Most companies have a December year-end which means many organizations are heading into their second quarter of driving activity to meet their year’s objectives. Leaders will debate which quarter of the year is the most important in achieving their objectives – some think starting the year over budget is the key; others wait for the third quarter – reassessing at the halfway point to change course. And some leaders feel that either the second or fourth quarter is most important.
While starting off the year well is desirable, I have always found that the second quarter is where the rubber meets the road. Whether your year end is on a calendar basis or not – wherever your second quarter falls, it is the one where you can make or break the year.
For me, the second quarter is the best time to assess where you have been, re-evaluate where you are going, decide how you are going to continue, and double down on implementing the key strategies to meet or exceed your goals. In my experience, when teams wait until the third quarter to reassess, they do not have enough time to actually affect the course of the year. It comes down to planting enough seeds in the second quarter and then implementing those strategies to finish strong in the second half.
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This also means, no matter how much heavy lifting you have already done, more work lies ahead.
Some things to consider prior to your second quarter:
- Do you have the right people available and are you nurturing your team to thrive, succeed and engage at the highest level?
- How does your performance year-to-date compare to your budget/targets?
- What strategies are working? Which ones are not? (Consider whether this is due to a lack of implementation or of resources, or is it simply the wrong strategy.)
- What adjustments do you need to make to ensure Q2 is successful?
- Identify any unforeseen changes since your last budgeting process? How can you compensate?
- Are there new opportunities that need to be leveraged?
- How do you get more ‘quick wins’ and drive momentum toward your goals?
- Is your organization staying focused on the key strategies or are there distractions? How do you eliminate these?
- Are you ready to make the tough decisions needed to deliver on your year and are you setting your team up for success?
During this assessment, do not forget to include your team in the evaluation process – they will see things from a different point of view, and add value and ownership to the process.
The key takeaway. Time is of the essence and the more quickly you pivot and/or redouble your efforts, the better the outcome will be.
Get ready for the real work to begin!