Quarterly Planning is just around the corner, are you prepared to create a winning plan this quarter with your team?
Here are 10 Quarterly Planning tips to get you started:
1. Set the quarterly planning dates – You will want to determine and set the date as soon as you can so that everyone on your team can attend. The longer you wait, the harder it is to find a time that works. A best practice would be to have your quarterly planning session 2-3 weeks before the start of the new quarter so that you have time to communicate and cascade the plan to the rest of the company before the new quarter starts.
2. Find an offsite location – I have found that having a planning session in your own conference room can be very ineffective. The opportunity to lose focus and be interrupted by operational issues increase exponentially. The growth of your company deserves your full attention without the day-to-day distractions. Take your team offsite and have a dedicated time to check-in for any emergencies so that the team can be completely focused on developing a winning plan for the quarter.
3. Prepare before the session – Think through what you want to accomplish during your one or two day quarterly session and create your agenda and slide deck. Send the team pre-work about 1-2 weeks before the session. Rhythm clients, schedule a meeting with your Rhythm Consultant to guide you through this process. Your consultant will be able to provide you with the tools you will need to have a successful planning session. Connect your actions back to the results from your strategic planning session.
4. Determine who will facilitate the meeting – It is important to pick the right person to facilitate your session. You will want make sure that the facilitator uses the agenda to guide the team through the planning process and ensures that the team is actively engaged and focused.
5. Conduct your quarterly planning session – Follow your prepared agenda and trust the process. Remember to connect strategy to execution by keeping your strategy top of mind as you work through your quarterly planning session. Is your quarterly plan aligned with your Annual Plan? Does it embrace your core values? Does it help you reach your BHAG? etc. At the end of your session, your team will be focused, aligned and accountable to following:
a) Your Main Thing (focus/theme) and supporting critical numbers for the quarter
b) Company Top 3-5 priorities with defined Red, Yellow, Green success criteria
c) Individual Top 3-5 priorities with defined Red, Yellow, Green success criteria
6. Test your plan – Do you have a clear focus for the quarter? Is there enough energy focused on your #1 company priority? Are individual priorities done? Have we set Red, Yellow, Green success criteria for each priority?
7. Celebrate a great session – It has been a long day or two and your team has worked hard in developing your path to success for the next 90 days. Take a moment to congratulate and high five the team!
8. Document and cascade your plan – Have a member of the team document your plan so that it can be shared with the company. If you are a Rhythm client, it is as easy as having Rhythm open during your planning session and recording your plan in real time or assigning someone to record your plan in Rhythm after your session. Once your Top 3-5 company priorities are recorded, have team leaders share the plan with their direct reports.
9. Communicate to the company – Think through how you want to communicate your execution plan for the next 90 days so that the whole company is engaged and understands what the quarter is all about.
10. Begin executing on your plan – Have a fantastic quarter with your execution plan in place! Meet with your team each week to discuss any priorities that are in danger of not reaching your determined green goals, and use this weekly staff meeting to generate solutions with the team to create action steps to get back on track as these team meetings are the lifeblood of your organization.
Editor's Note: This blog was originally published on March 11, 2013, and has been updated.
Want to learn more about Quarterly Planning? Check out these additional quarterly planning resources:
EOS Rocks: Using Priorities and Quarterly Rocks to Align Your Organization (Infographic)
Rhythm Systems Quarterly Planning Resource Center