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Quarterly planning done well can be a great communication tool. It enables the board to have meaningful conversations, save time and ensure that all players feel valuable partners on the team.

Why Quarterly Planning

If your board has a strategic plan, it probably covers three or more years. Board members are busy people and they want to know, “What needs to be done now?”

One way to make work more manageable, is to break the work outlined in the strategic plan into quarters. This way it is clear what needs to be completed immediately and what can be left for a future time. It enables each board member to determine what they can contribute at each point in time based on their other commitments, areas of interest and requirements associated with their board role.

The Benefits of Quarterly Planning

Quarterly planning provides:

  1. a road map and as a result the work doesn’t seem as overwhelming.
  2. an opportunity to evaluate what has been accomplished, what has been missed and to problem solve without wasting valuable board time.
  3. a moment to celebrate successes and for board members to feel good about the contribution they are making to the board.
  4. a time to check in on the entity’s cultural health, reputation, risks and overall performance.
  5. a time to determine whether board education is required before other tasks are undertaken.
  6. a chance to ensure that the CEO and board are on the same wavelength.
  7. An occasion to plan for a successful next quarter.
  8. An opportunity to ensure that the mandate of the entity is being honored and to self correct as necessary.
  9. Topics to place on a running agenda making it easy to identify what needs to be scheduled when on future meeting agendas.

Outcomes When Quarterly Planning is Done Poorly

Unless the expectations are clearly articulated there is a possibility that

  • the actual amount of work is underestimated.
  • the expected outputs and outcomes are not met and it leads to lots of excuses and rationalization overloading future quarters.
  • the work gets left to the last minute.
  • there is an under commitment by board members and the CEO, this becomes visible but it is ignored.
  • task completion rates are well below what was expected.
  • one person’s procrastination can affect others’ ability to fulfill their role.
  • people will ignore the plan or refuse to accept their obligations.

Planning is essential for the effectiveness of any board. Knowing what is expected between meetings is also essential. Therefore, quarterly planning done well can be a great communication tool. It enables the board to have meaningful conversations, save time and ensure that all players feel valuable partners on the team.

Board Roles: Important Information Known Only To The Best

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