How To Have a New Year Kickoff Meeting

Kick off meeting agendsHolding an annual kickoff meeting at or around the beginning of each year is imperative for business success. By stopping and taking the time to review how your business did last year and compare that against what’s in store for the new year provides an invaluable opportunity to ensure you know where you’re going, strategically and tactically. As Yogi Berra is credited with saying, “If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll end up someplace else.”

I know many business owners and leaders are busy with operational challenges. That should not stop you from holding this event to assess last year’s performance and introduce what the new year holds. Doing so can set you up for success in the coming year and help you stay on track with where you want to go.

There are basically three separate segments the meeting should cover:

  1. How Did We Do Last Year?
    1. Did we reach last year’s financial, employment, and bid-rate goals?
    2. If not, what are the reasons why?
  1. Projections for the New Year
    1. What are our financial goals for the new year?
    2. What other things are those goals based on, besides what we did last year?
    3. Do we have a preliminary pipeline developed?
  1. What Are We Doing As a Company and Why?
    1. Do we have a clear idea of what it is our company actually does?
    2. Why are we doing what we do? Ask yourself:
      1. Are we doing something or offering a service simply because we know how, instead of because what we offer is relevant?
      2. Are we doing it because we love it, or do we see a real need for our product and/or service and we really do want to help folks who need what we’re offering?

There are loads of variations to this agenda, and even more relative to the length of the event and its schedule. During lunch breaks, it’s important to have a keynote speaker invited to lead a motivational discussion. Also, it’s very important to include networking breaks during the event.

Following is a general agenda:

  1.  Opening Remarks – Pres/CEO
  2.  End of Previous Year Financial Review – CFO
  3.  Discussion of Lessons Learned – Pres/CEO
  4.  Major Contract Reviews – COO/CFO
  5.  Discussion of Lessons Learned – Pres/CEO
  6.  Operations Review – COO
  7.  Discussion of Lessons Learned – Pres/CEO
  8.  Strategic Business Dev Plan – Bus Dev VP
  9.  Tactical Business Dev Plan – Bus Dev VP
  10.  Financial Budget for New Year – CFO
  11.  Vision Discussion and Closing Remarks – Pres/CEO

After the event, be sure to summarize what went on and offer some of the outcome information to all of your employees/participants. Sharing what was discussed with everyone will substantiate a collaborative culture and is motivating.

If you have ever attended a meeting like this, what was your experience? In what ways do you see the value of holding an event like this? What are some challenges you feel may be stopping you from holding an early-in-the-year kickoff annual meeting such as this?

Please feel free to leave comments and ask questions below.