The Power And Importance of Quarterly Meetings

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As we reach the end of the third quarter, it’s time for companies to re-focus, review their achievements to date against their annual business plan, and get the whole team behind bringing in the numbers in the final three months.

Perhaps this is easier said than done. Statistics shared by Fortune magazine show that nine out of 10 companies fail to implement their strategic plan for many reasons:

  • 95% of a typical workforce doesn’t understand their organization’s strategy
  • 86% of business owners and managers spend less than one hour per month discussing strategy
  • 75% of organizations don’t link employee incentives to strategy
  • 60% of organizations don’t link strategy to budgeting

It’s a shame that where time is invested in developing a strategic plan, many times it ends up in the top drawer, and leaders cross their fingers and carry on as normal.

As the saying goes “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail” and as business owners, if you run your business without having a clear strategic business plan in place, then you’re destined to fail… sounds harsh, we know, but if you don’t know what the goals are, how can you plan to get there?

And once you have the plan in place, it needs to form the map for the whole company to work towards, it needs communicating, bringing alive for all to understand regardless of their position, the company’s progression and achievement need to be measured and made visible to the company.

A recent study by Harvard Business Review gave some simple ideas to keep the whole business on track towards achievement of the company plans and targets:

  • Keep the message simple – we tend to overcomplicate the simplest of messages. Our goal is to get our employees care about the company rather than see it as just a job; they need to care about the company’s achievements – to do this they need to understand the end goal of the plan and how this affects them.
  • Break down the plan – inspire, you’ll have more impact if you stir some emotion and create a lasting memory. Educate, the validity of the strategy and their role in successful execution.  Reinforce, repeat the message in order to increase understanding, instill belief and lead to true change overtime.
  • Talk like a “real” person – not many people are deeply inspired by the pieces of communication that their companies put out. Be real, “corporate speak” comes off hollow and lacking in meaning
  • Tell stories – Facts and figures won’t be remembered. Stories and experiences will.

Verne Harnish, Gazelles International, advises to have a company communication rhythm in place, this speeds up processes within your business—problem solving, decision making, the pace of communication and information sharing, the levels of awareness between team members and their respective departments.

Meeting rhythms are best seen as a continuous loop of communication within the company, keeping it on track against its plan and communicating to all levels the achievements and progression to the plan.

At the quarterly review, the emphasis is on reviewing and resetting priorities and goals for the next 13 weeks.

This is more important than ever in the final quarter’s review. There are only 13 weeks left of the year in which to make any final adjustments to re-focus and get the whole company around achieving the final milestone.