How was your first quarter? Did you achieve your goals? Whether you had your best quarter ever or fell flat on your face, now is the time to lay the groundwork for a successful second quarter.
To increase your effectiveness in Q2, implement The QWD Planning Cycle. I often recommend this approach to my coaching clients to better establish and achieve their most important goals. It involves a series of meetings with oneself throughout the quarter to ensure follow-through on good intentions. These meetings include the following:
· Quarterly Offsite
· Weekly Planning
· Daily Tactical
This framework is influenced by Patrick Lencioni’s classic book, Death by Meeting, and Essentialism, by Greg McKeown. It works regardless of the size and scope of your leadership–whether you’re a solopreneur like me, the leader of a large organization, or someone who leads a small team within an organization.
Today’s focus is the Quarterly Offsite. Next week we’ll look at the Weekly Planning and Daily Tactical meetings.
The Quarterly Offsite
Get away from your office and all the operational details that reside there, so you can focus on what’s important for the quarter ahead. Find a coffee shop, public library, or park bench where you can brainstorm alternatives, determine priorities, and establish key initiatives. Increase the incentive to follow through on this meeting by going to a place where you enjoy spending time.
I prefer an analog approach to my offsite so I’m not distracted by email or other trappings of the digital world. Just a notebook and pen. Perhaps my earbuds and some concentration-enhancing background music (I like Focus at Will). If there’s an online resource I need, I bring it up on my screen and close everything else.
Here’s my agenda for this meeting, which typically includes a mix of personal and professional items:
Pray: as a person of faith, I seek divine wisdom as I enter the planning process.
Reflect: look back at the prior quarter, noting where I achieved goals and where I came up short. I also evaluate progress on the habits and behaviors I was focused on.
Review: consider whether my life has been consistent with my personal foundation (vision, purpose, and values) during the last quarter. Explore changes that will make the next quarter more in step with my personal foundation.
Establish: the WIGs (wildly important goals) I want to accomplish in the next quarter. For more information on WIGs, see The 4 Disciplines of Execution: Achieving Your Wildly Important Goals. In a nutshell, a WIG is a critical initiative that can’t be accomplished without focused action outside of normal routines. Think in terms of a special project, change initiative, or new venture.
Identify: new habits and behaviors to create during the next quarter, as well as those requiring continued attention to take hold.
Your offsite may require a couple hours, or a full day, depending on the complexity and scope of your role. Once you make it a habit, it’s easier to get in a groove, but don’t rush it. There’s something incredibly refreshing about pressing the pause button to gain clarity on what’s most important in your life and business.
Do It Today! Put your personal offsite on the calendar for this first week of the new quarter. Protect the time like you would your most important client or customer meetings.
Next Week: come back for insights on a weekly and daily planning process to achieve the goals established in your quarterly offsite.