Master Class: Running a Killer Quarterly Refresh

Jun 22, 2023


Check out the PowerPoint presentation from the session and the recording of this discussion on Zoom. Here are our takeaways from the session!

🎯 How to Run a Killer Quarterly Cycle

The quarterly review is the heartbeat of your strategic performance cycle – it’s also one of the hardest topics. We’re going to cover the essentials on creating and running an agile review cycle to put your plan into action.

🧐 What does a Quarterly Refresh Cycle Look Like? (12:30-17:00)

We can’t take credit for creating this idea from scratch – but the most successful quarterly (90-day) review and refresh cycles look something like the diagram below.

In every quarter, you spend months 1 and 2 focused on reviews within your designed structure. Then, in month 3 you review your performance, run team reviews, run executive reviews, refresh your plan, and communicate with your entire organization. Measure What Matters has a few great chapters on this.

Pro Tip: In month 3, use check-ins to look at underperforming areas and foreshadow progress. Look at what’s not working and why – and how your team would revise focus or direction to get back on track.

🎯 Running a Quarterly Review Process(12:30-17:00)

We’ve pulled together a handy worksheet to help set up your review process and cadence. You can check it out on slide 5. From there, we recommend following a 3-step process for quarterly refresh implementation.

📈 Step 1: Review Your Performance (19:35-20:30)

Every month, it’s important to set up a mechanism to review your performance. Our recommendation is you spend 20% of your time looking back on performance, and 80% looking forward on what you need to achieve in the next 30 days.

Pro Tip: A tool, mechanism, or means to collect and review your performance data. You can use Excel, PowerPoint, or a tool like OnStrategy. You must have a means to present data and create a talk-track.

🤔 Step 2: Reflect and Learn(19:35-20:30)

Before you finish month 3 of your 90-day review cycle, take a step back to run a retro on underperforming goals/OKRs. Don’t just look at what’s under-performing but consider bigger changes to how you might achieve your goals in the upcoming quarter.

Pro Tip: Our job as leads is to help uncover what’s driving or hindering performance. So, it may take dedicated time with your team to unpack these learnings.

🚀 Step 3: Refresh & Refocus

Quarterly reviews are vital to the process; but they aren’t helpful if your team doesn’t assess where you need to alter course. So, shift your mindset! Have your executive team do a quarterly refresh reflecting on how to alter course rather than a straight focus on performance.

Pick one or two strategic issues central to your strategic direction and reflect on them. Keep your meetings forward thinking, focus on lessons learned, and consider how strategic issues and OKRs might need a pivot.

Pro Tip: These conversations need to happen before the quarter starts, or you are always behind!

Insights from Experts in the Field

👀 Create Your Review Cycle with Transparency (33:45-35:50)

When you create your review cycle, make sure it works for your team! Quarterly review cycles help create accountability, but the real magic is when they help create transparency and dialogue.

📈 Keep it Forward-Focused(35:50-39:30)

Keeping your team’s thinking forward-focused creates an amazing opportunity for leadership development – having process that’s consistent and a forum for teams to discuss what’s at-risk gives them a seat at the decision-making table. This forum allows your team to put on their strategic thinking caps and participate in dialogue about creating the future.

⏳It Can Take Time! (33:45-35:50)

As Kamryn shared her work with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, sometimes it takes time to get your planning and review cycles right! It could take a few planning and review cycles to ensure you’re engaging the right team members at the right points during the review cycles, but don’t give up!

🎯 Bonus: Do’s and Don’ts for Running a Killer Quarterly Refresh:

Remember, quarterly reviews help your strategic plan win each quarter, not just win a year!

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