Blog post,  Facilitation

Why you should start the year with a planning day

How do you start the working year? Do you just jump straight back in and pick up where you left off? Everyone in the team slowly ramps back up to the same pace, doing the same things as last year. Same old same old. Just another year. Who even believes in new year’s resolutions?!?

The beginning of a new year provides a fresh slate. Your team is back after a break and ready to look to the year ahead. This year is starting as another tough one for many people. A lot of Australians didn’t get the Christmas or new year they expected. Family catch-ups were cancelled, holiday plans changed, and events postponed. We all need a bit of an uplift to get ready for the year ahead.

Why now?

Now is a great time for a team planning day! It’s traditionally a little quieter in government before Ministers get back to town and stakeholders start calling. Before you know it, it will be Easter, and you are hurtling towards the end of the financial year. Now is the time to dust off your business plan, pull out your strategies and decide what can be achieved in the year ahead.

Planning days allow a team to take time out and focus on themselves. Pause for a moment and focus on how they work not just what they do. It helps to build relationships and expand their understanding of how each other works. It means everyone starts the year on the same page around purpose, values and priorities. It is an opportunity for leaders to clearly express expectations and set the direction for the team. Essentially, it’s a reset button.

Your planning day doesn’t have to be a serious (read: boring). Everyone sitting in a room around a whiteboard making lists. This can be a chance for your team to have some fun and set the tone for the year.

It’s too hard at this time of year

Excuses, excuses! I know, I know it can be hard to organise at this time of year as its school holidays, and people are dibbling back into the office. Think creatively. Can you invite staff not at work to some or all of the day? Can the kids be involved? Can you do it over two half-days rather than one full day? A hybrid workshop with people in the room and online. Talk to your staff and see what might work for them. Don’t wait until the right time, when everyone is in the office – it will never come.

Teams normally try to do a planning day in July or August at the start of the financial year. This is when your work is at its peak, you are running flat out, and your team is starting to get tired. The beginning of any new year provides a perception of a new start, refresh, a chance to start again. Capitalise on that! Now is the time to plan your planning day. Before you get to the point where you think, we don’t have time for a day out of the office, or it’s too late now to do it.

Need a facilitator? Samantha Sutherland and I specialise in making planning days useful, fun and engaging. Your team will walk away talking about how great it was, and you will get tangible outcomes, that change the way your team works together. Get in touch!

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