Set yourself up to win
How to set focus areas for next quarter
Deciding what to work on (set priority areas for next quarter) and why is the most important factor for your success in an upcoming quarter.
Before we get into the nuts and bolts, let’s cover 4 key allowances we must make before we set priority areas for next quarter.
- Allocate sufficient time to quarterly planning & strategy execution
On going: Dedicate 15mins per day to check on & journal progress against your goals & initiatives
Get into the right mindset
Start your Quarterly planning with a strategic view, and prepare to get into the details. Start first thing in the morning – before getting heads down in the nitty-gritty, technical aspects of your role.
Take it one step at a time, remember this process is fluid
There are layers to planning quarterly, we start with high-level goals, then how we want to measure those goals, then how we want to achieve those goals.
You may have the ability to set the tone across each layer, you may have key stakeholders – even customers – to liaise with or seek endorsement from. There might be one or two things which just need to happen regardless.
Prepare to adapt
Recent years have been living, breathing examples of expecting the unexpected.
Internal and external factors will likely arise when they do – you may have to adjust some or all of your quarterly plan.
Being prepared for this means coming in with the right mindset, but also, setting the right expectations for your stakeholders e.g. customers, people you report too and managing those expectations should things need to change.
Enough groundwork - let’s plan your quarter.
Take stock of what you were working on/towards in this past quarter
This is the easiest way to get started – for most businesses and products – there are certain goals that are important every quarter e.g. revenue growth, and customer satisfaction-related goals. Let’s first extend/re-plan these before we go blue-sky on new priority areas.
1. Create a new google sheet or excel doc
name your sheet “Quarterly planning” and make a heading “Q1 2023” for one of the columns. In this column, list the goals you worked towards last quarter. Your sheet may look like this:
2. Add a new column with the heading ‘status’
Which of these goals and milestones did you achieve fully, partially or make no progress on?
3. Add a new column with the heading ‘next step’
Decide here which goals to re-plan, which to leave alone and which to extend.
3. Add a new column with the heading goals for "Q2 2023"
Pick the top three goals from this list, write a quick sentence for ‘why’ these goals are important. The ‘why’ sentence should be short but well thought out. If you cannot pick the top 3, write a ‘why’ sentence for each – the most important one should become apparent.
The focus here is to get started and run the process end to end, that’s why we’re picking the top three, we’ll come back for the rest and new goals in a future step.
The best goals are ‘directionally’ important. Achieving them means we move in the right direction to continue the mission of this company or product.
Goal planning is not be a solo endeavour.
Get your supervisor involved early in the process to ensure you’re aligned. Send them an email with a basic template like this:
Subject: Q4 2020 Goal Planning
Wondering if you’d have 30mins this week or next to go through my draft goals for the coming quarter? I’ve reflected on where we’re at with this current quarter’s goals, looked at our annual goals and commitments in this next quarter and drafted my goals accordingly.
Thirty minutes this week or next to review this list and suggest any new goals or milestones I should have on my radar for next quarter would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you so much
Get your team involved it’s likely a whole host of folks around you are helping you deliver on your quarterly commitments.
If you haven’t been bringing them along on the journey (hint: you should) it’s worth scheduling time now. Catch your team up on
- where we’re at currently with this quarters goals
- where you think we’ll land at the end of the current quarter
- what’s gone to plan, what’s not gone to plan (hint: this is not a blame game or inquisition)
- what’re the proposed goals for next quarter, why and how you think we’ll achieve those
Time to articulate how & set up for success
If you followed the above steps, you’ve started to define your goals. Soon you’ll have conversations with your supervisor and team to clarify and make adjustments.
Setting lofty goals is a good start, articulating how you’ll achieve those goals is going to drive (or not!) confidence in your strategy by your supervisor and team.
How you’ll cover off your priority areas speaks to your planned execution. What’re the initiatives that’ll get you to where you need to be?
Executing on your priority areas is key to having a successful quarter.
Six steps to set priority areas for next quarter
- Create your friyay.com account
- Enter your goals
- Create & Link initiatives with the goal they make progress towards
- Track progress & status of each initiative regularly
- Drop initiatives not contributing towards your goal
- Double down on initiatives that do contribute towards your goal
- Regularly take your supervisor, team & peers through a top-to-tail of what we’re doing, why and how it is all going
At this point you know what you’re about to work on, why. It’s time to focus your attention on defining how. Let’s briefly talk about tooling. The tool you choose can either help or hinder your efforts. Choose wisely. Friyay.com is a lightweight framework that’ll underpin setting your priority areas, also to define and track progress and status of the goals and initiatives to make progress.
- The product team needs to prioritize a large volume of feedback.
- The customer success team needs to continue the feedback loop. Interacting with users creates a sense of collaboration.
- Their users need a simple, effortless way to voice their feedback.
Benefits of using Friyay.com
- Oversight of all your goals in one place
- A single source of truth for all your Initiatives
Friyay.com is a lightweight framework to connect your day to day activities with your goals.
If you use Friyay.com as intended, you’ll increase your clarity of thought & quality of execution.
This is because Friyay.com underpins key activities required to achieve goals.
Friyay is for you
Ambitious individuals use Friyay to underpin their execution