This sample agenda for having effective quarterly planning meetings balances discussion of your day-to-day needs with the planning required for a successful long term strategy.
In the opening session, the executive team will look at past results and compare them with the plan. When productive, this discussion will reveal what is going well, but also what needs to be changed.
Following a brief break, the quarterly planning meeting agenda moves on from the past and into the future. First, the leadership team will decide what the focus will be for the upcoming quarter. Then the meeting agenda discussion turns to how each individual executive can contribute to success by aligning their main priorities to the company focus. While this is a somewhat short section on the sample agenda, it will usually require the most time as part of the broader quarterly planning meeting template.
Once priorities and actions have been decided, you must consider how the content of this meeting should be shared with the rest of the company. This is usually good material for an All Hands type of meeting, but that doesn’t mean that should be the only way information is disseminated. What information must be shared ASAP? What can wait?
Finally, the quarterly planning meeting agenda template reminds you to summarize the key decisions made in the meeting, and together, commit to them. Because quarterly planning meetings can be mentally rigorous, this moment for reflection is to stop and say, “Wait a minute, what did we just agree on?” Doing this will help everyone leave the meeting with as clear a picture as possible on what will come next.
Best practices for quarterly planning meetings
1. Before the meeting, outline the business results and management focus for the upcoming quarter.
2. During the opening session, review progress against financial goals and discuss gaps that challenge progress.
3. Decide on a goal or goal-based focus for this quarter and what makes sense to include in each of your quarterly plans.
4. Clarify how each executive will contribute to the overall success of the organization by aligning their main priorities with the company focus—in a way they can make a significant difference in achieving results.
5. Each executive will review their top priorities for the upcoming quarter and align them with the overall company focus.
6. Each executive will share their revised action plans with the group so they can receive input, feedback, and buy-in.
7. Close by summarizing key decisions made, committing to them, and reviewing next steps for additional discussion or action items outside of this meeting.
Should you talk about strategy or tactics in a planning meeting?
For the most part, the strategy and tactics should be kept separate in a quarterly planning meeting. Strategy typically includes long term goals and priorities. Tactics include shorter term projects, purchases, and personnel decisions that directly impact results but are dependent on the overall strategy.
The quarterly planning meeting is also a great time to talk about the key company resources you lack, which is an essential conversation for future growth. Communicating your biggest business challenges often requires management to update its board of directors with opportunities worth exploring, so they can give you the resources you need to succeed.
Who attends a quarterly planning meeting?
While it is important to invite all of your employees to share ideas, focus only on your top level leadership team in the quarterly planning meeting template. In this meeting, you will discuss the company’s short-term goals and outline actions for achieving them. The most important thing that will come out of this meeting is a plan for each executive that supports the strategy.
Why do you need a quarterly planning meeting?
The biggest reason to have a quarterly planning meeting is to ensure everyone shares the same vision for a company’s future. By talking about the successes of the past quarter, focusing on the current state of affairs, and deciding what will be done in the future, everyone will be able to get on board with your company’s vision.
How should you structure a quarterly planning meeting?
Structure your quarterly meeting around a set of recurring topics for each quarter. The free quarterly planning meeting agenda template on this page will give you a good start in that respect. While these topics may change from quarter to quarter as priorities may shift or new issues arise, it is important to follow a consistent structure overall.
When should you call a quarterly planning meeting?
Because this is a quarterly meeting, it is typically held after each 3 month period. The meeting need not be held on the first day of the quarter.