Year End Planning – You can have it good, fast, and cheap, or pick two.

For many businesses, November and December are some of their busiest times. This is when companies close out their books on the year ending, review results, plan for the coming year, and generally ride the year end cycle. It is also when company staff use up their vacation time, offices are short staffed, and the pressure to get work done is highest. For CI professionals this means catering to stakeholders looking for CI insights that are good, fast, and cheap. While it may seem daunting, meeting those requirements is possible, with proper planning, resource allocation, and partners.

As the year end push approaches, CI managers must quickly adjust their project planning to accommodate the new demands and project deadlines. During this end of year crunch, CI managers need to rely on two tactics:

1. Communication programs that keep the CI unit informed of stakeholder needs and company strategic initiatives throughout the year.

All CI units need to effectively communicate with their stakeholders. This typically involves briefing calls to share new insights on market and competitor developments, learn about the stakeholder’s priorities, and develop CI work plans around the stakeholder’s needs. These interactions can be done in-person or by other means, but their main purpose is to keep the stakeholder aware of the CI resources available and match those resources to stakeholder needs. With this information, the CI unit can start monitoring the market and collecting information needed to support the strategy planning efforts and implementation once the plans are in place. In some cases, a “soft launch” of an anticipated project can help meet tight deadlines.

2. Plans for a fluctuating workload with variable timelines.

These include maintaining a ready list of “to do” projects based on stakeholder needs which can be quickly ramped up. CI units require outside resources to support many basic tasks. These include platforms for secondary data search, knowledge management, newsletter distribution, and agencies to complete primary data collection, facilitate workshops, training’s, and include subject matter experts. Good vendor and partner management builds in flexible capacity to complete projects, including a stable of trusted third-party support partners, and even rough outlines of the work to be completed.

With proper preparation, active communication, and flexible support systems, CI units can manage the year end crush and meet stakeholder demands. This lays a foundation for growth in the coming year. CI managers who build relationships with stakeholders and partners throughout the year are better able to accommodate the end of the year priorities and continue to provide value to the organization.

Fletcher/CSI can augment your CI efforts year-round. To learn more about how Fletcher/CSI can act as your force multiplier, please feel free to contact us at [email protected] or (802) 660-9636

Author: Erik Glitman, CEO Fletcher/CSI