What is your current planning and strategy method for your business?
Do you view it as an important part of your business and make it a priority? Or do you cross your fingers and hope for the best? According to recent studies, entrepreneurs who developed business plans were 6x more likely to actually grow and develop their business.
Taking the time to build an impactful quarterly plan starts with the meeting. In today’s blog, we’re going in detail on how to make sure your quarterly planning meeting is successful.
Planning is not just something we should think about as important: it is a crucial part of running your business.
While you might come up with an annual plan, your quarterly plan breaks down that large, overwhelming goal into bite size pieces that are much more attainable and manageable. It allows for a regular deep, thorough examination of your business and keeps your leadership team on the same track.
Effective quarterly planning results in heightened levels of clarity, accountability, and action. By regularly getting on the same page and focusing on your goals, your leadership team will have more buy-in to the business. Following a top-down management style, that empowerment, investment, and motivation will trickle down to your whole team.
So how do you make the most of your quarterly planning meeting? How do you make sure you are hitting all the right points and effectively planning? There are 4 simple steps to follow to make sure you are doing just that.
Step 1: Choose The Right Time And Venue
Your quarterly planning meeting should take place in the last week of the quarter to prepare for the following one.
When you are working on your quarterly planning, it is important to remember you are working ON the business - not IN the business. In your everyday life working in the business, you will fall into routines and patterns. To effectively work ON the business - the big picture - you need to remove yourself from the daily routines.
To do this, we recommend scheduling an entire day for the meeting and choosing a special venue. If your business is in person, you can choose an off-site location, such as a conference room or even a restaurant. If your business is virtual, make sure to turn off your email, phone, and other ways people can reach you. Set up a special digital conference room where your team can meet.
Make sure the leadership team is all present. This meeting is a priority, as the results of this meeting is what is going to set your business up for success.
Step 2: Look Backwards
When you start the meeting, you are going to want to do two things: look backwards and look forward. You will want to start by reflecting on the previous quarter.
As you start the discussions, how you speak and approach the subjects really matter. For effective strategizing to take place, everyone needs to feel valued and comfortable. People need to be able to speak their mind without feeling attacked.
As much as possible, try not to blame people. You should attempt to remove personal feelings from the situation. At the same time, you can lead by example and take responsibility for where you can improve. It is a fine balance. You want yourself and your team to be invested, but not to take poor performance personally. If you cultivate the right mindset and space, people will be able to step forward, take accountability, and learn without feeling attacked, blamed, and demoralized.
That being said, use this reflection time to do two things: examine what went wrong and what went right.
Let the numbers do the talking at first. You can review poor performances and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Your KPIs will show you what is on track for your annual goals and what needs work.
Take time to acknowledge shortcomings - and goals that were accomplished. Ask what you can celebrate! And ask what your team needs to tackle.
Lastly, ensure that you are documenting all the topics at hand, both positive and negative. At the next quarterly planning meeting, you’ll be able to reflect on these notes and use them to guide your discussion.
Step 3: Look Forward
After you spend time discussing the issues that you faced, you can look towards the future. You can plan on how to improve KPIs that were suffering and fix issues that came up. You can also set palpable, bite-size goals for the next quarter.
You should set two different types of short-term goals: business and individual goals. The business should have 3 to 5 goals, and each member of the leadership team should have 1 to 3 personal goals. These goals should be SMART Goals:
This tried-and-true goal setting methodology helps develop goals that are attainable. They are not lofty stretch goals that are not trackable: they are solid, tangible, achievable goals. Being able to actually accomplish these goals will help inspire you and your team to work towards them.
As you develop these goals, use them as an opportunity to create investment. As a part of making them specific, attach names and responsible teams to them.
Next, examine your people and processes. Are the right people in the right places? Are the right systems in place? Are your processes working? Are there any elephants in the room? This can be any concern that has not yet been addressed which could present a problem in the future.
Use the IDS method to discuss: Identify, Discuss, Solve. At the end of the meeting, you should have identified, discussed, and solved your foreseeable problems. Everyone should be on the same page about a few select goals for the business and individuals moving forward.
Step 4: Check In
The secret to a successful quarterly planning meeting is to keep track of the progress - even after the meeting is over. Come back weekly to check on the progress of the goals and the morale of the team. Acknowledge unforeseen problems as they arise and continue to work together to solve them!
Make sure you continue to cultivate an open and honest culture of responsibility. This will create an air of accountability in your business that allows for growth and empowerment.
How Can You Implement Successful Quarterly Planning?
There are two ways you can implement quarterly planning into your business: self-implementation and third party implementation. The former means that you take these four steps, reach out to your leadership team, and make it happen. This definitely can work and many entrepreneurs and executives do just that!
The latter involves bringing in a professional who specializes in this type of business planning to help your team through this process. There are many pros to this method. For example, they bring in a fresh set of eyes and a new perspective. Strategizing is also their entire job: this is what they are the best at. Running these types of meetings and setting businesses up for success is their bread and butter.
Which is exactly what we do here at Scaling Management Consulting Group.
We work with CEOs and entrepreneurs who are ready to have a fresh set of eyes on their business and set them up for success. Oftentimes, they are facing strategy and process problems that have simply been simply overlooked, but result in frustration, stagnated growth, and disjointed teams. Bringing in someone who specializes in sleuthing out those problems and providing solutions not only saves their business but provides explosive growth.
So let us ask you this: what is next for your business?
What does next quarter look like?
The year after?
Do you know or are you hoping it will work out?
That’s all we have time for in today’s blog, “4 Steps For A Successful Quarterly Planning Meeting”.
If your current strategy has left you feeling like you are just holding on for dear life, it’s time to switch things up. You can be proactive instead of reactive. It just starts with an email. Reach out to us today at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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