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The Sexy Debrief: My 5 Step Process for Reviewing & Setting 90 Day Goals - Ep #32

 

Let’s pretend for a moment that you weren’t confined to your house.

With an afternoon to yourself and a hair appointment across town, you grab a triple venti white mocha from INSIDE of a Starbucks, then speed down the highway.

Tapping the wheel to a Lizzo beat, you start dreaming about the novel you’ll devour in those sweet 90 kid free minutes.

You see brake taps.

As you round the bend, you’re forced to an abrupt STOP in a sea of red tail lights.

This is more than afternoon traffic.

You hug the left left as far as you can to peek ahead…

ROAD CLOSED.

What in the actual hell? Maps didn’t say ANYTHING about a road closure?!

Construction? An accident?

You can’t tell, but you’re certainly no longer taking this route.

But do you scream F this! I’m out! And turn around and go home?

HELL to the NO. You want need your roots done!

Siri, find me a new route.

Because when something is important and obstacles come, you reroute.

And that’s what leaders do. Shift.

You have an audience that sees you as their leader. 

Leaders do NOT throw their goals out the window when curveballs come, leaders keep the vision.

Right about now you might be tempted to abandon those personal and professional goals you set in the new year. 

But this is NOT the time to walk away.

It’s the start of a new quarter, a time to review the last 90 days, including these tumultuous last few weeks. 

I get it.

Things might be a little up in the air for you right now.

And if I’m being totally authentic, I was tempted to skip this quarterly planning sesh.

Business has changed. 

As a speaker, all my events have been cancelled.

As a speaking coach, all my clients’ events have been cancelled.

I’m extremely grateful that I’ve built out digital programs which are still running strong.

I fully recognize that other businesses are not in this position and my heart goes out to those who’ve had to close their doors and don’t know if they’ll walk through them again.

If you’re reading this now, I trust that you have a business that you’re fighting for.

This is the time where you REROUTE.

Give yourself space to reflect on the ground you’ve covered in the last 90 days, regardless of these last few weeks. 

And allow yourself to get into strategic action in the next 90 using my Sexy Debrief process.

OK, first let’s address the elephant in the room. 

Why do I call it the Sexy Debrief?

When consulting with organizations, planning events and running projects in my career, I noticed 3 key issues when it came to reviewing completed projects or end of year planning:

  1. It didn’t exist at all. Teams would jump straight into planning ahead, but didn’t take inventory of the juicy lessons of past quarters or projects.
  2. If they followed a review process, the questions they asked were surface level and stale, never thought about again (and a big waste of time to all in the room).
  3. For those who had a process to review, they called it a “Post Mortem”. I couldn’t process anything after that, because I assumed we were about to die.

A review and strategic planning process should BRING LIFE into your world.  

Why should looking in the rearview mirror to plan strategically be a drag? It’ VISION not DEATH!

Why not make the review process functional AND fun?

So I slapped a sexy name on the process I’d been finessing for years. Now, not only do I apply this to each project in my business, I run through it quarterly for my personal goals.

Here’s how it works.

#1 Review What Happened

Get out a stack of post-it notes and list out everything that happened in the last 90 days, one per post-it. IF it helps, think about things from a quantitative (metrics and key performance indicator) and qualitative (projects, team milestones, etc) perspective..

Try not to let your mind wander to wins or “crap, that was terrible”. Focus on each item as just something that happened, like a diary of events. Here are some examples of items you might include:

  • Sales
  • Gross & Net Revenue
  • Email list size starting and ending the quarter
  • Audience on Social
  • Podcast downloads or Video Views
  • Podcast and guest interviews given
  • Speaking events
  • Key projects like recording your digital course
  • Consistently producing weekly content
  • Completing a training program

Get it all out. If you need help, review your calendar.

#2 Categorize them: Good to Ugly.

Now that you have everything out objectively, you can begin to assess and understand each item. I want you to categorize these events and metrics into 3 categories.

This is the part I confess that I like to use language that makes me laugh and not be stuffy and wordy.

