Has your team bought into your scaleup priorities? (with free tool)

​Do you find it difficult to get your team to buy into your priorities? If that is the way you ask yourself that question, you may already have the wrong perspective. The way you get ​A-players to buy in to new priorities, is for them to ​have influence on setting those priorities. You set priorities in a planning session, with your whole team involved.


Set priorities as a team

​The Founder/CEO who decides on priorities before the team planning session will find little buy-in. What works is a leader coming into a planning session with an open mind. One allowing their team to collaborate and decide together on priorities for the next quarter.

Well-run quarterly planning sessions

To that end, quarterly planning sessions are a crucial tool for scaleup teams. They help teams align on a joint understanding of the outside world. Learn about new insights and new techniques that can help move the business forward. And whittle down long lists of pet projects to no more than five rocks for the business at large. 

Many executives have found quarterly planning sessions to be boring and ineffective. This is almost always due to the Founder/CEO having precooked all decisions. If you only want your team to nod yes, you do not need a planning session. Especially if you do not want much debate, nor fundamental new insights. 

Overcoming founder/CEO insecurity

​​Precooking priorities can betray some deep-rooted insecurities of the Founder/CEO. It is definitely a situation in which an external facilitator can make a big difference. They help keep the workshop on time, bring up for discussion what nobody dares to say. They also help the team take courageous and clear discussions over endless compromises.

Liberating the Leader

Some founders fear an external facilitator replacing the Founder/CEO's leadership role. But without an external facilitator, the Founder/CEO has an impossible job. To keep an agenda, to help open discussion as well as add your own preferences? Very quickly, the team waits and sees what the Founder/CEO says. And then nod yes while disagreeing in silence.

Founder/CEOs with external facilitators often feel liberated in a planning session.  Finally they can let other team members talk first while still making up their own mind.

Balancing the priorities

The trick to balancing priorities is to spend enough time on review and feedback. Let the team discuss in the open how the business has performed and what you could have done better. Also bring in feedback from employees and customers. Let them generate insights into ​where the scaleup could improve most. 

​We have found it useful to let every team member note down a candidates priority at the end ​of every exercise. When we start prioritizing, executives will already have a list of candidate priorities.

The candidate priorities tool we use is available for download ​by clicking on the image below.

Using the ​tracking candidates priorities tool

1. ​The first column contains the date and time of the exercise. 

2. The second let us mark what decision the exercise had as focus: people, strategy, execution or cash.

3. Then we have the title of the exercise and room for some key insights.

4. The key column is the top priority that the executive sees coming out of that discussion.

5. In the last column, the executive can estimate the timing

With this tool and an open leader, scaleups set the most balanced set of priorities. For abroad success of their business.

​Now that you have set the quarterly priorities, ​you might be interested in the Quarterly Rock Execution Plan (free download) which will guide​ you in setting and meeting your goals to drive your business forward.

Quarterly Rock Ready? Set and Go with This Execution Plan

Starting to Move a Quarterly Rock

Effective Ownership of Quarterly Rocks

In their quarterly offsites, the executive team determines up to five quarterly rocks that are key in driving the business forward.

It is a high visibility opportunity to own one of these rocks on behalf of the company. But how do you make sure you deliver on its promise?

Our Quarterly Rock Execution Plan (free download) is your guide to setting and meeting your goals. Determine your priorities, assign project owners, and make sure you finish on time.

Download Slide Template | Quarterly Rock Execution Plan

A Plan for Any Rock

We’ve designed this tool to help you cover any possible rock the executive team may have set. We have seen it work effectively for rocks as diverse as:

  • Launching a major sales initiative;
  • Reducing your error rate;
  • Creating transparent accountability practices;
  • Setting another step towards product-market-dominance
  • Enhancing your delivery speed;
  • Refining your planning process;
  • Lowering costs;
  • Developing a lean workflow.

This one-page tool is designed to help you ask the right questions of your sponsor, and then to have your team build the best answers. Just follow this simple step-by-step process.

Basic rock definition

  1. Give your rock a name, if the name you got from the executive team wasn’t clear enough yet. Issue a unique name that defines your project. It should be clear and speak directly to your goal. But that doesn’t mean you have to be boring – feel free to have fun and get creative!

  2. Appoint a sponsoring executive team member to the Rock. Who will lead the rock’s effort? Who’s in charge of making sure the assignment finishes successfully? You want to empower your team with project ownership. Write the name of your sponsoring executive in Box 2.

  3. Assign team members to the rock. Who will support the efforts of the project? What workforce will your project leader have at his/her disposal? This is the team that will make your goals into accomplishments. Recognize your labor. Appreciate the people that get it done.

  4. Define your overall deliverable. What is the goal of the rock? What are you producing? What product, service, benefit, and/or improvement will result from the project’s completion? To define your overall deliverable, try finishing this sentence: “Sponsor considers this rock done when _.” Delineate your overall deliverable into just a sentence or two. You can elaborate during the next step.

Go one level deeper

  1. Set requirements for the rock’s success. What’s needed to make sure your project is fulfilled? What tasks need to be complete? Here’s where you get into the specifics. Outline any and all requirements related to the rock’s success. Some things you might consider include project budget, resources needed, and the amount of time the rock will take to finish.

  2. Breakdown the overall deliverable into key milestones. How will you know if your rock is succeeding? How can you measure this success? Step 6 is where you breakdown your overall deliverable into specific phases and milestones. This isn’t exactly a schedule – but rather a map to your vision’s completion. Figure out what needs to happen and in what order. Decide who will be in charge of these phases. Set deadlines for the fulfillment of these milestones.

Risk assessments and delegation

  1. Identify risks to the rock’s success. What challenges must be surmounted? What might make your rock fail? Figure out potential hazards you may face in the future. Then, plan in the present. We suggest you ask your sponsor to help your identify potential problems and solutions.

  2. Delegate the next steps. Now that you have your personal, schedule and resources organized, it’s time to hit the ground running. Identify the immediate actions that kick off this momentum. Assign these tasks and decide when they are due. The planning is complete—now the real work starts!

Download the Quarterly Rock Execution Plan now.

Prepare for successful project execution with the Quarterly Rock Execution Plan. Download it here:

Download Slide Template | Quarterly Rock Execution Plan