Five of the best tools and documents you and your team NEED to set your year up for success

January is often the time for planning, team days, goal setting and setting up for the year ahead. 

What process do you use to set yourself up for a successful year? I’d love to hear what works for you.

Although every business owner and manager has their own unique way of planning for the year, here are five key tools and documents I’ve found helpful for my clients, that can hopefully assist you in planning, and what better time of year to share them!

1. A strategic plan 

Without a guiding direction and overarching strategy or business plan that is openly shared with your team with clarity, clear milestones and accompanying roadmaps, it can be all too common to end up treading water, or feeling like your business hasn’t really achieved the things you set out at the end of the year. 

A great strategy differs for every business, however some key elements that make up a robust and concrete strategy include:

  • A clearly defined purpose, mission and vision
  • 3-5 key values that the business embodies and drives all company behaviour 
  • 3-5 ‘big rocks’ / objectives — if you looked back on the year and achieved these three things, how would they ‘move the needle’ in your business?
  • Key challenges, risks and opportunities — what may prevent or accelerate your progress towards your goals? These could be both internal and external influences 
  • Key stakeholders — who do you need to enrol in your vision to reach your objectives?

2. 90 day sprint roadmap

Once you have a clear strategy in place, the role of a 90 day sprint or roadmap identifies the ‘how’ and ties your objectives to a clear plan and set of actions that are time bound to make your goal a reality.

This also helps to break down your BHAGs (Big Hairy Audacious Goals) into sizeable, manageable chunks.

Why 90 days? 

This enables a solid amount of time to reach short term goals that seem within the horizon. 

This encourages momentum and progress, but also allows room to reflect at the end of the 90 days, to re-direct or alter the course of your direction without getting too far ahead, and also celebrate regularly with your team the progress that’s been made. 

3. Personal and professional reflections 

Is your team all moving in the same direction? I love the ‘horse and cart’ analogy. 

If you have a group of horses pulling a cart forward and they’re all moving in the same direction at the same pace, then the cart makes its destination in a timely and effective manner. 

However, if the horses are all going in different directions and in their own ways, the cart doesn’t go anywhere. 

The same goes for your team. The best way to quickly identify if your team are all on the same page, is to regularly engage in personal and professional reflections. 

Do individuals on your team understand the strategic direction your business has? Do their personal values align with the company’s? Do they have clear messaging around what is expected of them and what goals the business are striving towards? 

This reflection exercise can be done yearly or quarterly.

4. Collaborative spaces and task management systems 

Collaborative task management systems are the way of the future and aid in creating visibility across projects and teams. Once you have your direction and goals clear, these are then broken down into individual tasks, roles and responsibilities.

A digital task management system like Asana, Trello or can help to organise and allocate tasks and manage the progress of each task. 

5. Key event calendar

Mapping out key events, product launches, holidays and milestones across the year in a collaborative, centralised place can help to ‘see the bigger picture’ throughout the year. 

It helps to visually represent a timeline over the year and plan accordingly. Some things you can include on a calendar include:

  • Staff leave dates 
  • Product launches
  • Key advertising campaign lengths
  • Training days 
  • 90 day sprint start and end dates
  • Public holidays 


Want to start your year fresh and with a bang? Are you ready to step into the next level of your leadership, business growth and potential? 

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