For those of us who operate on a calendar year, 2019 Q4 is well underway, and we'll be in 2020 Q1 before you know it. Don't panic, but do prep! As you take valuable time to plan for the new year and next quarter, you'll want to make sure you have the right Q1 Plan in place—one that has enough energy, focus, financial impact and accountability checks in place to help your team achieve success.
Here are four tests to ensure your plan is execution ready:
- Financial Test — Ask your team if you successfully complete this plan, will you hit your financial goals? This may seem obvious, but you need to have the right KPIs and Priorities in place for the quarter to align your team to hit your financial targets.
- Focus Test — Is your Main Thing (main focus for the quarter) clear and supported by the Company Priorities? If not, adjust your plan! Do you have a maximum of five Company Priorities? If you have more, start saying "no" or "not now" to some things. Be realistic as to what you can achieve and achieve well. Once you've reviewed the Company Priorities, check each individual's list of Priorities, and make sure they have a five Individual Priorities or less. Is anyone overloaded? Are any of the Individual Priorities misaligned with the Company Plan (and are any not linked to Company Priorities that they support)?
- Energy Test — Is there enough team and individual energy supporting the #1 Company Priority?
- Accountability Test — Do all of the Priorities have clear success criteria identified (Red-Yellow-Green)? Are there proper due dates associated? Will your data shape the right conversations during your Weekly Adjustment Meetings?
If your quarterly plan doesn't pass/address all four tests, get back together with your team, and make the needed adjustments. Set yourself up for success by taking the time to get your plan right for the quarter rather than wing it and end up with stagnant or bad results.
Luckily, our Rhythm software will automatically run these tests for you! Under the Execution tab in Rhythm in the Team Quarter Plan page, you'll see a section called "Quarter Plan 4 Tests" that asks the questions mentioned above. You'll see a Warning sign icon for any missing/unlinked information, and you'll see a green check icon when your plan passes the test.
Keep in mind that the Plan still needs your thoughtful eyes to ensure quality! For example, our software can detect if you have Green Success Criteria entered for all Team Priorities, but it can't make a judgment on whether the Success Criteria is SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timely).
And remember, these tests are intended to help you execute successfully throughout the quarter, so prepare thoughtfully, but don't let the pursuit of complete perfection hold you up from moving forward—that's why Weekly Adjustment Meetings are so meaningful!
Want to learn more about Quarterly Planning? Check out these additional quarterly planning resources:
Rhythm Systems Quarterly Planning Resource Center
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