Let’s look at what you may want to do to make sure you’re getting off to a good start of the new year.

Annual work plan

You may have created an annual work plan already last year, when you were preparing your annual budget and work plan for approval by the board.

Is it operational?

Even so, you may want to check that your plan is operational. Is it concrete enough that everyone knows what to do when, for at least Q1 of the new year? Does everyone on your team have concrete milestones and actions to get going?

Is it still up to date?

Check also that your plan is still up to date. Maybe something changed in your team, your organization or the outside world in the meantime. And maybe that has an impact on what you should do or how you can do the things you planned.

And if you did not have a plan

If you did not create an annual work plan already, now is a great moment to create one! Dream up a big juicy ambitious goal that you want to have achieved by 31 December. Make sure you can see it in your mind’s eye. That you FEEL what it will feel like if you get there.

Next, break this down into doable bits. Formulate what you must have achieved by 30 September to be ready for your year-end goal. Define what you must have achieved by 30 June, to be ready to 30 September. Describe what you need to have in place by 31 March to be ready for 30 June. What do you need to have accomplish by 28 February? And by 31 January? What does that mean for this week?

And – what does it mean for each of your team member’s task list? Divide tasks among the team members in a joint planning workshop session.

Be SMART

Make sure you formulate all your goals in the SMART way: specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time bound.

Or to put it more simply: describe all your goals in a way that you can explain to someone else in ONE sentence what they will be able to SEE, HEAR or TOUCH on 31 January (etc.).

Set up your accountability

Now that you have a smart plan that is up to date and operational, where tasks are divided among the team, you need to make sure it is implemented.

That means you need to make sure that the team shares what they have done, challenges they face, questions that get them stuck, etc.

Often, we think that meetings are the answer.

And they can be.

But it really depends on how you conduct and manage the meetings. (But that is for another article)

So, in addition to having meetings, make sure you create a wall of fame in your office or online with a tool like Padlet or Miro. Ask your team to post there every time they finish something and every time they run into a question. Make sure everyone checks the wall at least once per day. Be a role model in using the wall, without becoming intimidating.

My key tips

  • Plan celebrations for each small or big success achieved and for each milestone.
  • Update the work plan at least quarterly to be sure that changed internal or external circumstances are taken into account.

 

Want to know more and ask questions?

If you want to discuss this more – jump into the Facebook group and get input from a wide range of peers and from myself!

Here is how you can join my free Facebook group

You can join my free Facebook group how to become a professional and resilient nonprofit with Suzanne Bakker here. This group is a safe space for open exchange and discussion on potentially sensitive topics like boards, nonprofit management, fundraising, etc.