business review

How to maximize the value of the business review

When it comes time for major business reviews — quarterly, biannually or annually — many leaders take a reactive approach.

Just before these meeting times roll around, employees spiff up spreadsheets. They slap the spreadsheets onto a PowerPoint that check boxes of what needs reported and what they guess will make the executives happy.

Revenue and sales numbers are included, but they are meaningless numbers because the employees do not know how they got there and what will come next.

Leadership sees these numbers: “Our financial expectations are X and you failed to meet it…”

Then leadership sends its employees on a mad scramble to try to make up for lost productivity and missed goals, though few achieve it in this manner.

Business reviews do not need to look like this, and in fact, when leadership is aligned and more proactive than reactive, performance fares better.

Put the purpose and people with the numbers

Taking a proactive approach to the business review necessitates a shift in culture.

First, everyone in your company needs to understand: A well-aligned purpose is key for all stakeholders to focus on for the collective benefit of everyone. Companies are solving real problems for real people. This reality — this purpose — needs to take root into your entire company culture for business reviews and reflections to hold any true meaning. This approach generally results in what we refer to as FAME (Focus, Alignment, Momentum and Execution). Quite simply, FAME means all people are rowing in the same direction towards the company vision.

When teammates and departments share data and information with one another, they should be encouraged to use purpose for proper context and the appropriate filter in what to report on and analyze.

“We are struggling this quarter because we lost two salespeople, but this is how we are planning to still meet our quotas by the end of the year…” can add the why to the what.

Your entire organization must align around:

  • The company purpose (why do we exist?)
  • The vision/mission (where are we trying to go and how will we get there?)
  • Strategy, plans and goals (what are our individual responsibilities and who does what, when and how?)

“These numbers do not achieve our goals” becomes “What are our customers doing?” and “How do we meet those needs?”

Said another way, these review meetings foster solution and value conversations versus reactive finger pointing and dilutive management direction.

Metrics and alignment

Second, rather than scrambling to throw together reports once a quarter or twice a year, team leaders should be constantly reviewing the state of business, talking to employees, listening to client stories. Fall into a cadence of business reviews, and remember that the best leaders know where the business is at all times — and even better leaders can see where it is going.

Further guidelines include:

  1. Alignment: on purpose, mission/vision, strategy, plans and goals.
  2. Meeting preparation: Set the right expectations and generate a collaborative exchange of information in a safe environment. This should not be a top-down, one-way conversation. Encourage everyone to share real information, even if it is challenging. Keep the conversation around the customers and the value your company provides.
  3. Accountability: What are you going to do? More of? Less of? What help is needed? Provide tangible action items from the review and provide periodic updates to everyone.

When these guidelines are followed, business reviews become more robust, collaborative and useful. They also foster a culture of unity and continuous success

Could your organization’s business review process use outside guidance? Contact us.