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The One Thing Your Teams Should Do In Q1

Updated: Jan 8


As we begin a new year, there’s renewed anticipation and optimism for our team and company goals. Hopefully, by now you’ve spent some time analyzing past results, making adjustments, and putting together a thoughtful strategic plan for the year to come. 

With that plan will no doubt be a lot of key initiatives, goals, and strategies. While this is good, it can also create an unintended distraction that actually slows you down out of the gate toward your goals. So, how do you avoid that? Focus on one thing. 

Focus on one thing.

Yep, the good ole “f-word”, focus. Specifically, focus on one thing. Whether you set goals, track OKRs (objectives and key results), rocks or any other strategic tracking methodology, the key is to get you and your teams fanatically focused around one thing.

Sound crazy? Let me explain.

First, this doesn’t mean you just do one thing, it means that there is 100% clarity on what the #1 most important thing that needs to be accomplished in the quarter. This could be:

  • Hitting a key goal/target

  • A deliverable for a customer

  • A strategic internal project

  • A key hire or investment

It doesn’t matter what it is as much as that it’s fully aligned with your strategy and is the biggest, most important lever to achieving your Q1 targets. 

Here are a few guidelines I give my teams to help figure out what their “1 thing” could be:

  • It should be part of your core responsibilities (ie., not a new “shiny object ” thing)

  • It should still execute your strategic plan (just focusing on what matters most)

  • Something that you can execute on, ideally without any existing blockers

  • Directly impacts and/or contributes to the company targets

  • It should be clearly actionable (what you do) and measurable (how well you do it)

  • It can (and often should) be something cross-functional teams can all work on

  • Make it uncomfortably simple, and clear. Resist the urge to add try and do it all at once!

The benefit of this early focus is that you will see early traction. You’ll get faster insight into some of the key adjustments you’ve made, bets you’ve placed, and strategies you’ve set. You will see if they are working, or need some tweaks - but you’ll get to the answer faster either way. This prevents you from listing a month or even a quarter going in the wrong direction. 

The other benefit is momentum. A new year with new goals, whether you are coming off a record year or a tough finish, has the teams all watching to see what happens. Getting off to a fast, effective start gets people “bought in” which helps build fast momentum. In a way, it can become a self-fulfilling prophecy as your team sees it starting to work and does the things needed to make sure it actually works.

Simply put, it’s not just about getting to your targets - although that's always a good thing. It’s about starting the year with clarity, commitment, insights, and teamwork. Your team will appreciate it, and your targets will be that much easier to hit.

Simply put, it’s not just about getting to your targets - although that's always a good thing. It’s about starting the year with clarity, commitment, insights and teamwork. 

So, if you find yourself excited about all the potential of the year and trying to do it all or not sure where to start, try starting with just one thing. 


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