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Think Bigger, Think Backward: Questions for Annual Planning

cadence destination Oct 03, 2022

Sometimes, in order answer big questions about the future, we have to time travel.

I start with 2 questions when I talk with leadership teams about planning the future:

  1. What "version" of the company would you say we are on right now (3.0, 4.0, 7.0)?
  2. What would it look like to get one version better?

And then we go even bigger...

  1. I ask them to hop in their time machines and set the dial to 10 versions beyond where the company is now. When they get off the time machines and step into the future organization, what does that look like? (You can measure that in revenue, employees, impact, etc.)
  2. What adjectives describe how it looks? Feels? Sounds?

And then we think backward...

  1. We get dial back the time machine. Once they have some ideas around what version 10 will look like, I ask them to think backward from version 10.
  2. What were some of the things we did and the decisions we made to get from one version to the next?

This is a great way to build an Opportunities List and consider Objectives in the next few quarters that aren't on your radar.

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