Emerge from the Summer Haze and Finish the Year Strong


Staff outage calendars that look like Swiss cheese, relaxed schedules and sweltering heat (for most of us) combine to create a “summer haze” that is like workplace smog – productivity slumps and targets fade out of focus. The first cool and breezy days of fall snap us back to the reality that the fourth quarter is upon us, and we must gather a second wind in our sails to carry us to the far side of the Sea of 2018.

With three quarters of the year behind us, the time remaining to hit your targets is, like the daily sunlight, growing shorter. To reach those goals you so lovingly set many moons ago, we offer the following ideas to help your team re-engage with your plan and finish strong.

Regroup and Huddle Up

TV series have a new thing – the mid-season premiere. It follows a short break, which follows the mid-season finale, and it’s meant to re-energize the fan base and get them excited about the rest of the season. Employ this technique with a breakfast meeting or after-hours event to remind your team of what is left to do, and that meeting your targets depends on everyone for success.

Brand It

Giving the next few months a name like Home Stretch, Last Mile or another catchy time-related name will remind team members that time is of the essence regarding targets. Use this name repeatedly in communication to reinforce a sense of urgency.

Up the Updates

Over the summer, it’s common for communications to be missed, so team members may be a little outdated on your Plan’s progress. Increasing the frequency and intensity of updates for a few weeks will help get your crew back on track. You might introduce a large office visual, such as a mural-sized “dashboard” that provides up-to-the-minute progress on each of your targets, or an electronic version of this if your team is not all at one location. Use these tools to celebrate progress just as much as prompting a big push.

Competing and Treating

A little friendly competition among departments can serve as both a team-building exercise and a goal-reaching accelerant. Prizes such as free lunch, gift cards or happy hour can be awarded to the winning team or shared by the company when goals are reached, depending on your company culture.

Get started now, when you still have time for a methodical and effective year-end campaign. Don’t wait another couple of months, when the distractions of the holidays and the ticking clock will force your company to scramble to meet your goals.

Rebecca Nelson
Rebecca Nelson