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Analyzing Q4: Navigating the Ups and Downs

If someone asked you “How’s business right now?” what would you say?

Unfortunately I am hearing a lot of leaders voice concerns regarding revenue right now. Pipelines are slow, or at a full stop. Organizations are less busy than they want to be, or are hearing crickets. And the ever looming recession isn’t making anyone feel more optimistic.

Believe me I am having the weirdest dreams right now, and it is definitely the kind that only a leader or business owner would understand. In a recent one (all at the same time) I was back at my old job, I couldn’t get my sandwich order delivered correctly, and I was fighting forest fires…. Don’t ask – no idea…

It’s a tough situation right now. Let’s look at what might be happening in an organization whose leaders have these stress dreams too:

  • Because it is Q4 and you are trying to strum up some business, you are very focused on the “right now.”
  • Time is limited due to the holidays, which adds more pressure to achieving goals because there’s not another quarter after this one to bounce back.
  • Emotions are high and there is less patience for “how you say, what you say” which creates even more friction.
  • Team members feel the tension and they are worried about what is going unspoken. They don’t know what to expect – will they be losing their job right before the holiday? Will a colleague lose their job, which will make the remaining employees bombarded with work right at the new year?
  • Things are not going the way you planned and you are feeling some serious decision fatigue about what to do next.

Even if business is “good” for you (your pipeline is full, revenue is increasing, and you have a full deck of team members), things might look like this in Q4…

  • With an increase in revenue, leaders will need to make decisions around what to do with the money. That’s a good problem to have.
  • Because it is Q4, you are handling last minute projects and very focused on the “right now.” (“Right now” is important, and you also need to be long-term oriented… hang in with me and keep reading).
  • The team is working on more projects, and the organization is reaching a wider audience and helping more clients. Which is so great!
  • But if you are at capacity, people might start to take shortcuts so they can stay on track and get everything out the door before year end. Not to mention that time is further limited due to the holidays.
  • There’s a shift in communication because it feels like it takes extra time, and no one has any of that. As a result more errors occur, and work has to be redone (taking more time that no one has).
  • Leaders are needing to take back work onto their plate in order to meet deadlines, and they are less available to support others (aka. do their own job).
  • Emotions are high and there is less patience for “how you say what you say,” which only creates more friction.

(yes, you might see some repeated trends in both the “good” and “bad” scenarios)

But, Amanda – why are you so doom and gloom!!!!??? Buhhhh…

I don’t mean to be a ‘Negative Nancy’ here. I am not disregarding other things that might be happening that feel better than all of this… But I am emphasizing the stuff many people ignore while it’s happening (the Elephants in your Boardroom), and just cross their fingers that it will all be better when the calendar turns to 2023. The fingers-crossed method is not an effective plan.

Good or bad. Either way you need to know…

  1. How you will be deciding on what idea or goal to move forward with next year.
  2. How to get people on board with what is worth doing or aiming for next year.

My suggestion? Create a goal-based strategic plan for your organization for 2023. Take into account what is happening right now, and leverage those insights to determine how you will move forward in the right direction. Know that you are focusing on the right things at the right time so that you don’t carry over the same stuff into next year. And because you are letting the company be more prepared, you can make better “If… Then what…” plans (if abc happens, then we will do xyz).

And schedule in your milestones and related celebrations! When are you going to Yeehaw! and Boom-shaka-laka?!

Lastly, having a strategy allows you to let your people know what is happening right now, what that means in the near-term and future of the organization, and what that means for them as individuals.

Remember – it’s the people that drive the success toward your organization’s goals… or not…

QUESTION: Does any of this feel all too familiar right now? Take a look below at the special offer, maybe I can help.


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