Crossing The Bridge To 2018 – What Is Your Strategy For The New Year?

Most companies are fresh off of some sort of Executive Retreat and/or end of year Team-Building exercise in the form of Strategic Planning. The problem is that as soon as the participants entered the workplace after the first of the year, they were confused and clueless on the day-to-day deployment plan for implementing the very strategic objectives that they were excited about and task with in the Strategic Planning exercise.

Now that its “game-on”, they are disconnected from the big-picture strategy; and completely removed from their functional accountability.

Where are you?

In this writing, we will cover the “Best Practices” that allow for an intentional and purposeful “crossing of the proverbial bridge from 2017 to 2018.

Using the featured image template, let us walk you through the atypical exercise that Smith Gruppe goes through; as well as how we assist our clients in crossing the Year-To-Year Bridge.

First Things First – Your Purpose

The first thing you want to be sure of is your company’s “purpose”, or your basic reason for existing. Is your purpose” still in alignment with your overall Vision and Mission. This answers clearly for everyone in the organization the “Why” questions: Why is this company doing what it is doing? What is the company’s higher purpose? Why should I have a passion for what we are doing? If your “Sandbox” (e.g. in terms of customers, geography, and product/service mix) and the measurable Brand Commitments to those customers have changed? You can rest assured your “purpose” has changed in some type of way. —- Once defined, fill in your “purpose” for 2018!

High Points And Low Points

Next, you want to lead a go-around session in group setting offering each individual and/or department head an opportunity to express “High Point” and a “Low Point” for them in this past year.  There is to be no judging and/or scrutinizing of anyone personally expressed feelings/opinions. A good leader, who should also be a good listener will use this opportunity to gather whether or not there is unity in participating in the company’s Shared Vision. —- Be sure to have your scribe record these responses!


Now, we jump over to “Aspirations” on the template. In a similar go-around session in group setting, each individual and/or department head gets an opportunity to express what success looks like to them by the end of 2018. What milestones, objectives and results will the team have achieved? What does that success feel like individually and respectively as a team? —- Be sure to have your scribe record these responses! Further quantify whether or not such results are identified as being one or all of the “Critical Few” milestones, objectives and results that was critical to the success of the company.


The real work starts now. Initiate a brainstorming session as to where each individual and team identifies both the individual “Actions” and team “Actions” they need to take to achieve their aspirations. Use sticky notes to identify department and/or team actions. As it relates to individuals, this is a great opportunity for Managers and Team Leaders to implement performance review mechanisms in the form of IP’s (Individual Plans).

The evaluation of IP’s (Individual Plans) at the end of each quarter is a critical step for any business serious about building and sustaining business excellence.

It helps individuals learn how to plan, to anticipate problems, to anticipate the unexpected, identify dependencies, and most importantly to communicate clearly with team members. Moreover, if this exercise is compared to the roles and responsibilities on the company’s fACE (Functional Accountability Chart Exercise) and pACE (Process Accountability Chart Exercise); then individuals and teams take greater responsibility when goals aren’t met. —— This process will help Managers and Executives identify “why” the company is under-performing and allow them to introduce countermeasures; ultimately leading to BETTER EXECUTION!  


Discuss the “Resources” you will need to be successful. I cannot stress enough the necessity of being realistic. A lot of company’s have huge aspirations; however lack the necessary “Resources” needed to ultimate realize its “Vision”.

Make it an exhaustive exercise in identifying the necessary “Resources” namely but not limited to hard and soft skills, stakeholder buy-in, financial support, people, and partnerships.


Back to brainstorming, think of the “Challenges” that you may face as you work to accomplish your “Actions”. Record the “Challenges” and tie them to the “Resources” that you have listed.

Again, be realistic about each “Challenge” and whether or not the company’s track record illustrates that it has dealt with and overcome this type of “Challenge” before.

Remember, “In order to do and accomplish things that the company has never accomplished before, the company must become a different company than it has ever been before!”

Review And Summarize

Now take a step back and review and summarize each major point on the template.

Emphasize, and re-emphasize the necessity of  laser focus for the entire company on the company’s “Actions and Aspirations.”

Circulate the room and secure the absolute “Commitment” and “All-In Buy-In” of each individual and team.

Next Necessary Steps

Have the scribe and/or note-taker for the meeting step forward. On a separate flip-chart, record “Next Necessary Steps” noting each department and/or individual responsible and the timeline for completion.

In order to secure absolute “Commitment” and “All-In Buy-In”, have each individual sign off on their IP (Individual Plan) and place their initials on the company’s respective fACE (Functional Accountability Chart Exercise) and pACE (Process Accountability Chart Exercise).

Cascade And Communicate  

Take a photograph of the Template and convert the document to a PDF. Send the document around to everyone to post in a visible location as a reminder of the Company’s Actions and Aspirations for 2018. For co-located groups post the document in a document repository for everyone to view online.

Consistently communicate the Actions And Aspirations for 2018 at the beginning and end of meetings to build momentum and follow-through.

Should you need assistance in this invaluable exercise, please do not hesitate to contact us at Smith Gruppe ( 980-221-9377; so that we may facilitate this business development training module.

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