Leadership Strategies to Make Your First Quarter Rock!
As we head into the holiday season, the last thing you are probably thinking about is the first quarter. Those first three months of the year when you have to get back to work, start thinking about budget, attracting new customers and getting your team ready to hit their goals.
That is exactly what you as the leader need to be thinking about now. Because if you wait until the first quarter, you have already started the year behind. If you are not prepared to hit the ground running that first day of that first month, then there is the likelihood that first month will produce less than lack-luster results. So, a first month that yields lack-luster results is a pretty strong indicator that you are going to have lack-luster results that first-quarter and all year long.
So why is the first quarter so hard?
Because it is the start of the year, and it is always hard getting started. Plus, you have just come back from some time off where you might have eaten a little too much, celebrated a little too hard, and let yourself indulge in some well-deserved family time and relaxation. Then you all know how hard it is after the holiday parties, cookies and pies to muster up the motivation to get up early and be a go-getter.
If you think you are feeling that way, your customers must be feeling that way too. They are probably far more focused on getting themselves oriented back into their businesses than talking to you. Lastly, you’ll fool yourselves into thinking that you do not have to “overperform” in January because you have all year long to make up for one lousy month.
Put all of that together, and it is a recipe for a stressful year that forces you to work harder and harder to catch-up. So, what’s the answer, and how do you prepare yourself now for a robust first quarter?
5 Strategies Every Leader Must Do Now for A Powerful First Quarter
1. Get A Plan
First things first is you need a plan. You need to know what you need to accomplish in the coming year, and what that looks like for the first quarter. Once you determine your direction, you need a plan to get there. It would be best if you identified the real actions, and steps you and your team needs to be taking to keep on track to both hit your numbers for the first quarter and all through the year.
The power of a plan is that you no longer have to waste time thinking about what to do and when to do. By taking the time now to determine your goals and plans, you can rest assured when the first of January comes you and your team will be ready!
2. Prioritize Coaching
If you want your team to perform, then you need to invest the time in helping them get there. The most valuable investment you can make in your role as a coach in the first quarter is spending time with your team. The first quarter is the time to get a feel for what your team members are doing to hit their goals, where their skills are strong, where they need support and what if any training and development they may need.
Always remember, that that investing in coaching your team to increase your performance, you are making an investment that will be consistent returns.
3. Set Expectations
Next you want to be clear on what you expect of your team, and then ask them what they expect of you. What they need from you as a leader and coach to help them meet their goals. If you want your team to be efficient and effective, you need to be very specific on what it is that you want from them regarding how they spend their time, how they interact with one another and how they communicate with customers.
The more detailed you can be about your expectations, the deeper understanding your team has about what it takes and means to be successful.
4. Clarify the Training
The training that you want to invest in and your team will need in the coming year. The first quarter is great to learn what gaps the team has concerning skills and tools and then line-up the training to get them the support they need.
If you plan for training now, learn both what is required and the best ways to deliver it, you can proactively provide consistent on-going learning that will ensure your team’s performance continues to improve.
5. Spend Time on The Frontline
And then last but not least, get out from behind your desk and spend some time on the frontline. The best way to support your team is to experience what they are experiencing and see their challenges and opportunities from their perspective.
The worst place for any leader to spend time the first quarter is behind your desk and in your office. You belong out there in the trenches with your team.
So there, don’t you feel better?
Now you have the challenges of the first quarter solved. You know both what to do and how to do it, and the best way to help your team to be successful. Now you can take some time off, celebrate with the family, and thoroughly enjoy the overeating and the relaxation that comes with the holiday season!
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