It’s the start of a new year. You’re rested and focused, and you know where the business needs to go. All that stands between you and a successful year is your team’s ability to hit the ground rolling in the first quarter. That’s because history shows the efforts and projects started in these first months pretty much dictate what we focus on, engage in and accomplish during those that follow.
So how can you be certain that your team is focused on those key tasks that will jump start a successful year? One easy way is to treat the coming year like it’s a cross country bike trip and break it down into “legs” — one quarter at a time. Here are three questions that will help focus your team on doing just that:
Q1 – What are your top two or three companywide initiatives for the first quarter?
Indeed there are a dozen or so items on your company goal sheet for the year, but it’s not realistic to start all of them now. So, as a team, discuss each and agree to the two or three that should be started now. You’ll get to the rest later.
Q2 – What are the top priorities among your individual team initiatives and goals for the first quarter?
Identify with specificity each team member’s role in executing the initiatives you selected. Their understanding of the “why” behind the “what” will help to start the year quickly. Besides, the last thing you want to do is begin the year with a failure simply because you started a project or two at the wrong time.
Q3 – What does success look like on March 31, 2017?
General Norman Schwarzkopf was once asked how he managed the thousands of troops so successfully during the first Gulf War. He said that “There were many individual battles but EVERYONE knew that our priority was to NOT let them cross that line.”
So, after you’ve organized individual priorities, go back to the big picture and remind your team what a successful year looks like. Define and paint a picture of the proverbial finish line so they see it clearly and ensure all efforts are focused on crossing it … successfully.
As always – These are my thoughts, and I could be wrong. If you disagree or simply want to add to these ideas, please do so. I look forward to the conversation.
Dwain – CEO Rider