Dr Keen Mhlanga
As business leaders, the decisions we make and actions we engage in during the first quarter set the tone for the entire year and go a long way forward into determining how our outcomes will look in December.
Beginning strong lays the groundwork for finishing strong. Keeping that in mind, take into consideration the following frequently overlooked reasons to remember how important first quarter (Q1) is to the growth of your business.
So every possible explanation represents a unique opportunity for your organisation to get off to a strong start and capitalise on the most of 2023.
Engage re-entry changes
January is the best month to implement necessary changes with the least amount of backlash. Your team is more likely to be receptive to significant organisational and strategic changes at the start of the year than at other times.
The one about early January makes the idea of doing pressing matters in a whole modern paradigm more appealing. Presuming you make your team’s personal input an organisations communicate of the action plan, listen carefully along the way and publicly start celebrating victories and the individuals who made them conceivable.
This month, you may find it easier to gain acceptance for a major new way of working. So, if it’s time for a big change, take advantage of January, especially early the first quarter. It is the peak season for determining the relevant strategy implementation.
Being able to effectively lead change within your organisation is critical, as it has a greater impact on your culture and bottom line. Companies that excel at change management are three and a half times more likely to outperform their industry peers.
Assuming that your employees understand the changes that your company is undergoing will jeopardise your change initiative. It is necessary to consider how you can inspire, inform, empower, and engage your most powerful ambassadors — and successfully lead your organisation into the future.
Initiate Key Performance Indicators
January is also a good time to start talking about written performance contracts. January is an excellent time to begin one-on-one discussions about written performance agreements. All of these will ideally explicitly state a single, carefully selected Key Performance Indicator (KPI) for which a specific employee is personally responsible for tracking and delivering.
These performance agreements should also include the level of commitment to deliver that KPI. Members of your team will be more open to discussing how they can collaborate with you to create and honour such an agreement in the first few weeks of January than at any other time of the year.
Those very same agreements have three key points to keep in mind. For starters, they are only effective if they are the result of an ongoing dialogue between the leader and the direct report, in which the direct report has real insight about the current performance and the chosen KPI.
In other words, the leader should not try to impose arbitrary performance standards. Second, the direct report should emphasise that performance reviews will always begin with a discussion of the benchmarks associated with the KPI mentioned in this agreement.
Third, these contracts are most likely to succeed when they include a metric over which the direct report has personal, absolute, and unquestionable control.
KPIs include more than the figures and metrics reported out on a weekly basis; they help you understand the performance and health of your business so you can make critical changes in your execution to meet your strategic goals. Knowing and measuring the right KPIs will allow you to achieve results more quickly.
A Key Performance Indicator (KPI) is a measurable metric that shows how well a company is performing in relation to its key business objectives, quarterly rocks, business objectives, and progress toward your 3-5 year strategic plan.
Effectual key performance indicators (KPIs) around which well-written performance agreements can be developed include; average amount per sales transaction, percentage of sales generated by new products, percentage of sales generated by new customers, number of new leads generated, percentage of leads converted to actual sales, and percentage of quotes converted to actual sales.
It is critical to include the number of error-free products/tasks, the percentage of positions filled by internal candidates, the percentage of employees who hold specific certifications, the percentage of products delivered on time, and the percentage of deliveries made without errors.
Create an annual operational rhythm
In order to achieve Operating Rhythm, an organisation creates a predefined communication plan that makes the job of the execution team easier. It ensures that all pertinent information is communicated and tracked in a timely and orderly manner.
This facilitates the flow of information both within and outside the organisation. Also established is clear ownership of tasks that should be performed by each individual and the process to be followed for it.
This reduces employee confusion about who needs to deliver what, when, and how. A well-planned Metric collection and monitoring system is developed, which reduces the complexity of the data collection and analysis process.
The key performance indicators (KPIs) and critical performance benchmarks for the year, both strategically and psychologically. It’s also critical to ensure that you meet the relevant Quarterly benchmarks — those that support your business annual goals. It further entails determining the appropriate cadence for individual teams as well as the company as a whole.
This not only keeps you on track for your annual performance and ensures that team morale is high, but it also means that you can make the necessary investments and grow the company at the rate you expected.
Q1 is when expectations are established, routines are adopted, and the most important internal alliances in support of critical goals are formed. It is critical that the organisation’s working rhythm during this quarter be positive and purposefully designed.
Because of the pandemic’s drastic consequences on businesses, operating rhythms are more important than ever. They create stability, a reliable framework for decision making, good habits, and a system for success.
If you have never taken a step back to examine your operating rhythm — if you have one at all — now is the time. For the sales team, this typically entails ramping up behaviours to meet those critical Q1 targets, as well as monitoring and adjusting performance patterns along the way. It’s similar to running a marathon: we want to pace ourselves, but we also don’t want to find ourselves at the back of the pack after 2 kilometres.
Dr Keen Mhlanga is an Investment Advisor with high skills in Finance. He is the Executive Chairman of FinKing Financial Advisory. Send your feedback to [email protected], contact him on 0777597526.