Every time I talk to customers and wish them a happy new year in September, I laugh and tell them that we Jewish people are lucky to have a new year at the end of the third quarter of the calendar year.
Some of them laugh because they already know my opinion on the subject… To my new clients I explain:
We, in Israel, have a unique advantage in that we summarize a year twice: once at the end of the third calendar quarter and once at the end of the last quarter.
As we know, when we look at our business practices, we relate differently to the four quarters:
At the end of the first quarter, we usually summarize the previous business year. At the end of the second quarter, we summarize six months of the current business year – this is the time when we address what is happening in operations, check where we are with regard to our targets and create a repair plan. The end of the third quarter is where our advantage comes: the end of the Hebrew year and the holidays of Tishrei.
On the one hand, a year ends for us, so that consciously or unconsciously, we look back at the end of the third quarter and examine our situation with a sense of summary. But in fact we know that we have a final quarter to “give a push” and reach the business results that we have designated for ourselves.
On the other hand, since a new year is beginning, we start to look to the future before the rest of the world. We are starting to look forward to the next goals, to more distant purposes, and creating “lists” and “resolutions to change for the better in the next year.”
If that’s the case, then why doesn’t everyone start planning the end-of-year meeting as soon as the Tishrei holidays are over?
Why don’t they implement the lists and the resolutions, as small and large as they may be, in the company?
Some, in general, hold the meeting only as part of ISO requirements or other internal or external procedures.
Of course, many companies have long understood that an end-of-year meeting is the end of a process, and not a goal in itself.
But, let’s face it – there is not one of us here who has not participated in a dreary meeting in which each manager in turn brings data, heavy spreadsheets – they show data that summarizes the past year and sometimes suggest goals for next year.
There’s a long discussion and wranging between the marketing manager, who explains that he didn’t meet the targets because the sales department… Because the Finance Department… Because the operating system, and so on and so on.
Of course, on the other side of the fence, the CFO explains that the sales targets were not met because the marketing manager promised… And the sales department said that… Because the logistics failed, etc.
At the end there is some time left to talk (perhaps) about next year’s destinations and everyone disperses for a nice lunch (or not).
Because I’m often approached to give a workshop on preparing a presentation for an end-of-year meeting.
Usually, after my first conversation with the CEO, when I ask the following questions, I am recruited (thankfully, of course) to take part in organizing the meeting in general.
Just like the questions I ask in every presentation, only with slight twists that fit the end-of-year-meeting presentation:
Now we are ready to go and prepare the presentation…
Here each department will prepare its part:
When planning the meeting in advance, the CEO sets the goals and objectives for the meeting far enough in advance, divides the topics that he would like to discuss between the various departments, and allows the department managers to hold intra-department meetings in order to build the insights and put some of them in the presentation.
When such a meeting is planned in advance, it becomes a brainstorming session, a joint effort to find solutions and to build both short-term and long-term goals.
At the end of a meeting like this, you come out with a smile and an appetite for the joint lunch…
There are even dedicated programs for managing meetings. Here is an example of such software – it is not that I am personally familiar with this software, but rather it is possible to understand from the site the importance of both planning such meetings and tracking them afterwards.