Not everything takes 90 days - how we changed our quarterly business planning

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I did something a little crazy at the start of last quarter.

It was a warm morning in Tulum, Mexico. I woke up ready to spend the day on quarterly business planning (using the same format I'd been successfully following for 10 years), yet something about it didn't feel right anymore.

Up until this point we'd been following the EOS (Entrepreneurial Operating System) format, and a big part of this is the 90 day priorities, or rocks.

In a sense this 90 day push had been an effective way for us to get things done, rest and then start again. However, one of the big issues we'd faced over the years was not completing priorities because they took longer than 90 days, and not achieving our goals and numbers.

I know I'm not the only entrepreneur who sits around at the end of each quarter scratching my head as to why we haven't reached out goals - yet again - and deciding which priorities to carry forward.

This simple thought ran through my head: not everything takes 90 days.

Some things take 16 days, and other things take 108 days. It's not so simple that everything can be completed in a set period of time.

I also saw that the thing that takes 16 days, likely meant it'd be done toward the deadline, and approximately 44 days would be wasted not working on a new priority.

Anyhow, I meditated on it, and slept on it, and woke up the next day with conviction it was time for a change. In the evening's team meeting, I asked the team what they thought of my new idea:

We'd each determine a priority and work on it until it was completed. Once completed, we'd take a week or two and select a new priority to work on. By way of example, my current priority is raising our seed round of $350,000 and I'm about 1/3 of the way through as it stands right now.

The team agreed and the following week pitched each of their priorities to us, we refined them as a team, and then got to work.

As we head into a new quarter (a fact that's potentially irrelevant to our new style of operating) I'm reflecting on what we've achieved so far. Assessing this move, and whether or not it's been the right one.

Here's what our little team has managed to complete so far...

  1. Built a live dashboard containing our business metrics (moving this stuff out of a bunch of google sheets)

  2. Created and launched our new 360 degree feedback and coaching process for all clients and their contractors (to be carried out quarterly moving forward)

  3. Rebranded our business and all associated collateral (including our social media, and all internal and external documents)

  4. Built and launched a brand new website (this project took 18 months in my last company)

  5. Rebuilt our sourcing strategy to attract talent from all over the world, successfully pushing into South America, the Middle East, and further into Europe

  6. Created a new sales process, and sales playbook

  7. Increased contractor engagement in our Online Community Hub through a content and engagement strategy (which has also resulted in happier contractors and more new candidate referrals)


And here's the things we started (and added), and are still working on...

  1. Capital raise

  2. Our B-Corp application

  3. Contractor coaching and training program

  4. Client online community hub


Overall, I feel really impressed with my team and what we've been able to achieve. Several of us have completed two priorities, and we've added a couple more throughout we're working on now. It feels more in flow, and as though we're using our time and resources more effectively.

As a leader the most rewarding part about this process has been experiencing how engaged my team are. Two of them have even created their own vision statements for their role, and what they want to embody within the organisation. This evolved organically and kind of blew my mind.

I'm working on my own this week, with a focus on helping me to stay in my lane and do what I do best, as much of the time as possible. As a CEO / founder, it can be easy to be pulled into things we're not as good at, don't enjoy, or things someone else could be doing.

It's my goal to be doing my best work for the company in the areas of leadership, vision and strategy, creating content (because I love it) and coaching my team. Anything else I'm doing is likely to be done better by someone else, no matter how easy I tell myself it is to just get it done.

Phew. What an experience! I'm both impressed with what we've achieved, and inspired by my team and how they've each stepped into their power.

My biggest learning from all of this is to trust ourselves and our intuition as leaders when we feel a strong pull toward something.