Are You Positioned for a Strong Second Half?

Posted by Chuck Kocher
On July 14, 2014

How-to-finish-2014-strongThere’s an old saying that states: “Well begun is half done.” Of course the idea is that if you do a good job preparing and planning and starting something, that you’re halfway to your goal.

There’s a big difference, however, between being halfway to your business goals and actually achieving them. A half-finished bridge doesn’t do anybody much good. All the work and resources that went into it don’t mean much if the bridge never gets finished.

We’re a little more than halfway through the year right now. Maybe you started well, but how are you doing now? Do you know how you’re doing? Are you positioned for a strong second half of your year?

There are two key elements involved in ensuring that you finish well. One involves taking a look back to see how you’ve done in light of your goals. And once you’ve done that, you’ll want to do some second-half planning that allows you to adjust your goals and activities (based on where you currently stand) to make sure you finish strong. Here are a few steps you can take to get the most out of both of those exercises.

First Half Review:

  • Take a look at your first half financial goal performance wins and misses: Be brutally honest and objective here. Misses and mistakes are OK if you learn from them. It’s OK to acknowledge failures, but try to understand why (without making excuses). What goals did you hit and what goals did you miss?
  • Review your first half KPIs and Metrics. Look at both your leading and lagging goals. Again, be honest about which goals you hit and which ones you missed—and try to identify why you hit or missed them.
  • Highlight significant first half Company/Team/Department/Individual Successes. Are there successes you can replicate in the 2nd half? Can the successes in one department be reproduced in another? Make it a team effort.
  • Review first half learning: What were the biggest things you learned—and what were the tangible applications of what you learned? (What did you change?)

Second Half Planning 

  • Do a modified second half SWOT: Emphasize the external trends/shifts/changes/patterns you’re observing in the market. Do they represent opportunities or threats or both? Which ones will you focus on for the second half of the year?
  • Review what you did well in the first half: Then make specific plans for what you need to continue to do in the second half? Make not of specific changes you need to make in the second half to ensure continued success.
  • Adjust your second half financial goals: Are you ahead of pace or behind? Do you need to adjust your yearly goals? If you’re behind, what specific steps do you need to take to achieve your goals? It’s not enough to say you want to generate 10% more revenue—how are you going to do it? What are the leading/driving indicators that will allow you to meet your targets? What concrete steps will you need to take to hit them?
  • Prioritize: What are your TOP 5 Priorities for the second half of the year? Have they changed? What is your #1 priority? What’s the one thing you have to make happen?
  • Read: What book could your leadership team read and discuss together that would help them grow as leaders and experts?
  • Cultivate culture: What can you do as a leader that will create the kind of culture in your company that causes employees to focus—and will add some elements of fun and celebration to the process?

If you had a good first half, that’s great! But you’re only halfway there. What can you do to finish the year strong? You can’t just coast to the finish line if you want to have a great company. You’ve got to be purposeful and deliberate. If your first half was lackluster, don’t despair. You still have the second half to make a strong showing—but you’re going to have to take specific steps to “right your ship” and get back on course. Reviewing where you’ve been and making new plans is a great way to start!