Rhythm Blog | Annual & Quarterly Planning

by Patrick Thean and the Rhythm Team

Don't Let Your Annual Plan Fail: Create a 4-Quarter Flyover

Tiffany Chepul Tue, Jan 16, 2018 @ 11:00 AM

Are you setting your team up to fail to deliver your Annual Initiatives? There’s only one way to know: create a 4-Quarter Flyover Plan. 

This is one of the most valuable and often overlooked steps in Annual Planning. This step helps the team shift from strategy to execution and create an action plan to achieve the goals you've set for your year. Fleshing out your year will ensure the work behind each of your Initiatives is spread out to make the best use of your team’s resources and bandwidth. After all, you don’t want all of the heavy lifting for each of your 5 Initiatives to hit in one quarter!

Download a free tool to help you complete your 4-Quarter Flyover Plan exercise, or if you have Rhythm software, you can build your plan right there.

Here are 4 simple steps to create your 4-Quarter Flyover Plan:

4 Tips for a Strong Annual Plan

Patrick Thean Sun, Jan 14, 2018 @ 12:00 PM

It’s that time of year again when executives are thinking about their annual plan and asking themselves, “where do I start?” A lot of companies out there start their process with budgeting. Then once they have their budgets set, they move to developing their annual plan. This may sound like a smart idea to ensure you don’t blow your budget, but it may be keeping you from executing strategic growth moves.

Value of Outside Facilitation for Quarterly and Annual Planning

Cathy McCullough Wed, Jan 10, 2018 @ 09:00 AM

Unfortunately, I’ve seen leading companies spend (aka “waste”) time in a one or two-day Annual or Quarterly Planning Session. The time is wasted because once they leave the room, they get back to what’s normal (i.e., they get back to putting out fires on a daily basis). As one CEO recently said to me, “We plan, but we never seem to get very far with implementing our plan.” What’s lost when this happens is not only time but focus, productivity, and discipline.

For this CEO, it was at this point in time when he contacted Rhythm Systems to inquire about having a facilitated onsite session.  The session went really well, and the team commented that it was one of the most productive two days they’d spent together in a very long time.

Getting a Grip on Your Annual Planning Process

Cathy McCullough Tue, Jan 9, 2018 @ 11:00 AM

As you set your strategic priorities for the upcoming year, remember an important distinction: Your “strategic plan” isn’t as important as your “planning process” to get to that plan. An absolute imperative is for you to recognize the business relevance of strategic thinking. Your Annual Plan isn’t just about who’s doing what. Preceding that is what the company aspires to achieve. Strategic thinking is about the company, which puts into context everything else you’re asking people to do in the coming year (especially in the first quarter!). 

Why You Should Invest in Performance Development, Not Annual Reviews

Jessica Wishart Fri, Dec 15, 2017 @ 11:17 AM

As we head into the end of the year, many leaders are gearing up for more than just Annual Planning and holiday celebrations - many are brushing off their systems and processes for yet another round of annual performance reviews. According to a research paper from Gallup entitled Re-Engineering Performance Management,"Traditional performance management systems are broken. Companies, leaders, managers and employees have long participated in time-consuming, frustrating performance reviews that have not yielded clear improvements in individual or organizational performance.” Ineffective annual reviews also hit your company’s bottom line: "The cost of lost time spent on traditional approaches to performance evaluations alone is estimated to range from $2.4 million to $35 million per year for a company with 10,000 employees.” It is time to consider ditching the laborious annual review process. But, many leaders aren't sure what to do in its’ place. 

The Anatomy of a Great Quarterly Plan (Infographic)

Jessica Wishart Tue, Dec 5, 2017 @ 09:00 AM

Your Quarterly Planning session is arguably the most important day or two out of your next 90 days. You need to emerge from that session with a plan that will define the results you'll get this quarter, shape what your teams will be talking about every week in their Weekly Adjustment Meetings, and ultimately determine whether or not you'll hit those annual goals that are aligned to achieve your Company's long term strategy. This plan has to be great! No pressure, right?

What Leaders Need to Know about Giving and Receiving Feedback (Infographic)

Jessica Wishart Fri, Dec 1, 2017 @ 11:30 AM

When I was in college, one of my professors pulled me aside after class and said, “You have great ideas, but when you present them to the class, you start out with an apology. Don’t do that - it makes us not want to listen, and what you have to say is worth hearing.” It was important feedback, and he delivered it in a way that made me receptive to it. I worked hard after that to watch what I said when I presented in class. Rather than being timid and apologetic with my contributions, I strove to be confident and direct. This one interaction made a big difference in my overall effectiveness as a communicator, and it has helped me in every class and job I’ve had since. I also remember a time when a coworker teased me in front of a group of other coworkers, saying, “You know, you really shouldn’t wear those old shoes anymore.” Her intentions may have been good (my tattered old sandals probably weren’t the most professional attire), but the way she chose to deliver the feedback put me immediately on the defensive.  

5 Ways to Solve Problems Faster During Annual Planning

Jessica Wishart Mon, Nov 27, 2017 @ 11:30 AM

Your Annual Planning meeting is one of the most important—and expensive—few days for your company every year. How can you be sure to maximize your investment of time and resources? How can you ensure that you take full advantage of those few days to solve the most important problems, seize the right opportunities and set your company up for a successful year? 

Use an Objective Statement to Begin with the End in Mind

Tiffany Chepul Fri, Nov 24, 2017 @ 09:00 AM

With this quarterly planning season coming to a close, I've discussed hundreds of priorities in the last few weeks with clients - you are a focused and busy bunch! So many of those priorities represented projects. You are designing new products, finalizing new employee & client programs and documenting processes. Each project has its own specific purpose and many times, it spans across multiple departments. So, when it comes time to execute, how do you all get aligned?

‘Tis the Season for Writing Effective Annual Initiatives

Tiffany Chepul Mon, Nov 20, 2017 @ 11:30 AM

It’s that time of year again – just about everyone on a traditional calendar year is gearing up for Annual Planning! You and your team will invest so much time, money and effort in finalizing your 2018 plan. If the outcome isn’t a clear, executable plan with well-written initiatives, those resources will have been wasted. 

When consulting with clients to review their Annual Plans, here are some things we look for to determine if their Annual Initiatives are set up to deliver success. All execution-ready Annual Initiatives share these characteristics: