Business changes much like the seasons of the year. Winter is a time for introspection and reflection as much of life lies dormant. Spring is a time for renewal, while summer and fall are times of growth and harvest. In business, we have similar cycles—though they are not the same for every business, nor in the same time frame as the seasons of the year. This is why we need to artificially create a quarterly planning process where we slow down, reflect and map out strategic and tactical changes in our businesses—wintertime, so to speak. This also means we may need to make changes in our activities or behaviors at work during these periodic reviews.
At a minimum, we need to revisit certain core aspects of our business to determine what has and has not changed. What is broken and needs fixing? What works well and needs to continue? During these periodic “winter” breaks, focusing on our core requires us to revisit our long term goals, our values, our strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, along with trends in our industry.
Refocusing on quarterly planning
The year-end planning session necessarily requires a year-in-review and year-ahead planning process. The truth is, over time most of us tend to get caught up in or consumed by day-to-day activities. As a result, we become distracted—even overwhelmed—by details and activities in our business that don’t produce the really BIG changes we desire. Over time, we often find ourselves increasingly wasting time on the wrong types of work. Refocusing our talents back on the right type of work thus becomes one of the important outcomes of these quarterly planning and refocusing sessions.
Without a coach, mentor or outside objective voice, we can easily lose sight of what is most important. Typically, coaches and mentors are professionals skilled in seeing these patterns in people’s businesses and lives. Our business goals can get forgotten and our purposes ignored.
As a result, we may start missing opportunities, adopt bad habits or get into comfort zones that keep us from running our lives and businesses at their full potential. That is why periodically, we need to create a peaceful setting, away from our place of work to reflect, question, think, plan, and grow. We need to step away to get refocused on the big picture. Think of it as a quarterly “winter break”— a time of introspection and reflection.
Have you ever noticed following a well-deserved vacation you return with a renewed sense of vigor and determination to begin anew with a changed perspective or changed approach? Taking a break from daily life to see things differently is important. So is the case with your businesses too—winter begets springtime at this stage.
By taking time away from your business, you will start to see things differently. You will start to prioritize your efforts and activities like never before. You will more effectively manage the necessary changes in your business rather than just merely reacting to what is changing. You will do a better job of setting priorities so that your days, weeks and months become more intentional and planned. Necessarily, your team or teams will do the same under your renewed leadership, sharpened vision, goals and purpose. Finally, you and your team will be more accountable for achieving the results you want in your businesses. Remember, just as the change in seasons throughout the year have a purpose in nature, your business’s seasons and cycles do as well.