Annual planning is one of the most frustrating corporate exercises I go through every year. Hours upon hours are wasted on creating lists, guessing costs and benefits, building complex CBAs, investment stories, and pretty PowerPoint decks. Sometimes teams get a chance to pitch directly to the investment committee, but more often than not, executive leaders look at lists of ideas and numbers and make the call in a leadership vacuum. The outcome usually leaves teams confused, wanting more insight into the why of decisions, and frustrated with the outcome. The best processes, in my experience, leave everyone a bit wanting for more but confident in the direction of the investments.