2019 is coming to an end. I find myself flying across the Atlantic Ocean to Singapore for my mother’s birthday. From Singapore, I will then make my way to Switzerland to help a client build a great plan for 2020. A friend asked me how I can stand making these long flights to Singapore on a regular basis. I actually enjoy these trips. I start with making sure I have a nice comfortable flight. Singapore Airlines never disappoints in this department. Then, I am thankful for the gift of time. I am left alone to relax, think, and reflect. On this trip, It’s given me time to reflect about 2019, on both the business as well as the personal side to come up with a better plan and design for 2020.
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.
From a leadership perspective, there’s a real thirst for increasing leadership accountability. Executives have recently asked me various questions that linger over the concept of building team accountability to help them achieve their strategic plans while creating high performing teams:
“How do I build accountability in teams?”
“What else can I do to get people to do what we need them to do?”
“How can I hold a team member to be held accountable and still be seen as a good leader?”
"How do I balance leadership accountability and personal accountability when building a team?"
Building team accountability requires that we understand a few dynamics because it’s more complicated than we might recognize. It goes above and beyond the responsibility for the outcomes, which is obviously important, but effective leaders know that they need a culture of accountability in their teams that provide the inputs needed to achieve the expected team performance.
High performance teams are critical to success in today's fast-paced and ever-changing business environment. In order to remain competitive, it is imperative that organization's build high performance capacity. Some common characteristics of high performing teams include:
Recently, I’ve noticed that many of our clients are involving more and more people in the planning process. As they head into Annual Planning, in addition to the 8-10 people on the senior executive leadership team, many of our clients are eliciting ideas and contributions from the next level of leaders as well. Involving these leaders can help ensure the voice of the customer and those employees closest to the customer are heard. However, having so many people in the room can be a challenge for the facilitator.
As a parent with young kids, I read a lot of children’s books (many of the same ones over and over again to the point of having them memorized). One of my two-year-old’s favorites at the moment is called Let’s Go for a Drive!, and I was struck as I was reading it for the hundredth time last night that it has an important lesson for business leaders as well as toddlers. It’s about an overly-anxious elephant who likes to make plans and his carefree friend, Piggie. Elephant suggests they go for a drive, recommends they make a plan and thinks through various things they may need for the drive—the plan includes bringing a map, sunglasses, an umbrella, and bags to put all the stuff in. The last piece of the plan is where things start to break down; Elephant and Piggie realize rather late in the planning process that neither of them has a car. Obviously, this changes the plan significantly.
Did you know that nearly half of all companies fail to meet their financial targets? Much of this lack of success can be traced back to poor annual planning sessions. Perhaps you talked about the targets and set them, but you failed to create an action plan to get there. I understand - there is an amazing amount of work that goes into facilitating a winning planning session. We know how hard it is, as our Rhythm experts have facilitated thousands of successful planning sessions to set our customers up for success. This blog will give a high-level overview of the five keys to creating a winning annual plan for 2020. To have an effective planning meeting make sure you and your leadership team follow the five steps highlighted in this article to have an effective planning meeting.
It’s that time again – back-to-school, pumpkin everything, football, and Annual Planning season! You and your team are about to invest so much time, money, energy, and resources into determining the Annual Focus & Initiatives for the year ahead. After the session is when the real work begins, however. How do you stay connected to your plan throughout the year to make sure it finishes Green? It’s tough to not become distracted, especially if you are part of a fast-growing mid-market company.
Here are a few tricks, from highly- successful Rhythm companies, for maintaining focus all year:
You can make an argument that your company’s annual planning meeting is the most important thing you do all year. Each of your quarterly execution plans will anchor off of the decisions you make during the yearly planning meeting, and those quarterly plans are what drive the focus of your team’s weekly and daily execution. Plus, your Annual Plan has to move your company’s long-term strategic goals forward and be aligned to your core foundational strategy. Not to mention that you usually have your company’s most expensive leadership team in the room for one or two days - the cost is high and there’s a lot riding on this important business planning meeting. Don't worry, we have over a dozen years of experience in strategic planning meetings, and we can help get you on the right track.
Are your meetings the butt of work-related jokes? Why is it that we roll our eyes with disdain when our calendar is loaded with meetings, and more specifically, why do we dread the planning meetings that are so important to our strategic success? Let me ask, have you used senior team members as facilitators? If so, you’ve very likely chosen the wrong facilitator. Save yourself a bad decision before your next planning session. Don’t choose your CEO or an executive team member for strategic planning facilitation. If you do, you’ll pay for it all year (or quarter) based on the plan developed and the pain to get there. Most executives are great at their jobs, but they don't have all of the qualities of a good facilitator. When you are in charge, it is hard to be an active listener, which is extremely important to bring out all of the great ideas from the team.