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Preparation Is Key

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Good preparation is key to ensuring you create the right strategy and execution for your quarter (we call it a13-Week Race), to stay on track to hitting your annual goals. You should be thinking of prepping for the next one as soon as every new quarter starts.

Three months prior you should set the date, place and time. Determine who should come and secure a facilitator. The facilitator can be the CEO or any team member. We strongly advise companies larger than $10mm in revenue with 50 or more employees to use an outside facilitator, your team will have a more successful session with an impartial view at the helm. If you are going to do-it-yourself:

Download this step-by-step Meeting Facilitation Guide

One month prior you should hold a pre-planning meeting with a core group to review your Annual Plan and determine the meeting objectives. Discuss strategic and operational topics that might be useful during the session and gather as much employee and customer feedback possible.

One week prior you need to send out the agenda. Also, give the team homework and create a place for them to state what they think the company should Start Doing, Keep Doing and Stop Doing in order to be successful. Make sure the meeting room is stocked with all your facilitation tools.

We have done some of the pre-session work for you!

Download the Pre-Quarterly Planning Bundle:

  • Quarterly Meeting Planning Checklist
  • Quarterly Planning Agenda
  • Start-Stop-Keep Tool w/Directions

Appoint A Quarterly Planning Meeting Facilitator

When designating a facilitator, consider this: when senior team members facilitate your important planning meetings, it can cause participants to withhold agendas or thoughts, to resist challenging others, to not be challenged in their thinking, and to not be fully engaged.

If you are a company with more than 50 employees and $10mm in revenue, we suggest you hire an outside facilitator to bring out the best in your team and you.

If you are the CEO, it is almost impossible to participate and facilitate your own planning session at the same time. Your team is already used to deferring to your opinions. Couple the power of being the CEO with the power of being the facilitator, and your opportunity to listen, learn and get the best ideas from your team falls dramatically. Instead, pass the facilitation duties to someone else and immerse yourself in the meeting. Your ideas and contribution to the discussions will provide a much greater return compared to your facilitating the meeting.

If you, or someone else in your company is going to facilitate the session, read our meeting facilitation guide.

Download now:

3 Steps To Ensure Your Weekly Meeting Will Be A Success

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Create A Quarterly Planning Agenda

Use this quarter after quarter to run consistent successful sessions. 

Recommended Quarterly Planning Agenda

DOWNLOAD AGENDA

Communicate To The Whole Company

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In order for each department to align their goals for the quarter to the company's, they need to know the plan. Sharing plans across all departments can be challenging, especially when you have ten or more groups, geographic disbursement and/or the inability to pull a whole team at once (like a 24-hour support team).

Here are some ideas that work:

Town Hall

This is a great format if your company has five or less Groups and everyone is located in the same office. In this example, the Executive Team and each of the Groups have already completed their plans. The next step is to have a Town Hall-style meeting where the Company Plan is shared and then Group Plans are shared. Have an open discussion on cross-functional priorities and finalize things as a team.

Cascade Planning Offsite

This is a great format for companies with people spread out over multiple locations. It not only accomplishes quarterly planning, but gets everyone face time with one another once a quarter. In this example, the Executive Team has finalized the Company Plan, but Groups haven’t planned yet. Depending on the number of groups, it can take one or two days. From a high level, the agenda is: CEO shares Company Plan with everyone; Groups go into breakout sessions to complete their plans; Groups get back together to share plans across departments and negotiate cross functional priorities.

Webinar

Teams are connected via webinar. This format requires a facilitator to lead the call and some advanced preparation to identify conflicts ahead of time.

Virtual in Software

Rhythm cloud-based software is a great format for companies that are not able to travel to meet in person, or are unable to pull everyone off the front lines at once. For example, the Executive Team has finalized the Company Plan and the Groups have a first draft of their plans in Rhythm. Next, Group Leaders use their team’s regular Weekly Meeting time to look at the other Group plans. If they see priorities that raise a question or concern, the Group Leader records a Comment on that priority and notifies the necessary people immediately. Negotiations and finalizing of the plans happen live in Rhythm. If possible, this works well if all the teams are in Rhythm working at the same time for maximum efficiency and collaboration.

Check On Your Plan Weekly

Your weekly meeting should drive accountability and engage your team to focus on working on solutions rather than spending the time giving status updates. Weeks 4-6 are the most important, avoid being blindsided by missed priorities and KPIs by using the collective intelligence of your team to make critical adjustments during the quarter to achieve success.
 
Weekly Adjustment Meetings are a key part of an overall strategic meeting rhythm that helps grow a company toward excellence. Your Annual Plan is important, but the degree to which you can up the ante on the content of your Weekly Meetings is the degree to which you can build a great organization.
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"Without Rhythm, our sales transformation process would have dragged on for a year plus."

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Steve Tamasi
CEO - Boston Centerless