Successful companies have clearly defined goals and detailed plans for achieving them. They know that business goals aren’t chosen once and then quickly forgotten. Instead, they’re frequently monitored and re-evaluated.

In every Petra Coach planning session with a company, we help to unify the team in goal-setting by defining a “quarterly theme.” This process starts with a brainstorming session where team members set goals for themselves and the company as a whole. Then we help everyone work together to agree on one overarching theme and visual, which allows them to track progress through the quarter and achieve the goal.

Quarterly themes vary by situation, goal and company. For those wanting to drive visits to their website or online sales, they might take on a social media or email campaign theme. For a team that is unified around more personal goals like weight loss and better eating, the team may opt for a fitness theme. Both are strong and can propel your company forward if developed collectively by team members.

Whether you choose a personal or company-oriented challenge, what’s important is that you take the time to come together as an organization to make it happen – and that everyone has buy-in and accountability.

Here are four steps to create a successful quarterly theme:

  1. Include everyone. Standing quietly on the sidelines won’t help your company implement a collaborative quarterly theme or its goals. Get everyone involved, even if it’s in different ways. For example, some team members may be more likely to vocalize their ideas while others may be more comfortable creating the graphic. But you need input from all team members to ensure you are working toward the right goal and that it is attainable.
  2. Set a SMART goal. As you develop your quarterly challenge, specify what your goal is and how you’ll measure success. Also, the goal should be achievable and realistic. For example, if your challenge is for each team member to bring in new business prospects, determine exactly what that means. When has a new business prospect officially been “brought in?” How many new business prospects is each member responsible for bringing in, and does everyone have the tools to do so? Lastly, be sure to set a timely deadline for the goal. Make sure it’s clear to everyone how they can succeed and that expectations are understood across the team. The theme should be challenging, but should also prepare the entire team to succeed.
  3. Engage in competition. Sometimes just the idea of competition spurs people toward success. And that’s what you want. Split your team into small groups, take one of the main company objectives and challenge each team to develop a method for tracking progress toward the goal. After developing their ideas, teams should do a quick sketch to show how it will work and be monitored. Then, have each team pitch its idea to the group. This ensures the best ideas come to the surface. Vote on which method you believe is best and have all teams rally behind this idea and put it into motion.
  4. Treat yourself. Let’s be honest—perks make competition better! Determine up front what the reward will be when the team has worked together to accomplish the goal. That will keep members motivated through the quarter and propel them toward the finish line. It could be a celebration at the office, such as ending work early one Friday and ordering in your team’s favorite food, or a company outing to a ball game or go-cart race.

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