It’s that time of year for many of us: annual strategic planning season. Time to pull together strategy, goals, and budget for 2016.

This can be a time of promise or a time of frustration. In honor of Growth Strategy Month, we here at Vennli decided to have a little fun with it. Below are the stages of your average strategic planning illustrated in gifs. Enjoy.

The Annual Strategic Planning Meeting

It all starts when you get the invitation to the planning session the next day

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So you take extra care to look professional and well organized…

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But then you’re running late for the meeting…

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So you sneak into the room like everything is cool, hoping no one notices.

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The first hour is spent listening to the CFO drone on and on about 2015 EBITDA and projections for 2016 growth.

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You silently congratulate yourself when your team is mentioned as meeting goal.

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Next, the CMO goes over last year’s market research and buyer personas.

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Finally, you get to the part when everyone is asked to brainstorm ideas to grow your business in 2016…

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When your colleague suggests you do a SWOT analysis, you’re like:

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You throw out an innovative idea…

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And you’re asked for customer data to back up your point…

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And… you have it!

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Then your coworker brings up the same complaint he brings up in every meeting, and you’re like:

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A half hour later you’re asked your opinion on something you really don’t know anything about…

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And after 3 hours you start thinking about your holiday plans but nod your head occasionally to appear as though you’re still listening…

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By now, the temperature in the room has to be about 90 degrees…

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And an argument ensues about how a competitor is managing to steal your market share…

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Finally, after all that, you leave the room with basically the same strategy as last year but with less budget.

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But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Stephen Covey once said: “I am not a product of my circumstances. I am a product of my decisions.”

What choices will you make differently in 2016 in order to challenge the status quo?

In honor of Growth Strategy Month, here are other posts to inspire new thinking about business growth: