What you probably didn’t do on July 1 and why you need to do it NOW

 The most important day of the year for business leaders has come and gone. The calendar turned over to July, and that means more than half of 2024 is already behind us.

Where do you stand against your annual goals? Are you winning or losing? Do you even know?

Let me illustrate why this is your moment. Like a coach in the locker room during halftime of the big football game, you need to reinspire your team to put more points on the board. And you need to do it now. Here’s why.

Think Quarterly

I am obsessed with quarters. In fact, I believe a CEO should run a business quarter to quarter, not month to month.

Why? A 30-day cadence is too fast. A few short weeks don’t allow time for the changes we implement to drive measurable outcomes. You risk overcorrecting if you monitor progress month by month.

Quarters are better. There are only four of them each year, and the 90-day window is sufficient for new strategies to bear fruit. A quarterly debrief enables us to check in on our performance and revise our plans. The intervening months become mere guideposts on the way to stellar quarterly results.

The Mid-Year Slump

This brings me to July 1. The midpoint of the year could not come at a worse time for most of us. We’ve braved the winter cooped up with heads down. Finally, school’s out, vacations are planned, and golf trips are in full swing.

Notice that I didn’t mention work. Because that’s usually the last thing on our minds as we make the most of these fleeting summer afternoons.

Then Labor Day passes, we regroup on the job, and before we know it, we’re staring down one final quarter. The October-to-December period becomes a mad dash to achieve all the great things we put in the strategic plan.

Rallying the Team for Victory

If this scenario feels familiar, it’s time to revisit the month of July. Make the most of halftime.

Think about it. How often would Vince Lombardi retire to the locker room and stand there in silence? NEVER! A man who said, “There is no room for second place” always delivered a stirring halftime speech.

Another coach’s personal style might be more subdued or even further over the top, but regardless of the score, they all communicate a clear and inspiring message.

If the team is ahead, the halftime address might start like this: “Amazing job!  Now here’s how we hold this lead. It’s time to press forward, not relax!”

If the scoreboard tips the other way, the message will be different. The coach will still congratulate outstanding effort but also highlight the changes that must be made to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. They will convince players that the team’s not out of it yet and will motivate them to give it all they’ve got.

Crafting Your Halftime Message

The same model holds in business. The message you deliver to your team in July will vary based on the results you’ve achieved and the distance you have left to go this year. A solid debrief might look something like this:

  1. Review
    Compare the goals for the first two quarters with real-world results. What did we plan to accomplish? How close did we come?
  2. Evaluate
    Analyze the situation. What worked? Which efforts contributed most to our progress? What strengths can we build on?
  3. Reassess
    Identify necessary changes. What didn’t work? How can we avoid these missteps in the second half of the year? How can we overcome the challenges we failed to anticipate?
  4. Celebrate
    Say thanks. Who contributed above and beyond? How can we ensure they feel appreciated?
  5. Plan
    Collaborate on next steps. What did we learn so far? How can we use these insights to improve?

While it may be tempting to skip step 4, expressing appreciation is critical. People often perform better for recognition than for money (although both are nice). So whether your team is way ahead of targets or behind by a wide margin, spotlight those who have given time, effort, and energy to the cause. They deserve your praise.

It’s Not Too Late!

Maybe you didn’t deliver your halftime speech on July 1. It’s okay. Make it a priority to rally and redirect the team as soon as you can.

Revisit your results. Identify what’s working. Change what’s not working. And express appreciation for those who are working so hard for the organization.

That way, you’ll maximize your chances of a winning 2024.


Jim Canfield  |  VP Strategic Alliances |  Class VI Pathfinder, LLC

Jim Canfield serves as Class VI Pathfinder’s VP of Strategic Alliances. He is an award-winning speaker and bestselling author of CEO Tools 2.0: How to Think, Lead, and Manage Like a CEO. A former chief executive officer and president of several enterprises, Jim shares his insights on leadership, company value creation, and other topics with audiences nationwide.

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