. Limit the list of defined objectives to those that are going to make the biggest difference for the next 12 months. Make sure these are clear with a defined start and endpoint, objectives should also be measurable so it is clear when these objectives have been achieved.

From there objectives should layer down into projects. These are the actions and initiatives that are intended to ensure objectives are achieved. Under each objective, list below it a set of projects, for each project you can break down clear milestones into 90-day deliverables. Then assign these to your key department leaders to manage and report back on. 

It’s important to give departments within the company a realistic plan for completing projects and support for achieving desired outcomes. If leadership is unclear on areas that are critical to improving performance or results how can we expect the rest of the business to understand what needs to happen to achieve the established goals. Resources and support will also need to be included in plans to ensure that people and processes can be improved as needed to achieve the goals set out.

The key to executing on your strategic objectives becomes accountability and regular communication on the progress towards the completion of projects and objectives. If you can keep your teams on track, and keep objectives visible, you are well on your way to a successful 2020.