How to LEAD in the Final and First Quarter

October 30, 2019

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How to LEAD in the Final and First Quarter

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October. This is the ideal time for business leaders to review the current year and prepare for the new year.

December. This is when many leaders actually do it.

This type of “planning” produces lackluster results, missed opportunities, and unnecessary team stress.

As a leader, you still have time to end the year well and get a good start on the new year.

How does a leader end the year well?

Let go.

Apply the rule of three. What are the three main initiatives you must accomplish before year end?

Get laser-focused on what really must happen before year end. For results-driven, idea-generating leaders, this will be a challenge. This is where many decide to push on all fronts in an attempt to make up for lost time, and where idea-prone leaders can go into overdrive. This approach creates high stress and many unfinished projects at year end. It also launches the business into a new year in an unprepared fashion. If you have ever started a new year with too many “leftovers” from the previous year, applying the rule of three will help you.

Establish Quarter 1 Goals Now

Apply the rule of three…again. What are the three main initiatives you must accomplish in the first quarter of next year?

December 10. On that date one year, a business owner who serves many businesses was deluged with emails from clients who, that day, decided to download all their new year plans and initiatives on the implementation team. These represented hundreds of projects, most of which were expected to be completed by January 1. With their plans crafted and cleared from their to do list, the clients began to check out for the holidays one by one.

“Merry Christmas!”

“Enjoy the holidays with your family!”

“Looking forward to the new year!”

They had unwittingly given their team a burdensome gift for the holidays.

A good leader will not do this to their team, nor short-circuit their own new year initiatives by not allowing ample time for building and testing.

Do your team and yourself a favor, and plan your first quarter now.

Apply the rule of three. This practice, habitually applied, means you will complete twelve major initiatives per year – and complete them at a pace that allows for less team stress, higher quality, and better customer service.

If twelve major initiatives seems like a small amount, consider your accomplishments for this year. Did you complete that many initiatives on good pace, with high quality, and with great customer service training in place to support each one?

Assess Needs

Plan first. What are the needs, and how will you address them?

Just as you must be realistic in setting the three major goals, you must also be realistic in assessing what will be needed to reach those goals. This is where the planners and detailers on your team (the S- and C-wired individuals) can help you lay out an efficient plan that addresses the important details.

While planning will take a bit of time, it can save even more. When a D-wired leader initiates a goal or an I-wired leader shares an idea and then allows the S- and C-wired individuals to plan, it creates a powerful productivity machine that produces new products or services, with good results and high quality – all in a cost- and time-effective manner.

This is the power of a team. Enlist your team to help you assess needs and create a plan of action. Just as steam can power a locomotive to carry it to its destination; the power of a team can carry an organization to success.

Delegate Responsibly

Set your team up for success. What fits best for each individual?

One leader referred to his team as “chairs on a deck,” the idea being that they were interchangeable and easily replaced. With such thinking, he inadvertently set each person up for failure and created a turnover problem. He was having to replace employee after employee because they would feel devalued and leave for better opportunities.

The fact is, each individual on your team brings unique strengths, skills, experience, and connections. A great leader will value each person for who they are and will delegate responsibly, essentially setting each person up for success.

One of your initial goals for next year could be to learn the strengths of each individual on your team and to find a way to set them up for success. When each person succeeds, it creates compounded success across the team.

Take some time to reflect on your team and on ways you can delegate responsibly so you are not only completing initiatives; you are also conscientiously building leaders.

The challenge is this.


  1. Write down your three initiatives for this quarter.
  2. Write down your three initiatives for the first quarter of the new year.

And then meet with your team (NOT on December 10!), lay out a plan, delegate responsibly, and make those initiatives happen!

For more resources on how you can you can learn the strengths of your team and get amazing results, click here to learn about the Maxwell Method of Communication Impact Report.

As the CEO of Strength Leader Development, Deb Ingino is a highly sought-after international executive mentor, coach, trainer and speaker. Deb is well versed in global business operations and helps business leaders and their teams to discover and leverage their strengths, so they can create highly collaborative teams that deliver great results. With a refreshingly direct style, Deb helps leaders and their teams to deliver profitable results. Connect with Deb to learn more about her mentorship and coaching programs to equip you with advanced strategies to elevate your results.