Below are 6 questions to help you make sure your plan is Execution-Ready:
- Do all of your Priorities have clear Red Yellow Green Criteria? Pitfalls to avoid are using dates or “complete” as your success criteria. What truly is the outcome you wish to achieve with each Priority? Describe it or put a number on it.
- Do your Priorities support your Main Thing? If the team determines the quarter is all about sales, and your Priorities are all about people & culture, you’re energy isn’t focused on the right things. Company Priorities must support your Main Thing.
- Does each Individual Priority have at least 2-3 Milestone Action Items? Recording Action Items under your Individual Priorities forces you to get real. It might even cause you to adjust your Red Yellow Green success criteria, or even re-write your Priority. For example, if your Priority is to “Launch the New Website,” and you begin recording some milestones, it might become clear that what’s realistic and attainable in your 13-week race is only to “Complete the Content for the New Website.” Knowing this in Week 1 saves many headaches, and prevents the Priority from being Red all quarter – a big morale killer.
- Do departmental Groups understand their dependencies on each other? Not getting this right in planning can bring execution to a halt during your 13-week race. For example, the Sales Team might have “Implement a New CRM” as one of their Group’s Priorities. If the new CRM requires all of their systems to be upgraded first, the IT Team has to be aware of the dependency and make it part of their Group’s plan, too. A best practice is to make sure all of the Groups get back together when planning is complete to share their plans across departments.
- Is the team’s Energy focused on the right things? Those of you using Rhythm can clearly see this on your EnergyMap. Your #1 Company/Group Priority should have the most Individual Priorities supporting it. If you get to the end of planning and there are only 2 or 3 Individual Priorities driving your #1 Company Priority, you need to adjust the team’s energy. Make sure your resources are deployed properly.
- Are their any “hidden priorities” waiting to sabotage your execution? Hidden priorities are the ones that no one mentions during planning or puts on a dashboard, but they are doing them anyway. Each team member should have their Top 3-5 Individual Priorities for the quarter. A pattern we have seen is that any more than 3-5 and the chances for the priority ending up Yellow or Red increases exponentially. Call hidden priorities out if you see them manifest through the quarter. Help that person say no to something on their list. They will thank you later.
You have a lot riding on the quality of your Quarterly Plan. It’s one of only four chances in a year to align your teams and focus your resources on accomplishing something important. And since your Weekly Adjustment Meetings are anchored off of the Quarterly Plan, these meetings can only be as good as your plan. Take the time to test your plan and complete the details. The payoff is big.