It may seem daunting to tackle your Strategic Annual Planning session for 2021. With so much uncertainty due to the ongoing pandemic, economic crisis, and upcoming election, it may be tempting for some company leaders to postpone planning. The temptation is understandable; nobody wants to waste time crafting a detailed annual plan that will have to be scrapped in Q1, which happened to many of us in 2020.
As we wrap up Q3 and move on to Q4, I’ve had a lot of conversations with clients and my team about the best practices for closing out a quarter. Typically, we focus a lot of time and energy on planning for a new quarter…but what about closing out the one that’s finishing?
In order to get better at planning and execution, it’s a critical step to pause and reflect on the goals you set out to accomplish at the beginning of the quarter. How’d you do? Was your plan too ambitious? Not bold enough? What adjustments would you make if you had it to do again?
I have two small children sleeping quietly (for once) as I write this a little before 6 am. While the COVID-19 crisis has been hard for everyone—especially those who have been sick or lost loved ones or livelihoods—I know firsthand just how challenging it has been for working parents with small children. In the early days, when preschool and daycare were closed, I was trying to distract them with a movie long enough to get through a Zoom call or two and that would inevitably lead to a game of “push mama’s buttons,” both figuratively and literally, in which I’d have to hold the computer above my head so they didn’t hang up the Zoom.
2020 has been a disastrous year in general, and the business world has certainly suffered major losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic: lockdown protocols (though entirely warranted) saw many businesses close their offices and mothball their operations due to their inability to cope. But things haven’t been so bleak for everyone. Some companies have continued to grow, being able and willing to roll with the unusual circumstances, and are currently thriving.
Perhaps you’re in that fortunate position. While others struggled to adapt to remote working and shifts in supply and demand, you weathered the storm and remained on an upward trajectory — and due to that success, your team is still growing. Most likely it’s expanding even faster now that there are so many more talented professionals looking for work.
These are crazy times we find ourselves in right now. I have heard more than one person say that they have never experienced anything like this in their lifetime—and a few of the folks are a bit more senior than me! That being said, I am so proud of the companies I work with and the friends that I have that run their own businesses. Everyone is doing everything they can to take care of their employees and service their customers to the best of their abilities. Most are doing a really great job despite the social, environmental and supply chain challenges.
As a CEO, you have specific challenges from a leadership perspective. You have to keep your team connected to your overall strategy, make sure they get the resources they need to be successful and drive focus & accountability at every level—this is no small task, for sure! CEOs who use Rhythm have some incredible resources right at their fingertips to help them do just that.
We are coming into that time of year where a lot of companies are gearing up or doing their annual planning to prepare for next year. In preparation for that, we are presenting a webinar in conjunction with the Association for Corporate Growth, ACG, to highlight some of the mistakes companies make and three very important lessons that can help you avoid those mistakes and the failure that accompanies them. Did you know that on average, only 50-60% of companies actually hit their annual performance targets? The stats are not very good, and even worse if you have just participated in a merger or acquisition. Team members involved in a merger or acquisition want to know two primary things: where is the company going, and what do you need me to do today?
In a recent client conversation, a CEO said to me, “He’s really (really) smart, but it’s just hard to hold him accountable. On top of that, he isn’t approachable because he gets really defensive and reminds us all that he knows what he’s doing.” But in reality, the rest of the executive team doesn’t really know what this executive-level leader is doing. His goals are vague, his metrics aren’t really solid measures of success, and he statuses everything “Green” in preparation for their weekly executive team meeting. And, no one wants to challenge him.
If you read our blog often, you know that we are fans of Topgrading, and we frequently talk about hiring and developing A Players. In a previous post, I gave an example of one of our clients who did an audit of all of their employees and created a KPI for “% of A Players.” If you aren’t familiar with Topgrading, you might be wondering about this term - “A Players.” What does it mean?
Excited. Ready. Anxious. Eager. Let’s go!
Worried. Tired. Stressed. Done. Overwhelmed.
At the end of a meeting, we usually recommend closing with an exercise where everyone in the room shares one word on how they are feeling leaving the meeting. When you get to the end of your next Quarterly Planning Session, you don’t want to hear the second set of closing remarks. You want the team to leave feeling energized and ready to take on the next 90 days. Successfully achieving your strategy may hinge on it.