4 Critical Questions to Start the Quarter Strong

Many leaders don’t take advantage of the opportunities inherent in the beginning of the new quarter.  You have an opportunity to reset the playing field and how you are performing.

Are you set to start your quarter strong? 

In a recent conversation with one of my executive coaching clients, he said, “this quarter is going to make or break me.” As we began our coaching session, he described the level of frustration he felt with his team’s performance. He saw that they were underperforming but was unable to get them to shift how they were operating.  Without a change, they were going to miss the deadlines and cause the company great anguish. My client, the CEO, had to see a change in their behavior within the upcoming quarter otherwise he would have to answer to the Board.

In order to refocus him so he could get his team back on track, we went through the following four questions which allowed him to reflect on his progress during the previous quarter and develop strategies to start the new quarter strong:

  1. What are your key wins and learnings this past quarter? It's helpful to be able to reflect on where you have been in a useful way so that you can capture the learnings and carry them forward. Consider what you have accomplished, the results you’re producing, and how you are tracking your goals.  Dig deeper than your quarterly report and be honest about what you have really accomplished (or not). This helps level set everyone on the team to both celebrate the wins and also identify shortcomings.

  2. How will you accelerate performance to meet your goals? What are the specific levers that must be pulled to finish the year strong? Most leaders believe they understand how to achieve performance yet they lack the true understand about how to accelerate performance for themselves and their team. Take time to identify the top three strategies you can introduce to accelerate performance.  This can be a powerful conversation with your leaders to ensure they are focused on performance acceleration

  3. What could get in the way of a higher level of performance to hit your goals? Too often people don't ask this question and then it ends up surprising them and holding them back. You may do a “risk mitigation” plan for your projects but often the deeper questions about how things could get off track or go wrong, get missed. Leaders often have blind spots here and it costs them later.  This helps you identify potential blindspots (your own and others) earlier to build a solid plan to address them. 

  4. What does the upcoming 90 days actually look like? Setting your sights on the future will help you to be able to stretch and create a bigger vision that's really inspiring and will motivate you and your team. Move beyond just your stated business goals and metrics to generate a new level of inspiration, innovation and engagement for yourself and your team. This question focuses you and your team on the 90 day vision and plan to prevent “project myopia” and limited thinking.  

You may be able to answer the first two questions but it’s actually all four together and, specifically, the last two that will make the most difference to your performance this year. Those questions will illuminate your blind spots and future vision. 

Even if the beginning of the year did not work out very well and you've not created the results that you were hoping for, you can always hit the reset button, recalibrate, and create a better second half of the year. 

Too often leaders start the year behind and finish the year behind.  Let’s change that pattern now. Consider creating space in your calendar for your own curated leadership immersion to address your current leadership challenges so you can accelerate your performance for the rest of the year.

Athena Williams, Founder of Uplevel DNA and Executive Coach, has been facilitating leadership retreats for individuals and organizations for over 18 years.  Her powerful, impactful approach creates deep and sustainable transformation within a short time. She is currently hosting retreats virtually, onsite and in select locations where clients fly in for their retreat, the Uplevel DNA Leadership Immersion, in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Maui or Auckland, New Zealand.