Another one of my favorite days happened recently, 10/1/23, the start of the 4th quarter.  And while it’s not a typically chosen “favorite day”, I thought it would be a good time to answer a question around quarterly planning that comes up a lot…way more than you’d think!

It is…

Do my priorities, and everyone else’s priorities, all have to tie in with the 3-5 company priorities?

The answer is an often surprising, absolutely not! Huh? How can that be…??

Think of the 3-5 company priorities as a conversation to be had amongst the team. They are the collective “hills to climb”, and we have highlighted them as the absolute priorities. But that doesn’t mean that nothing else has to get done this quarter. That doesn’t mean every person will have some line of sight to each of the 5 in their own individual way. It simply means that for us to be successful this is what we are committed to achieving. There is lots of other stuff to be done, and some of those things will show up as priorities for members of the team.

So how do we handle individuals that feel like their priorities are not as significant to the overall objectives?

At the risk of yet another sports analogy, think of it like a professional team in the sport of your choice. I will use baseball for this analogy…

Let’s say a baseball team, with the overall objective for the year as making the playoffs, is doing some quarterly planning. Maybe in that plan they realize that to achieve their 1-year objective, to make the playoffs, and some of their 3-5 year goals with an eye towards their BHAG (or Big hairy Audacious Goal), they have 4 objectives.

Maybe they are:

  1. increase the save percentage to 93% of save opportunities
  2. increase batting average by 10 points across the board
  3. renew 87% of season ticket holders by 12/31
  4. increase ad sales by 13% for 2024 committals.

Maybe these 4 things are the 4 that will make the quarter a success. Certainly different members of the organization will have different roles to play in these outcomes, and quarterly priorities can certainly align but what if you are the traveling secretary of the team? Your role in the organization is to plan the travel and logistics on the road. How do you tie in to these 4? There is likely nothing on the list that would necessitate a priority for the traveling secretary, but that does not mean they don’t play a part in the organization.

Further, there are often indirect connections. I imagine that relievers that get better sleep on the road have a higher probability of a save, versus one that was in a lousy bed and didn’t sleep. Same for batters. Maybe you spend a lot of money with Hilton when you travel, and your relationship with Hilton could result in an ad spend. You wouldn’t even think of asking if the priority of increasing ad spend wasn’t public knowledge.

Everyone on the team plays a role. That is why everyone gets a ring when the team wins a championship, and the best run organizations do more to foster this mentality than teams that don’t win that much. Ticket sales to home runs and everything in between, everyone in the organization has a role in the ultimate outcome, and that is winning, whatever that means to your particular organization.

I hope this provides another way to look at the conversations you have at your next quarterly planning.


Founder of the align5 Companies,  CEO of Scaling Up Coaches, and Serial Entrepreneur

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