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Rhythm Blog | Annual & Quarterly Planning

by Patrick Thean and the Rhythm Team

Effective Goal Setting 101: How to Write Effective Goals [Infographic]

Jessica Wishart Tue, Jun 30, 2020 @ 11:00 AM

Successful SMART goal (priority) setting is an essential skill for both personal and professional success. If you aren’t setting goals, you’re likely not making progress. However, research by the University of Scranton found that 92% of people who set New Year's resolutions never achieve them.

Business goals don't fare much better; 67% of great strategies fail due to poor execution. Writing an effective goal will increase your chances of successfully achieving that goal, or quarterly rock. Fortunately, goal-setting is a skill that you can learn and improve. Setting goals and priorities is essential to running a great company so it is worth the time and effort to improve this skill.

Here are 6 Easy Steps to Writing Effective Goals and Priorities:

Priority ZERO: Make COVID-19 Part of Your Survive, Recover and Thrive Mentality

Barry Pruitt Fri, Jun 26, 2020 @ 12:58 PM

We all know we need to be prepared for the worst—while striving for the best—when it comes to the effects of COVID-19, and the market has proven that leaders who remain calm and focused are better able to steer their team through turbulence and uncertainty. However, my experience is that many leaders and leadership teams do not know how to do this.

I'm being asked by CEOs worldwide, "What few things must I focus on now?" Even when leadership appears calm like a duck on the surface, many leaders today are paddling like mad underwater with only a finite few that have clear direction.

Virtual Strategic Planning Meetings: 7 Tips for a Great Strategic Planning Session

Jessica Wishart Fri, Jun 26, 2020 @ 11:03 AM

If you are like many of our clients, you may be considering adjusting travel plans for your team in the midst of the concern surrounding COVID-19. This will obviously have a big impact on most businesses, which makes it more important than ever to prioritize your team’s quarterly planning meeting. You’ll need to spend time thinking about the impacts to your team and your business, so even if you are canceling travel, don’t cancel your session!  This is likely to be the most important virtual strategy session in the history of your company - even if you can't meet face to face.  You need to be agile to respond to the ever changing market conditions.  

How to Facilitate A Strategic Planning Session in 2020 (Even Virtual)

Ted Skinner Fri, Jun 26, 2020 @ 11:03 AM

Great strategic meetings don’t happen by accident. They happen because someone is committed to  THINKING through the purpose and outcome, PLANNING all of the details in advance, and DOING the hard work of running the meeting. This is the role of an excellent annual planning facilitator that can help you better define your strategy, create a winning annual plan and leave with an action plan to get your annual initiatives done. In order to facilitate a planning session, there is a lot of hard work that needs to be done.  These same techniques should be used for in person sessions and virtal strategic planning sessions with your management team.

The Five C's of Leadership and Team Accountability (Updated for 2020)

Cathy McCullough Mon, Jun 22, 2020 @ 09:00 AM

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?"

"Creating a culture of accountability is hard, how do I provide constructive feedback without being the bad guy?"

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.

17 Strategic Planning Tips to Keep Your Strategic Plan Alive

Alan Gehringer Sun, May 31, 2020 @ 10:57 AM

So, you had a great planning session with your team. Everybody left the 3-day session pumped up and ready to hit your targets for the year and move the company one step closer to achieving your Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG) and other long term strategic goals. You've done the strategy work extremely well?  What could possibly go wrong?

Unfortunately, even with everyone’s good intentions, running the day-to-day business can get in the way of making progress on your annual and quarterly rocks if you are not intentional about your execution or operation planning of all of your important projects to help you achieve your vision.  These strategic planning tips should help you execute on your 3 year strategic plan while keeping track of your day to day activities.  As the experts in mid market planning facilitation we are often asked for our best strategic planning advice, so here you go!

How to be a Good Facilitator: Top 10 Qualities of the Best Facilitators in 2020

Barry Pruitt Sun, May 31, 2020 @ 09:00 AM

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 team facilitator and may not be the best at facilitating a productive discussion.  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.

Cash is King – Do You Know Where Your Cash Is?

Barry Pruitt Thu, May 14, 2020 @ 11:03 AM

It was the 2007-2009 recession, and markets were uncertain. Things were generally OK with my business, yet with years of experience through many types of crises and emergencies, I knew I had to take asset and crisis management inventory. As I mentally ran through my checklist, I felt pretty good. I had a cashflow runway of four months, some additional ways to raise money. I thought some customers would make early payments in exchange for discounts and that there were some unused assets that might be sold. In a worst case scenario, there was the consideration of pay reductions or layoffs.

On a personal level, I considered my HELOC (Home Equity Line of Credit) as part of my fallback plan. I was mentally relieved that I had put it in place in 2004. It was $60k, had never been used, and based on the current lower home values, I was still in good loan-to-value position. I had a fallback plan and could sleep well at night.

Turn 880 Pages of Complexity into How You Care for Coronavirus Relief

Barry Pruitt Thu, May 7, 2020 @ 11:44 AM

The 880-page CARES Act requires ongoing, focused effort to reduce the complexity to useful information. Just like filing taxes, some are doing it themselves, some have hired the least expensive option, some have found professionals or teams that get the best results, and some are stuck in the process. CEOs and execs shouldn’t take this responsibility lightly, without careful thought, or overlook it just because you’re in great financial shape today. Consider how you will investigate and implement your options, through a team of professionals (internal or external), an internal champion, or a hired outsider.

10 Questions to Determine if Your Team Needs a Virtual Planning Session

Alan Gehringer Mon, May 4, 2020 @ 12:25 PM

I facilitate a lot of strategy and execution planning sessions throughout the year. The majority of the time, I do this on-site with a client at a hotel or at their facility. Meeting face-to-face is great if logistics, timing, cost and the environment support it. However, there are times when everything does not align for that to happen, and it is more effective for the team to meet virtually. Current environmental conditions have created one of those times. Keeping people safe and healthy has never been more important.