About 10 years ago, I hired two incredible ride or die teammates. We were sleep deprived at the end of a very long event after working 80+ hour weeks for months. 

With sleepy eyes and happy hearts (we nailed the event), we laid on a ballroom floor behind production and decided to debrief the event while eating red vines and cheetos, while things were fresh in our minds. 

We simply asked:

  • What was good?
  • What was ugly?
  • What was ugly, but still pretty damn good? 

And we had an extremely productive debrief.

Still to this day, it’s how I categorize and debrief every quarter (shout out to Jessica + Brent)..

Good.

When you look at your post-its, what stands out as a win? Take item that lands in this category and group them together.  Reflect, is there anything you’re missing? If so, add it now. Capture all your wins (this step will make it a heck of a lot easier to reflect at the end of the year).

Ugly. 

Let’s be honest, your brain probably went here first. It was probably the first set of items that came to mind. Go ahead, group them together. These are items that if you had a do over, you would completely overhaul the approach.

Ugly, but good.

These are the items that ultimately, worked out, but you wish you could have done them differently. Use your judgement. Sometimes we initially categorize things as “That was a FLOP”, but when we really take the time to consider it, we realize.. “Hey, that sucked. It was super hard and we were on the struggle bus, but ultimately, we made it work!”. 

This is what I like to think about as the grace bucket.  

Give yourself a lot of grace

It’s ok if it was ugly in the process, take your wins where you can.

#3: Capture Your Lessons

Take a moment to review each category and sit with it. Take out a blank journal and start writing out what comes to mind.

  • How do you FEEL about the quarter?
  • What did you learn?
  • How can you improve?
  • What can you replicate?
  • What should you STOP doing?

It’s important to allow yourself to freely think. And it needs to be OUTSIDE of you head. On paper or say it out loud. This is where it would be great to talk it out with a member of your team, a peer in a mastermind or a trusted friend. 

Don’t let thoughts just sit in your head.  We think those are super clear and make sense… but friend, have you ever tried to articulate those thoughts later?

It’s hard. 

Get them out of your head and onto paper.

#4: Revisit Your Vision & Annual Goals 

Now’s the time to revisit the goals you set for yourself at the start of the quarter. Hopefully, this isn’t the first time you’re revising these (if it is, make a note back in step 3 to NOT do that again).

Start a new page in your journal and as you review your goals and notes, ask and answer:

    • Are you still on track?
    • How have these goals changed?
    • Do you need to adjust?
    • How can you reimagine?

#5: Set 90 Day Priorities & Goals

Now that you’ve done a heck of a lot of reflecting and revisited your bigger vision, it’s time to set your priorities for the next 90 days.

Get clear on WHICH metrics you need to move. Example, my top 3 metrics for Q2 are revenue, list size and student enrollment. 

Then select the top 1-3 projects that have to happen during the next 90 days.  

Caution - you may be tempted to select a bunch of smaller projects. Ask yourself the question: will you get further on your bigger vision goals by choosing 1-2 BIG rocks vs a handful of pebbles? (For more on this, check our Traction by Gino Wickman.. It’s a super good read for leaders).

And there you have it, your Sexy Q1 Debrief.

A documented snapshot of your last 90 days, the good and the ugly. And your top priorities for the next 90.

To make solid progress, here’s a few last tips for staying on track:

  1. Put these top 1-3 projects into project plans (accounting for all tasks)
  2. Add key milestones to your calendar and schedule time to work on them
  3. Set weekly check ins. Each Sunday, I set up my week by identify my top 3 things that have to happen that week to move the needle on my quarterly priorities.
  4. Set your daily big 3 by chunking out those weekly focus areas into smaller bit size tasks.

Want a tool to support you with the actionable daily management? I highly recommend the Full Focus Planner. I’ve been using it for years and it helps you with the weekly and quarterly process.

So now it’s time to get to work! Get your Sexy Debrief on. And hey, let’s make it even more fun… snap a photo of your post-it sesh and tag me on Instragram.

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