Your institution is coming upon a significant milestone anniversary; a galvanizing event destined to produce purely positive outcomes and summon grand purpose during your celebration year and beyond. That you’re in a position to work on the corporate anniversary planning and help lead this effort is a rare privilege and responsibility, which your peers say is a once in a career opportunity.
Whether your institution is turning 25 years, 75 years, 100 years or beyond, your future stands on the principles and innovations that made your company the great institution it is today. Your past reveals the soul of your company and fuels your vision for what’s next. An anniversary can be a powerful catalyst to inspire transformation, impelling you to engage your entire organization, customers and partners in a bold plan to move forward.
I’ve had the privilege of interviewing hundreds of executives who embraced the challenges and opportunities with leading a anniversary planning campaign and they learned so much about what worked and what didn’t and why. The following are common insights.
10 Key Considerations for a Successful Anniversary Campaign:
- Start planning early.Time is your greatest asset, begin 2-3 years out to allow for ample time to research, share opinions, ask questions and analyze alternatives. If you wait time may become a liability.
- Focus on the future you desire.
- Carefully craft your story.If you don’t someone else will and it may not be the story you want told. You have a tremendous opportunity to update, modernize or wholly transform the narrative of your company.
- Make your anniversary matter to those who matter most and understand why.Understand which constituents are most important and what must be achieved with each. Thoughtful planning will yield unprecedented engagement.
- Create a moment of great optimism. Understand that an anniversary is one of the rare events in an organizations life that is purely positive. It will instill pride and extraordinary participation from every leader, employee, and partner.
- Leverage what you are already doing. Avoid the temptation to execute too many tactics and activities. What you choose to do should be deeply engineered into the common pattern of your business.
- Design beyond a party.Create experiences that are as extraordinary as the event they celebrate.
- Plan with deep strategic intent.Anniversaries do real work. Use your anniversary to effect real change and drive performance which will yield tangible ROI.
- Create a lasting legacy. Be a good host not a hero. Focus on giving and not receiving. Ask yourself, what does our organization uniquely have that we can give to help solve pressing societal issues.
- Get a clear mandate from executive management.
Milestone celebrations have an inspiring way of summoning the best from people. Be Bold with your intentions, enjoy the process and revel in the outcome during your anniversary year and beyond!