Annual Planning: Company Retreat Ideas to Build a Cohesive and Actionable Plan

As summer turns to fall, we are all under pressure to deliver on this year’s targets and get product out the door, while looking ahead to the new year. Labor shortages, increased turnover, and supply chain challenges have strained your team’s ability to deliver on this year’s plan, and with increasing levels of exhaustion and burnout, it can be a challenge to look back and look forward with a clear and positive mindset.

76% of staff report burnout

59% anticipate making a job change this year

2.1M unfilled manufacturing jobs by 2030 from US skill gap


The leadership your team needs right now is empathetic, realistic, and forward-thinking. As you head into your retreat or summit, set the table for a non-defensive assessment of what you’ve accomplished this year, your barriers to growth, and actions you can take now to lay the foundation to scale. Here are some activities or exercises that can help:

Company Planning Exercises for Retreats

  • Like/Loath: Understand what each person’s least favorite activities are, and reassign, outsource, or automate where you can. One person’s like is another person’s loath—the answers may surprise you!
  • 80/20 Analysis: Do you know which products, capabilities, and customers drive profits? Our guide to 80/20 analysis can help you quickly focus on what matters.
  • Start/Stop: Remove a couple of things that will offer your team some relief. What should you no-bid this quarter? What activities or responsibilities no longer create value?
  • Share Your Whys: Ask the team what drives them, why they chose this field, and what ‘wins’ are they proudest of. We asked each employee to send three pictures to explain their why.
  • Build the Vision Together: Ask each participant to draft a press release headline announcing a company achievement exactly three years from today.
  • Define the Culture: Choose the three or four core competencies that every member of the organization must have. More tangible than values, this activity can help make your culture a competitive advantage.
  • Gamify Your Goals: Bring an element of play with gamification. Most major platforms like Microsoft Teams, Sharepoint, and HubSpot have some features like badges, kudos, activity leaderboards, and other elements that can help bring an element of collaborative competition.

Looking for simple, focused planning templates, or need a workshop to build a cohesive vision? Reach out.