Most people, and most organizations for that matter, don’t lack ideas. Whether they’re effective marketing techniques, sales ideas, cost-cutting measures, or customer service enhancements, there are always more ideas than you can effectively implement. The breakdown is not in knowing, but in applying.
One of the things that gets in the way of individuals and organizations achieving their best is the annual planning process. As strange as this is going to sound, annual goals and plans are often a barrier to high performance. I’m not saying that annual goals and plans don’t have a positive impact; they do. There is no question you will do better with annual goals and plans than without any goals or plans; however, we have found that this annual process inherently limits performance.
As we worked with clients over the years, we noticed an interesting pattern emerging. Most of them believed, either consciously or unconsciously, that their success and failure was determined by what they had achieved over the course of a year. They set annual goals, created annual plans, and in many cases broke the goals down into quarterly, monthly, and sometimes even weekly plans. But in the end, they evaluated their success annually. The trap is what we call annualized thinking.
At the heart of annualized thinking is an unspoken belief that there is plenty of time in ...