8 Tips to Help Your Team During Annual Operational Planning (AOP)

Surviving Annual Operational Planning: Part 2.

One of the largest challenges a leader faces is keeping their team motivated during annual operational planning season. In my experience, two camps form; one that calls for immediate action and one that needs to wait for more definitive data before making a decision. As you approach the annual operational planning (AOP) decision-making intersection, these camps will take differing and often conflicting routes.

Although I am usually skeptical of the ‘corporate offsite’, I realize at times like these it can be an incredibly valuable tool. An offsite meeting that is away from the everyday hustle allows undistracted reflection. This delivers honest, open and trusting discussions covering not only the current state but also what is achievable.

Here are some key tips that can help your team stay focused during Annual Operational Planning (AOP)

  1. Check egos and rationalizations at the door. Make it clear that an open mind and professionalism are necessary for a successful planning session.
  2. Everyone must know that change is expected from this discussion. Stress the need for change in the lead up to the meeting and establish it as a theme. Continue to ask the team if decisions reflect change or status quo.
  3. Use a professional facilitator. This keeps the meeting moving at a good pace and maintains a less contentious atmosphere.
  4. Changes must be 100% supported by the team before you leave. Unless the team is fully unified, a consistent message will not be sent out to your colleagues. This can create confusion within the organization.
  5. Avoid the pity party. Complaining and self-pity do not create results. Acknowledge problems and then move into solutions. Don’t linger on the negative.
  6. Be positive. Your team has likely done amazing things this past year. Starting the meeting recounting the successes will create better energy and enable a “can-do” attitude.
  7. Hold each other accountable. Do not allow responsibilities to be shrugged off… no matter how small. Unless everyone is held accountable for his or her actions (including yourself!), a “blame-game” can ensue.
  8. Make time for a little fun – you deserve it! A relaxing atmosphere helps repair the bruises and keeps AOP in perspective. After all, you get to repeat it again in 12 months!

Once the plan is developed, expect it to be challenged. This isn’t a reflection on you or your team, but the sign of a healthy annual operational planning process that balances priorities with capabilities and resources.

At Argonaut, our contract manufacturing services specialize in helping teams change and optimize their processes and workflows. From providing surge capacity to line transfer, we can help you achieve your AOP goals. Please feel free to contact us….

Tell us how you help your team thrive during annual operations planning! Leave a comment:

Did you miss the first segment of Surviving Annual Operations planning? We covered tips and advice on “How to Assess Your Operations Balance.”

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