Party Professor – August 2017

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90 Days at a Time

Quarterly Meeting Sets the Stage for Successful Long-Term Strategies

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Beth Standlee

By Beth Standlee, CEO, TrainerTainment

Once a quarter, the TrainerTainment leadership team gets together to dream and scheme of all the things we can accomplish during the next 90 days. We start this process at the beginning of each year with a two-day, annual planning session where we dream of our 10-year target, get more focused on the three-year picture, and then set it all in motion as we plan the one-year strategy…90 days at a time!

We do this for ourselves and for other companies who participate in our Business Coaching Program. It’s a fun process and makes the hard work we do pay off! The real exciting thing is that after 15 quarters (3.5 years for those of you who aren’t good at math), the traction we’ve worked hard to gain on a day-to-day basis creates a business that is able to celebrate in a way that feels like a party! It’s great fun most of the time.

We had the good fortune to hold our most recent quarterly meeting at a spectacular location: the headquarters of Southwest Airlines. My daughter Leslie works for the company and while she’s relatively new to their team, the South­west culture experience is something you CAN’T miss. Everywhere you look, there is a sign, symbol, picture, person or some type of message that says people “LUV” to work at Southwest Airlines. Leslie concurs!

They have everything set up for collaboration and hard work, as well as lots of fun. One of the conference rooms that was just down the hall from the one we met in, had a message on the door that said, “hugs, not handshakes.” I’m super excited for Leslie to work with this organization. If you’ve ever flown South­west Airlines, you’ve probably experienced their wacky kind of fun with a flight attendant.

At lunch, our team took a quick tour Leslie arranged for us. The young man who so willingly gave us his time was outstanding. He has worked for Southwest for eight years, and his enthusiasm about his job, the opportunities he’s been afforded, the leadership, the fun, the work, and the play is so genuine. There’s no business owner I know who wouldn’t want this young man to work for them. I think we all desire team members who would love work with us as much as he loves his life at Southwest!

Each floor had its own theme or “culture center.” There were quotes and servant leadership commitments that lined the walls. One of my favorites was:

“Being a leader is about character…being straightforward and honest, having integrity, and treating People right.” Gary Kelly

The beauty of getting your team together each quarter is that science actually indicates people can only focus on about 90 days at a time. Work can be difficult no matter how great the company is. You need to take time to hit the reset button. And that’s what we did this July immersed in the amazing culture of Southwest Airlines.

Some people might not call that a company “party,” but for my team, that quarterly planning day every 90 days gets turned into big things for the future. It’s actually how we fund the team cruise, which is a REAL company party for sure!

There are lots of additional resources that can help you learn about the 90 day cycle for success. Here’s one of my favorite sites: www.sparring mind.com/productivity-science.

I hope I’ll see you at a tradeshow or industry event in the coming weeks and that you’ll take the time to talk with me about how you handle quarterly planning with your team. Until then, may all your company meetings feel like a party!


Beth is the CEO of TrainerTainment LLC, a training company devoted to the family entertainment and  hospitality industries. Beth and her team are focused on helping the companies they serve make more money through sales, guest service, leadership and social media marketing training. Training products and services are delivered in person, through books and DVDs, and virtually with e-learning courses, webinar development and 24/7 online access. Visit her company’s website at www.trainertainment.com.

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