We recently held a quarterly team meeting. We gathered virtually, of course, but not because of the pandemic. We gathered virtually because our entire team is spread out across the country.
You may ask, “What’s so special about a team meeting?”
While we communicate with one another daily and are likely as in-tune with one another as any team, we understand how critical it is to stop regularly to ensure we are all on the same page as an organization. Some things are too important to be left to chance.
That was the purpose of this recent meeting; it’s what makes it special for us.
All too often, organizations do their annual planning (sadly, many don’t even do this), go out for a big dinner and drinks celebration, put the plan on the shelf and forget about it until next year.
We find that inexcusable.
Once a quarter, we have a team meeting to keep the plan alive and real. We stop to review and discuss the progress we’ve made to our annual goals. But, maybe even more important than that, we discuss the biggest picture possible of who we are as an organization, what we do, why we do it, and for whom we do it.
Our quarterly agenda
For ourselves and the member agencies of the Q4iNetwork, we have created a planning tool called our Transformation Tracker. As the name implies, it tracks our respective journeys to success.
Here are the items we discuss, along with some of our (Q4i’s) specific answers.
Our Why/Purpose – What is it that drives us emotionally to do what we do.
To transform and serve the industry
Value Proposition – What clients get as a result of working with us.
We help agencies put the right number of the right opportunities into their pipeline, systematically move those opportunities to close and run more efficient organizations around the resulting clients.
Values – The organizational values through which we ensure we demonstrate our desired behaviors with one another and with our clients.
Be intentional. Stay curious. Always challenge. Collaborate boldly.
Someday goal - That big-ass goal hanging out there in the future.
Ideal client – A description of the client best aligned with what we offer.
Independent agency with a significant benefit presence, strong leadership, a genuine desire to transform, and a willingness to work hard.
Sales process – The systematic process through which we take prospects to make a mutual decision of whether or not we should be working with one another.
Brand identity – What we want the market to say about us.
They make us uncomfortable at times, but they do so because they know it leads us to the confidence to do what we know we need to do.
How we tell our story (i.e., our marketing strategy) – What is our overarching message? To whom do we take that message? What mediums will we use to ensure the audience sees and hears the message? How often are we executing our strategy?
Three-year vision – This isn’t some flowery vision statement that we wordsmith, frame, and hang on the wall. It is a detailed description of the organization we are committed to becoming. It includes growth rate, profitability, solutions we’ll deliver, team members to be added, etc.
Annual theme – Every year, we choose an overall theme that guides our actions and conversations for the year, both internally and externally. You can read more about this idea in previous posts.
This year, our theme is “Up Your Game.”
Most important key performance indicator (KPI) – The single most important metric for us to improve this year and our progress towards our goal of improvement.
Key objectives – Those top goal in each critical operational area of marketing, sales, service, and leadership.
Key performance indicators – The collective list of metrics that tell our story and allow us to make the most informed decisions. (Download our planning docs if you’re interested in seeing the KPIs we believe are most important for agencies and producers.)
Our focus for the upcoming quarter – If we could only accomplish ONE THING this coming quarter, what does it need to be?
What we’re celebrating from the quarter just ending – It is critical to reflect on the specifics of what we accomplished.
You deserve this conversation
If you’re not having this type of conversation with your team regularly, chances are you’re not as cohesive, effective, or efficient as you need to be. It’s pretty safe to say you’re not meeting your full potential.
If you haven’t thought through these questions before, I’ll admit, it takes a bit of effort the first time around. However, I promise the energy that results from the conversations makes the effort more than worthwhile.
Once the resulting plan is established and kept alive, it isn’t difficult to keep it current. Besides, look back at the list, how empowering will it be for your team to know yourselves at this level? What seemingly impossible challenges will this level of self-awareness allow you to overcome?
So, what do you think? Are you ready to #UpYourGame and start having this type of conversation with your team? See what I did there? 😏
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Photo by Andrey Pavlov