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Midyear Check-In: 3 New Agenda Items to Propel Your Year-End Success

Midyear Check-In: 3 New Agenda Items to Propel Your Year-End Success

If you’re following the CEO Coaching meeting rhythms, then back in January, your Annual Planning Session set your company’s course for the year.

But what happens if you’re falling short? What can you do to finish the year strong?

For starters, your Q3 alignment meeting should be a wake-up call to roll up your sleeves, figure out what’s wrong, plot a new course, then step on the gas.

Here’s how we coach our clients to run a quarterly alignment meeting to ensure you set your firm on track to hit your numbers.

Review your quarterly alignment agenda.

Treat quarterly alignment sessions much like you would your Annual Planning Session. But, with six months of data to analyze, you’re going to get a bit more granular on the details of your progress and your planning for Q3. For the best results, hold this meeting offsite, and engage a third-party facilitator, like your coach, so that the CEO can fully participate.

CEO Coaching International’s Make BIG Happen System provides leaders with detailed templates for quarterly planning. In brief, make sure your agenda covers the following:

1. Discuss prework. Ahead of the planning session, have attendees answer:

  • What went right this quarter? (Surely some things went well.)
  • What went wrong? (Be honest. You can’t fix what you don’t admit.)
  • What have we learned? (Make knowledge cumulative.)
  • Did we do what we said we would do? (Accountability!)
  • Where did we miss and why? (Get granular here.)

2. Confirm key goals and initiatives from the Annual Planning Session are still valid. And if they’re not, why not and determine if you should adjust.

3. Learn from the experiments of the previous thirteen weeks; keep the ones that worked and scrap the ones that failed.

4. Create Q3 goals to achieve the annual goals.

5. Narrow down potential quarterly initiatives to a shorter, manageable list of about five that have the highest probability of achieving the annual goals and company-wide initiatives.

6. Prioritize agreed-upon initiatives and create a clear set of key activities, metrics, and milestones necessary to achieve each initiative.

7. Establish accountability and deadlines for achieving each initiative and assign the cross-functional teams to deliver on each initiative. If you fell short in the first half of the year, accountability and meeting deadlines for the next six months becomes even more critical.

The good news is, you have six months to fix the shortfall from the first half of the year. Follow the Make BIG Happen System and you’ll have a proven roadmap to get back on track.

Now, you’re not done. Here are three new agenda items to add to your quarterly alignment meeting. Why? Because these are timely and critical drivers of long-term growth and business protection.

1. Plot your AI Roadmap.

This should be a top action item for any company that didn’t include AI integration in its annual planning.

Your competitors are already using AI to breeze through repetitive tasks, provide 24/7 customer support, capture and analyze mountains of data, personalize products and services, and free up top talent to spend more time doing what they do best. You cannot afford to fall any further behind.

Companies that are progressing on their AI Roadmaps should be prepared to:

  • Review current AI initiatives. Is AI having the intended effects on business operations? Are AI integrations driving KPIs that are essential to growth?
  • Assess AI’s impact on culture. Have employees embraced or resisted AI? What kinds of training and opportunities for experimentation should you be providing? Should you upgrade your org chart with more AI-focused talent, such as a Chief AI Officer?
  • Identify opportunities. What’s next on your AI Roadmap? What is AI telling you about market trends and customer behavior? Is it time to create specialized, in-house AI platforms, like an AI agent?

2. Update your cybersecurity protocols.

According to cybersecurity firm IT Governance, over 5 billion records have been breached this year in over 2,000 publicly disclosed incidents. Tech and healthcare firms have been hit the hardest, but crooks are constantly on the lookout for unsecured data, no matter what business you’re in. One cyberattack could be enough to squander years of trust you’ve built up with your customers and employees.

Let your CTO and CAIO take the lead here and plan to cover:

  • Vulnerability to recent attacks: If companies in your business space have been attacked this year, review your defenses against similar threats.
  • Cybersecurity auditing: Schedule a professional assessment of your existing systems and processes.
  • Potential upgrades: What cybersecurity investments should you make, including talent?
  • Training and incentives: Review cybersecurity procedures at every level of the organization, and include cybersecurity in performance reviews. Tech firms might follow Microsoft’s lead and tie individual cybersecurity contributions to incentives, such as bonuses and promotions.

3. Start, Stop, Accelerate, or Decelerate.

Time is one resource your company can’t replenish. Make sure your executives aren’t wasting theirs.

Have each attendee conduct a personal review of their daily to-do lists, as well as the short-term and long-term projects they’re managing. Then, run those activities through the following framework, using your new list of Q3 goals as a guide:

  • Start: What isn’t getting done that needs to get done to keep the company moving towards its objectives?
  • Stop: Which necessary activities should be delegated? In light of Q3 goals, which are no longer necessary?
  • Accelerate: Which test bullets hit their targets in the first half of the year? What opportunities need to be seized, now, before the competition grabs them instead?
  • Decelerate: Where is the company too far over its skis? Could lengthening the timeline on an initiative allow you to reallocate resources now that will improve the odds of success later?

It’s critical that the CEO conducts this exercise as well. Over the course of the year, running the company probably pulled you in one too many directions, or dragged you into the weeds. Use the quarterly alignment meeting to realign your own schedule around your five core responsibilities: Vision, Cash, People, Key Relationships, and Learning.

Ultimately, what the company is really aligning around is the CEO. Whether your business needs to double down on what’s working or make a midyear pivot, it’s your leadership that’s going to keep every executive and employee in sync. Walk into your quarterly alignment meeting with clarity of purpose and you’ll walk out with the plan you need to Make BIG Happen for the rest of the year.

About CEO Coaching International

CEO Coaching International works with CEOs and their leadership teams to achieve extraordinary results quarter after quarter, year after year. Known globally for its success in coaching growth-focused entrepreneurs to meaningful exits, CEO Coaching International has coached more than 1,000 CEOs and entrepreneurs in more than 60 countries and 45 industries. The coaches at CEO Coaching International are former CEOs, presidents, or executives who have made BIG happen. The firm’s coaches have led double-digit sales and profit growth in businesses ranging in size from startups to over $10 billion, and many are founders that have led their companies through successful eight, nine, and ten-figure exits. Companies working with CEO Coaching International for two years or more have experienced an average EBITDA CAGR of 53.5% during their time as a client, more than three times the U.S. average, and a revenue CAGR of 26.2%, nearly twice the U.S. average.

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