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Quarterly Best Practice: Discover Why

Posted by Douglas A Wick on Mon, Apr 10, 2017

Quarter is 13 week race.pngQuarterly meetings have a rhythm and agenda to enable our Gazelles Coached teams to celebrate victories and learn from their successes and failures. We’ve shared the intention and reason behind recognizing victories in What Are Your First Quarter Victories?

If you’re looking for an example of a Quarterly Planning Meeting agenda visit Recognize and Plan for Results - Quarterly Planning Meeting.

We even provided you with Four Purposes for Quarterly Meetings.

Furthermore, we’ve covered What Did We Learn? – Quarterly Meeting Question.

If you’re looking for the why, what, and how to plan a quarterly meeting, these blogs would serve as a good place to begin.

Why Leadership Teams Fail to Meet their Quarterly Objectives

The bigger challenge is discovering why your business failed to achieve the objectives you set.

Most my customers achieve their quarterly One Thing.  In more cases the Counter Balance they set fails.  And in many more cases the list of supporting objectives fail to be reached.

Working with customers for almost ten years with our Gazelles tools, I’ve watched, learned, coached, and coaxed my customers to follow some simple rules around achieving their quarterly objectives.

The following is a short list of a reasons, along with corrective actions, to help your team get unstuck and achieve all or significantly more of your future quarterly objectives.

  • Setting Too Many Objectivestoo-many-choices.jpg

In every planning meeting, I facilitate with my customers I remind them, “We always believe we can achieve more in the short term and less in the long term than we are capable of.”

This alone accounts for a significant number of the failed objectives.

It’s like going through the all-you-can-eat buffet line.  My father would always tell me, “don’t overload your stomach!”

All my customers are ambitious.  They’re learners, earnest, determined, growing company with an avarice for achieving.

Too-many-objectives.jpgWe create a list of objectives and even the timidest of the group wants to achieve them all NOW!

Time after time, and this is most true with new customers, when reviewing success and failure, the reason for failure is we simply tried to accomplish too much.

The Lesson: Less is More.

  • Failing to Recognize the Scope

It’s difficult to achieve anything when you aren’t sure exactly what the finish line looks like.  Many leaders believe they know the scope of the objective they plan to achieve.  When the quarter is over they’ve discovered it was a two-quarter project rather than a one quarter objective.  An unforeseen obstacle presented itself, which upon reflection could have been anticipated with proper planning.  what-you-focus-on-explands_daily-inspiration.jpgYour team doesn’t fail due to lack of effort. It’s a simple truth, “What you focus on expands.” It may get more complicated, you may decide you can achieve more than you thought.  Decide what your success criteria is, and make identify with precision and specificity what the steps are to achieve it.

When it’s lack of effort, more often it’s a conscious decision made once the scope of another objective where greater effort is required is deemed a higher priority.

The solution here is to be sure of the scope of your objectives before committing to them.  One of my company’s decided to meet 2-3 weeks before the end of the quarter to plan.  This allows for an additional week for each leader to plan, set clear monthly benchmarks, and then present the scope of their objective to the collective intelligence of the team before a commitment to the objective is made.  These are critical priorities and objectives for the business.  Failure isn’t planning to fail, it’s failing to plan.  Taking extra time for each leader to plan the objectives you are committing to prevents over commitment. It avoids discovering too late the scope of what needs to be accomplished could not be achieved within one quarter.

SMART.jpgLesson: Quarterly Objectives need to be SMART goals, clear benchmarks, a defined finish line.

  • Unplanned/Unanticipated

I’m speaking here of events beyond anyone’s control.  If this happens too frequently in your organization – you fail to reach an objective due to an event or circumstance no one supposedly could foresee, perhaps it’s time to reconsider how you are planning.  Are you and your leadership team truly evaluating every possible interference or potential challenge with your objectives.  If this happens repeatedly it would suggest you need to forecast and plan better. 

unanticipated.pngEvents will occur to upend our best laid plans.  That’s business and life.  The best leaders have within their capacity, as A Players, to overcome these obstacles.  Perhaps a leader is not an A player. Perhaps your industry is in VUCA - volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity.  Control what you can. If events beyond your control prevent success.  Move on without blame.

Lesson: Failing to meet less than 75% of your quarterly objectives suggest you need to look at the top two reasons listed here. If these aren’t culpable, it’s time to review your leadership team’s capabilities.

What are some other reasons you’ve discovered your team fails to meet its quarterly objectives?  Looking for professional help facilitating your quarterly, monthly, weekly, and annual planning?  Want to achieve more consistent results with your team and business.  Contact

MINI GAMES – Next Blog

Quarterly Themes are a great way to drive focus and achieve your anticipated results each quarter.  Often themes fail to impact the entire team.  Some members feel left out, others disappointed they are unable to contribute.  Great Game of Business developed Mini-games to drive short term results and performance in departments and small groups.  Several of my customers moved to mini-games as an option to themes to drive lasting change. We’ll explore what’s a mini-game next blog.

Topics: quarterly meetings, quarterly plan, What did we learn, Failing to Meet Quarterly Objectives

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Certified Gazelles Coach

Doug Wick, President

Positioning Systems


The Strategic Discipline Blog focuses on midsize business owners with a ravenous appetite to improve his or her leadership skills and business results.

Our 3 disciplines include:

- Priorities
- Metrics
- Meeting Rhythms

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