Preparation is Key
Everyone should be involved
Three months prior you should set the date, place and time. Determine who should come and secure a facilitator. The facilitator can be the CEO or any team member. We strongly advise companies larger than $10mm in revenue with 50 or more employees to use an outside facilitator, your team will have a more successful session with an impartial view at the helm. If you are going to do-it-yourself: Download this step-by-step Meeting Facilitation Guide
One month prior you should hold a pre-planning meeting with a core group to review your Annual Plan and determine the meeting objectives. Discuss strategic and operational topics that might be useful during the session and gather as much employee and customer feedback possible.
One week prior you need to send out the agenda for the quarterly team meeting. Also, give the team homework and create a place for them to state what they think the company should Start Doing, Keep Doing and Stop Doing in order to be successful. Make sure the meeting room is stocked with all your facilitation tools.
We have done some of the pre-session work for you!
- Quarterly Meeting Planning Checklist
- Quarterly Planning Agenda
- Start-Stop-Keep Tool w/Directions
Appoint a Quarterly Planning Facilitation Manager
Preferably not the CEO or an executive team member.
When designating a facilitator, consider this: when senior team members facilitate your important planning meetings, it can cause participants to withhold agendas or thoughts, to resist challenging others, to not be challenged in their thinking, and to not be fully engaged.
If you are a company with more than 50 employees and $10mm in revenue, we suggest you hire an outside facilitator to bring out the best in your team and you. We have an excellent resource on the Value of Outside Facilitation for Quarterly and Annual Planning for you to read and determine if that is the best for your organization.
If you are the CEO, it is almost impossible to participate and facilitate your own planning session at the same time. Your team is already used to deferring to your opinions. Couple the power of being the CEO with the power of being the facilitator, and your opportunity to listen, learn and get the best ideas from your team falls dramatically. Instead, pass the facilitation duties to someone else and immerse yourself in the meeting. Your ideas and contribution to the discussions will provide a much greater return compared to your facilitating the meeting.
Create a Quarterly Planning Agenda
Use this quarter after quarter to run consistent successful sessions and executable 90 day plans
Communicate to the Whole Company
Cascade the executive plan so each department can align to the goals.
In order for each department to align their goals for the quarter to the company's, they need to know the plan. Sharing plans across all departments can be challenging, especially when you have ten or more groups, geographic disbursement and/or the inability to pull a whole team at once (like a 24-hour support team).
Here are some ideas that work:
This is a great format if your company has five or fewer Groups and everyone is located in the same office. In this example, the Executive Team and each of the Groups have already completed their plans. The next step is to have a Town Hall-style meeting where the Company Plan is shared and then Group Plans are shared, what we call cascade planning. Have an open discussion on cross-functional priorities and finalize things as a team.
Cascade Planning Offsite
This is a great format for companies with people spread out over multiple locations. It not only accomplishes quarterly
Teams are connected via web conferencing software, such as Skype, Zoom or GoToMeeting. This format requires a facilitator to lead the call and some advanced preparation to identify conflicts ahead of time. Make sure that all of the participants use the video feed so that you can better communicate with each other and get the most out of your time together.
Virtual in Software
Rhythm cloud-based software is a great format for companies that are not able to travel to meet in
Check on Your Plan Weekly in Your Weekly Team Meeting
The only way to know if you need to make adjustments is to track your goals weekly.
Want to learn more about Quarterly Planning? Check out these additional quarterly planning resources:
Rhythm Systems Quarterly Planning Resource Center