Here’s how we suggest you do it:
Step 1) The purpose of Quarterly Planning is to create and align your entire company around a winning plan for the next 90 days. To get to the winning plan, you need to revisit your long-term strategy and check progress on your annual plan. Once you do that and consider current opportunities, key initiative milestones and major calendar events, you should be ready to name the company’s main focus and 3-5 top priorities for the next 90 days. This should all be done by the executive team.
Step 2) The next step should be for each member of the executive team to meet with their direct reports (usually for a half day) to review the company’s quarterly plan, talk about the role their department will play in achieving the company’s goals and top priorities, and determine their department’s 3-5 top priorities for the quarter. In addition, each member of the departmental team should know what their individual priorities are for the quarter.
Step 3) In larger companies, this departmental planning step still won’t reach every employee in the company, so it’s important to have a communication plan to share the main focus and top priorities with everyone in the company, as well as the departmental priorities that will directly involve them. You can do this by continuing to cascade meetings down until everyone has been involved or you can do it in an all-employee “town hall” style meeting. At the very least, you can publish the plan in a newsletter or on your company intranet.
The quarterly planning process is one of your biggest opportunities to make adjustments and keep everyone in the company focused, aligned and accountable, so be sure to follow it all the way through.