Prior to tackling the big goals scheduled for the coming year, it’s a good idea to review the current year’s goals and evaluate how effective you were in meeting them. In terms of planning, you should ideally include a great deal of forethought as the last thing you want is tackle last minute issues, which leads to hasty decision-making that could cost your company revenue and lost productivity. According to Rony Chammas, CEO at Peerspace “Utilizing unique space enables you to reach your goals, promotes creativity, and encourages collaboration”. Here, we’ll explore the best ways to get a jump on your first quarter events and meetings to ensure a successful 2018.
Out-of-Office Strategic Planning Sessions
Once you have determined your overall goals for the first quarter, it’s time to develop a roadmap for success. This is easily accomplished by holding meetings for the sole purpose of strategic planning. A great way to utilize unique space for strategic planning is to get team members together outside of the office, as many studies have shown that a change of scenery can have a positive effect on creativity.
For maximum effectiveness, strategic planning sessions should be conducted slightly differently from typical staff meetings. Consider holding your strategic planning meeting over a nice dinner or a Virtual Reality playlab since employees who engage in activities they enjoy are more likely to come up with more innovative ideas and are more productive overall. Not only will outside planning sessions help flesh out ideas for the coming year, they can also serve as an opportunity for team members to relax and interact in a different environment. Strive to make the activities that precede the meeting as engaging as possible so that team members can foster a sense of unity before they get to the business of planning.
By developing a rapport beforehand, each team member will be more comfortable with sharing ideas while being receptive to the ideas of others. Strategic planning sessions also give leadership a chance to learn about their team and offer any knowledge they may have about making the planning process easier. When making an agenda for your strategic planning meeting, be sure to allow ample time for each team member to provide input. This is accomplished in a variety of ways from video interviews to suggestion boxes, but the point is to make sure that the environment is conducive to listening and providing constructive feedback.
Any successful business owner understands that success doesn’t just happen. It takes innovation, planning, and genuine enthusiasm to achieve big goals, yet the process can often feel rushed. A team retreat enables everyone to decompress then come back together to continue the planning process with fresh perspectives. These retreats also present many opportunities to delegate tasks based on each individual’s strengths while maximizing time away from the office.
Strategic planning sessions are great but many companies have found that employee retreats are even more critical to a successful first quarter planning process. While general ideas are usually hashed out in weekly meetings or during a couple of hours at a strategic planning outing, these settings often do not provide not enough time to adequately explore everyone’s ideas. This is where a team retreat comes into play. Companies like Uber and Google have praised the effectiveness of team retreats to intensely strategize and promote team bonding. During your first quarter retreat, consider hosting a kickoff meeting that will set the tone for the rest of the year.
Leading into your retreat, start by discussing what went well in the prior year and encourage attendees to begin thinking of new ways to expand on this success. Team retreats should also include any relevant training that you feel is necessary to take your first quarter plans to the next level and ensure that your team is up-to-date on the policies and procedures other organization and using proven techniques to achieve goals. Be mindful of company culture and office dynamics when choosing a location for the retreat and consider team suggestions before making a final decision on the retreat site.
Some Final Tips to Make your Q1 Meetings a Success
During all stages of the planning process, it’s important to keep a few basic things in mind. Always develop an agenda and make a real effort to stick to it. It’s imperative that you allow adequate time for team members to contribute ideas while remaining conscious of time so everyone gets equal time to share. It’s a good idea to be proactive and send out the agenda days ahead of the planning meeting to elicit additional agenda items to address.
Another helpful tip for planning for Q1 is to record audio or video of planning sessions. Doing this will ensure that all ideas are adequately captured and should be referred to later if necessary. Following planning sessions, make sure to review the video or audio from the meeting and document all important ideas in writing. The resulting document can then be sent out to meeting attendees and can include action items for specific team members so they can get started right away.
With 2018 approaching quickly, there’s no time like the present to get started with your Q1 planning. Continue to expand on what has worked and get rid of anything that isn’t while coming up with an action plan your team can get excited about. Consider changing the scenery by getting out of the office and giving your team members something to get excited about. Holding your first quarter planning sessions in a different environment is just the boost your team needs to make your year the most successful year yet.
Jai Singh is head of growth and marketing at Peerspace. Jai is a high-impact marketing executive with experience leading various facets of marketing. He has held marketing leadership positions at Peerspace, Facebook, TripAdvisor, and
Vistaprint. During his 10-plus years in marketing and additional time in broader consulting at Accenture, he has generated over $500 million in cumulative revenue and over 200million in monthly active user growth.