It’s mid-September and time to think about how to win the fourth quarter. It’s been an interesting year for many businesses as we continue to deal with the pandemic, supply chain problems, and inflation fears. And while we can’t change anything about the last nine months, we can build the plan to finish the year strong.
An exercise I like to use with my clients is something called “Bend the Curve.” Typically I use this process when walking my clients through the creation of a One Page Business Plan. It’s how we identify the significant projects they can undertake over the year that will drive results three to five years out. You can also use this method to identify the two to three things you can do now, in September, to win the fourth quarter and finish strong. In this post, I’m going to walk you through a simple, four-step process to “Bend the Curve.” In Bend The Curve, we identify what activities can push our business just a little bit further past our goals.
Step 1 – Set the Objective
Objectives are measurable, graphable results we use to assess our success. So what are the objectives you need to achieve in the fourth quarter to make a difference? I encourage you to look at leading indicators like sales calls, networking events, client renewals, or expense reductions.
You want to identify items to measure that can significantly impact your bottom line over the next three months. Look at your performance against that objective year to date and last year. Then set a number that is aggressive enough to make a difference in your outcomes without being so over the top you have no chance of achieving it.
I recommend you identify one significant objective to target to win the fourth quarter. Be intentional and be selective. The number you set should make a meaningful difference in your success.
Step 2 – Brainstorm
Now, get your team together and brainstorm. What are the 2 or 3 projects, programs, or actions that will be required to achieve that objective?
This is a valuable and needed exercise for successful execution. What can you do to increase your odds of success? It’s essential to get creative and don’t leave any ideas off the table. And the effort may be easier than you think. Keep the team focused on the Objective, though. The danger is in this stage is taking your eye off the one objective that will make the difference.
Step 3 – Identify the Resources Needed
After brainstorming the ideas that will help you win the fourth quarter, start thinking about what you need to pull this idea off.
Do you need to redeploy members of the team? Make changes to systems? Increase your budget for travel or new activities? You’ve identified this is a crucial objective for success. Don’t hinder yourself by not getting everything in place for execution.
Step 4 – Draft Action Plans
Now that you have identified your key objectives, brainstormed ideas to make it happen, and gathered the resources you need for success, you need to build the plan. What are the key elements for developing it?
- Identify who on the team is responsible for each of your 2-3 projects
- Set a completion date for the project
- Set vital milestones – what needs to happen and by when
- Measure your progress – each day or week, check-in
- Flex – make the changes you need to hit your milestones and deadline
Bend that Curve
Now you have identified the key objective that will move the needle for you to finish the fourth quarter strong. You know how and what you will need to make it happen. You have a plan. Now it’s time to execute.
Leaders, this is your time to shine. Motivate the team, keep them focused on this one goal. Of course, other things are going on in your business, but you need to ensure everyone knows the most important.
And, once you’ve hit the goal and win the fourth quarter, take some time to celebrate. Far too often, we miss that crucial step in our business. Marking success motivates your team and helps them to remember why they work so hard every day.
Do you need help to win the fourth quarter?
Bending the Curve s is an exciting opportunity for you to pull the team together and focus on team success. But it’s not always easy, and life tends to throw challenges in your path.
I’m here to help. Schedule a 15-minute introductory call with me, and let’s talk specifically about your situation. At the end of our conversation, you and I can make a mutual decision if it makes sense to move forward. In either case, I will do my best to leave you with one actionable step you can take to move your business or your career forward.