Rhythm Blog | Annual & Quarterly Planning

by Patrick Thean and the Rhythm Team

How to Avoid Overloading Your Team

Jessica Wishart Tue, Nov 20, 2018 @ 12:30 PM

Most of our successful mid-market clients have no shortage of great ideas. The constraint lies with the time and resources to get it all done. It doesn’t matter how many brilliant growth strategies your team comes up with in your annual planning session if there’s nobody with the capacity to get anything else done. Focusing on only a few top priorities is difficult but critical for your success. Tempting as it is, piling new initiatives on top of an already overloaded team will have numerous negative consequences for the individuals, team and company as a whole.


What Are Your Core Competencies? [Infographic]

Jessica Wishart Fri, Nov 9, 2018 @ 11:03 AM

Think about it - what sets your company apart? Are you poised to quickly enter emerging markets and innovate new products and services that your customers will value? What are the skills, processes, systems, and activities that will propel your company into the future?

How Successful Leaders Set Goals to Finish the Year Strong [Video]

Patrick Thean Tue, Nov 6, 2018 @ 11:00 AM

It’s time to plan your fourth quarter and finish the year strong! One of the reasons plans fail is due to poorly defined goals and priorities. Most people think that they have finished their plan when they have had good discussions during quarterly planning sessions and come up with their top 5 priorities for the quarter. “Hey, we are all aligned and ready for the quarter!” Not so fast. You need to make sure that your goals and priorities are well defined and SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Time bound).

Expert Annual Planning Tips [Interview]

Patrick Thean Thu, Nov 1, 2018 @ 11:21 AM

During Q4, many companies begin to think and plan for the next year. To gain insight into the process and importance of planning for the upcoming year, my team interviewed me. After all, I am an Amazon best-selling author of two books: Rhythm and Predictable Results, and I've helped hundreds of companies with this process.

Question: Patrick, so annual planning time is rolling around again. Are you still looking forward to helping companies develop their plans, and if so why?

Patrick: Oh, I love this part of the year, when people are thinking and planning for the next year. It is a good practice to take stock, learn what went well and what did not go so well, and dream about how to do much better next year. This is a very important process that can really influence whether you have a great year or not.

Quick Tips to Set SMART Goals [Infographic]

Jessica Wishart Tue, Oct 30, 2018 @ 11:02 AM

In a former job, I had a manager who called all of his direct reports together to tell us some exciting news! We were embarking on a big new project that would require everyone in the company to pitch in to make it happen. There was a lot of excitement (mostly from him), and a lot of confusion (mostly from us). Unfortunately, there wasn't a lot of follow up about what the goal was, who was going to do what, and by when. When I asked for more specifics, it was clear that nobody really owned the success of this project - nobody knew who was in charge. Not surprisingly, the project was a failure. I think we've all experienced similar things - some well-intentioned leader fails to clarify the expectations, and there's a lot of confusion, re-work, frustration, and lost productivity.

Annual Planning: Do You Have the Discipline to Focus This Year?

Jessica Wishart Thu, Oct 25, 2018 @ 11:00 AM

Fall is upon us. School is back in session, the leaves are beginning to turn, the air is crisp, Pumpkin Spice Lattes are back at Starbucks… and many, many Executive Teams are gathering in conference rooms for the yearly ritual of Annual Planning. In many cases they are clearing their schedules for two full days, traveling to a different location, and spending hours preparing ahead of time for this important event. Why is this such an important ritual?

CEOs: Create a Strong Quarterly Plan to End the Year [Video]

Patrick Thean Tue, Oct 23, 2018 @ 11:00 AM

A new quarter is upon us. It is time to learn from the quarter that just ended and develop a killer plan to end the year strong. I believe in the power of planning short 13-Week quarters. This helps you to visualize how the quarter should progress, and what the outcomes should be at the end of the quarter. It also protects you against failure. If something is not getting done, you are forced to account for it at the end of a quarter. You can’t wait till the end of the year and get blindsided by projects that are not getting done. If you only look at your execution plan once a year, there is less accountability and even with the best intentions, it is easy for things to fall behind and pile up into the fourth quarter.

Don't Just Spend the Budget: Design an Effective Annual Planning Process

Patrick Thean Tue, Oct 16, 2018 @ 11:00 AM

Many companies begin their annual planning process by first creating their annual budget. Then they bring the budget to their annual planning session. This process has some inherent limitations:

How Much Time Should I Allocate for My Quarterly Planning Session?

Alan Gehringer Fri, Sep 28, 2018 @ 12:00 PM

By failing to prepare you are preparing to fail – Benjamin Franklin

It is that time of the year again: time to prepare for your quarterly planning session. A question that I get frequently is, “should we plan for a one-day or a two-day quarterly session, and what do most of your clients do?”

How to Prepare for An Effective Annual Planning Session [Video]

Jessica Wishart Fri, Sep 28, 2018 @ 11:00 AM

At this point in the year, many companies are gearing up to plan for the next year. Before you lock down your budget for your next year, ensure that you spend a few days with the executive team to assess where you are on your strategic plans and growth targets and really think about where you may need to make additional investments to grow your business. Your annual planning session is a key part of your business rhythm; this is where you develop and advance your 3-5 year growth strategies or Winning Moves, map out the annual initiatives to get you there, and create your blueprint for your entire year of execution. In order to get maximum value out of this expensive time with your team, it is critical to have each person in the room prepare well.