I Get a Little Fiery about Quarterlies

A new client showed me her management guidebook, which stated, “Quarterlies may be called ‘quarterlies’ but their frequency may vary.”  If they are quarterly, then they occur quarterly! Consistency and intentionality are foundational to this process.  

Yes, I get a little fiery about quarterlies. I love them so much! Why? Because regularly planned and structured connection time is a perfect way to ensure ongoing dialogue with each team member. In fact, when I polled my team about employee engagement and what we needed to keep, the answer was quarterlies.  

And if you aren’t the formal leader of others, then lead your leader by telling them you want to meet quarterly.  Describe your intentions to stay engaged; that this meeting will add value for both of you.

People First Quarterlies

As we consider quarterlies, let’s first set some ground rules. Quarterlies are not check-ins on the status of your business. They are an opportunity for your staff to be heard and know the expectations. Leaders or managers should individually meet with everyone they directly support every three months to discuss successes, challenges, needs, and opportunities.

Does this sound like a lot to you? Even when I directly supported fifty-five team members, I made sure everyone had a quarterly without variation in their frequency.  I told you that they wanted the quarterlies and know that I wanted them too.  There are so many benefits but we can get hung up on the time they take.  If you have one good quarterly, it can save you hours of catch-up or clean-up down the road.  As the leader, you can gain as much valuable information as the team member.  

Quarterlies are an opportunity for your staff to be heard, to ensure alignment on expectations, confirm progress on goals and adjust activities to ensure success. In just one hour, you can achieve all of these things and continue to build your relationship with that team member.  Utilizing quarterlies means that annual reviews are a few minutes of looking back because there are no surprises.  Then the rest of the annual review is actually looking forward and setting goals for the new year.  

Steps for a Quarterly

If quarterlies are new for your team, you’ve got to start with intention.  The intention of the quarterly is to give and get feedback, offer support and simply to see how things are going.  

Start with these three questions:  

  1. What do you want to focus on today?
  2. What is going well?
  3. What is the biggest challenge you are having right now?

Next review the key accountabilities matrix (discussed in Chapter 8 of People First) to keep the person on the right track.  Make adjustments to goals and brainstorm action steps.  

End with this question:

4. What do you need from me?

If you’ve known me and my work for a while, you’ve been hearing about quarterlies for a long time.  They are always worth talking about.  As with any new or updated initiative, it may feel overwhelming at first. Stay the course and before you know it, these quarterlies will become a natural part of your leadership rhythm. The investment is worth it, I promise.

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About Amy Lafko

As a Physical Therapist, Amy spent years in school learning best practices for patient care and how to put the patient first. Like so many technically skilled clinicians, she advanced to a leadership role. Spending 20+ years in operational leadership, she had an epiphany: Putting the customer first isn’t the path to success or fulfillment. Rather, the most successful organizations and practices put their people first – and exceptional customer care, profitability, and effectiveness naturally followed.