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A Major Strategic Planning Milestone: End of 1st Quarter 2010

Since late 2008, most of our team meetings have been focused on how could we outwit, outplay and outlast this darn recession and be better for it on the other side. But there’s one meeting that stands out for me.

In January of 2009, I remember a meeting with our staff of both our Richmond & Tallahassee offices in which we were discussing the recession and the potential impacts and opportunities for our business. During the meeting Tom had referenced Jerry Lee Lewis’ “Last Man Standing” album and for whatever reason that became my symbol for surviving the recession. I even posted the littly guy above in my office.

In that meeting, we also referenced one of the quotes that we all keep posted in and around our offices -“Money Matters. Performance Counts. Time is the Enemy.” I looked at that quote a lot last week and reflected on just how true that quote is and how time flies!

Last week marked the end of the first quarter of 2010. So, it’s that time to ask questions such as:

  • What had you set out to accomplish during the 1st quarter?
  • How did you do?
  • Have you communicated your progress with all team members?
  • How does performance in Q1 impact expectations/goals for Q2 and beyond?
  • Does everyone have a clear understanding of what is expected of them?

If you had a plan in writing, hopefully you’re looking at it on a daily/weekly bases to monitor progress and make adjustments to the plan as necessary.

If your plan isn’t a living document that is part of your routine, at a minimum you should be taking the time on a quarterly basis to put things on pause, review your plan, assess performance, address accountability issues, make adjustments & communicate what’s on the horizon for all hands.

In hindsight, I think all I could mentally process at the time was to be the “Last Man Standing” on December 31, 2009. And, in fact we not only survived it, but 2009 was a record year for us.

Even so, with the economy still struggling, everyone on our team is still operating in survival mode – there’s that little suspicion that always lingers that says you’re not in the safe zone yet. And, in the long run, I believe that mindset is going to serve us well.

So, 3 months into this new year, I’m keeping these little signs up in my office and our plan close at hand.

><(("> Melissa Laughon

Melissa is a ><(("> Team Member at Catch Your Limit, a management consulting firm with offices in Tallahassee, Florida and Richmond, Virginia. To learn more, visit

Posted in Strategic Planning.

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