Quarterly Planning

Work with Rhythm Systems to develop an execution-ready quarterly plan to execute on your strategic goals.

Quarterly Planning Expertise 

  • Manage and Prioritize Your Growth Ideas
  • Build and Track Inspiring Annual Initiatives
  • Annual Planning Facilitation Experts
  • Execution-Ready Tests Minimize Surprises
  • Execution Training and Support for High-Performing Teams
  • Quarterly Planning Facilitation Experts 
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Quarterly Planning Process

Simple Process for Delivering Effective Quarterly Plans

Your quarterly plan aims to drive your annual and long-term strategies forward. Many companies create winning annual plans to help you achieve your BHAG or Big, Hairy, Audacious Goalbut you need to take the time to create an executable quarterly plan that lays out the path of progress to achieve the targets. The secret to a winning quarter is to focus on your top 3-5 company priorities or rocks. Create an executable 90-day quarterly plan, finalize it, and say no to the things that aren't as important. Then, take your Main Thing, cascade it to all departments, and transform it into a daily question that everyone uses every day to maintain focus on the priorities that are important to your business.
Free Download Quarterly Planning Agenda
Quarterly Planning Meeting Facilitation

Quarterly Planning Timeline

Plan Ahead

Good preparation is critical to ensuring you create the right strategy and execution for your quarter (we call it a 13-week Race, and many call it a 90-day plan) to stay on track to hit your annual goals. You should consider prepping for the next one as soon as every new quarter starts.

You should set the date, place, and time three months prior. Determine who should come and secure a facilitator for the quarterly alignment meeting. 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 will 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 as possible.

You must send the agenda for the quarterly team meeting one week prior. Also, give the team homework and create a place to state what they think the company should Start Doing, Keep Doing, and Stop Doing 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!

Download the Pre-Quarterly Planning Agenda and Planning Bundle:

  • Quarterly Meeting Planning Checklist
  • Quarterly Planning Agenda
  • Start-Stop-Keep Tool w/Directions

Meet With The Quarterly Planning Experts

Quarterly Planning Infographich

Appoint a Professional Quarterly Planning Meeting Facilitator

The best companies never us the CEO or an executive team member.

When designating a facilitator, consider this: when senior team members facilitate your essential planning meetings, it can cause participants to withhold agendas or thoughts, to resist challenging others, not to be challenged in their thinking, and not to be fully engaged.

If you have over 50 employees and $10mm in revenue, the most successful companies hire a professional 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 planning session simultaneously. Your team is already used to giving 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 thoughts and contribution to the talks will be much more than you're facilitating the discussion.

Read our meeting facilitation guide if you or someone else in your company will facilitate the quarterly planning session.

Download Guide: 3 Steps to Ensure Your Meeting will be a Success

professional quarterly planning meeting facilitator

Comprehensive Quarterly Plan Agenda

Quarterly Planning Agenda


Welcome(15 min)

Begin with the end in mind. The first step is ensuring everyone knows what a successful session looks like and what part they need to play.
  • Confirm Objectives
  • Review Agenda

Quarter Planning Opening Session

Set a great tone for the day. Start by having each member share good news or victories and then share learnings. Make sure to remind the team of your Annual Plan so you can confirm that Quarterly Goals are helping to move the Annual Plan forward.

Check-In and Good News (15 min)

 • Review the Ending Quarter (1 hour)

  • Results
  • Bright Spots
  • Lessons Learned

• Review Prep Work (1 hour)

  •  Review Start, Stop, Keep

• Review Annual Plan (1 hour)

  •  YTD Progress
  • Opportunities
  • Threats

Lunch (1 hour)


Quarterly Execution Plan

It’s time to get the detailed work. Focus on being effective, not efficient. Take the proper time to get your team involved by discussing, debating, and agreeing on decisions. Make sure to test that your Quarterly Plan is helping you drive your Annual Plan forward.

• Main Thing and Critical Numbers (30 min)

• Company Top 3-5 Priorities (1 hour)

  • Determine Top Priorities
  • Assign an Owner to Each
  • Set Red-Yellow-Green Success Criteria 

• Individual Top 3-5 Priorities (1 hour)

  • Determine Top Priorities
  • Assign an Owner to Each
  • Set Red-Yellow-Green Success Criteria

Test the Plan (15 min)

Communication Plan for the Rest of the Company (15 min)

Wrap Up (15 min)


Cascade Quarterly Plan Across the Company

Communicate the executive plan so each department can align to the goals.

Quarterly Planning Communication Gap

Quarter Plan

For each department to align its 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). For CEOs to close the strategy execution gap, they need to take this step to get everyone on the same page.

Here are some ideas that work:

Quarterly Planning Town Hall

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, which 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 accomplishes quarterly planning and gets everyone face time with one another once a quarter. In this example, the Executive Team has finalized the Company Plan, but the Groups haven’t planned yet. Depending on the number of groups, it can take one or two days. From a high level, the agenda is: CEO shares the Company Plan with everyone; Groups go into breakout sessions to complete their plans; Groups get back together to share plans across departments and negotiate cross-functional quarterly priorities. Remember that a 90-day plan is a fixed amount of time - don't overload your team!  Having fewer priorities done right is better than having an overextended team that doesn't execute against its plan.

Zoom Quarterly Planning

Teams are connected via web conferencing software like Skype, Zoom or Microsoft Teams. 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 Quarterly Plan Communication via Software

Rhythm strategy execution software is a great format for companies that cannot travel to meet in person or cannot pull everyone off the front lines at once. For example, the Executive Team has finalized the Company Plan, and the Groups have the first draft of their plans in Rhythm. Next, Group Leaders use their team’s regular Weekly Meeting time to review the other Group plans. If they see priorities that raise a question or concern, the Group Leader records a Comment on that priority and notifies the necessary people immediately. Negotiations and finalizing of the plans happen live in Rhythm. If possible, this works well if all the teams are in Rhythm, working simultaneously for maximum efficiency and collaboration. Learn how quarterly planning software can drive your execution. Plus, you can learn how our software walks you through the 4 tests of an execution-ready quarterly plan.


Adjust Your Quarterly Plan in Your Weekly Team Meeting

The only way to know if you need to make adjustments is to track your quarterly planning goals weekly.

Your weekly meeting should drive accountability and engage your team to focus on working on solutions rather than spending the time giving status updates. Weeks 4-6 are the most important, avoid being blindsided by missed priorities and KPIs (check out our 25 KPI Examples For Manufacturing Companies for some industry leading KPI examples) by using the collective intelligence of your team to make critical adjustments during the quarter to achieve success.  We also love to do lean quarterly planning to help systematically drive our waste in your organization.
Weekly Adjustment Meetings are a key part of an overall strategic meeting rhythm that helps grow a company toward excellence. Your Annual Plan is important, but the degree to which you can up the ante on the content of your Weekly Meetings is the degree to which you can build a great organization.
Weekly Meeting for quarterly plan

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