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Raising the Stakes at EMG’s Quarterly Planning Day

Written by Kirstie Turner  | Content and Editorial Assistant, European Medical Group

On Friday 20th September, the elegant and exclusive Eight Club played host to EMG’s 3rd planning day of the year. The quarterly planning session, a staple in the EMG calendar, is a chance for the company to come together, review the last 3 months, and plan out our next 90 days. Continuing on from our casino themed spring ball earlier in the year, 21 is a big theme in our future planning and company goals leading up to 2021. To win big, you have to play big, and everyone at EMG is going all in to make this year our best yet.

Our CEO Spencer Gore kicked off the day by asking everyone to think about the biggest challenges for their department from the last quarter and to share these with their table, made up of members from different teams. While every department’s answers were different, a few key threads were woven through many, specifically prioritisation of time.

Spencer took us through a time prioritisation model to help us overcome this challenge as a company. The model uses an analogy, where tasks fit into four categories: water (non-important, non-urgent), sand (non-important, urgent), pebbles (important, urgent), and rocks (important, non-urgent). If you put the rocks in a glass first, you can slot pebbles, sand, and water around this. But, if you fill the glass up with water first, you haven’t got any room left for the remaining tasks. He stressed the importance of placing the rocks, or the proactive tasks, in your default diary to ensure these don’t get pushed for seemingly more urgent pebbles (reactive tasks), sand, or water.

But what’s wrong with working on the important, urgent tasks? If you discover a forest fire, you can start fighting the fire yourself, or you can walk away from the fire to go and find more people to help. By gaining more hands-on deck, you are growing your chance of putting out the fire exponentially. While it can feel wrong to leave the more urgent problems, to put a longer-term plan in place, you will save more of the forest in the long run!

Next in the planning came the chance to review our successes from Quarter 3: an eventful period in the EMG offices, which recently doubled in size. From the 15 gold medal winners who joined the company, to the launch of continuous publishing across our therapeutic area journals, there were huge successes in all the departments and it was really inspiring for everyone to take a step back and recognise how much we achieved in a short period of time.

With our ‘21’ theme prominent in everyone’s minds, Dan Healy, Senior Project Director, took us through the company’s 2021 goals. Everyone at the company was then challenged to help decide what the EMG goals would be for 2020. This was a brilliant exercise to start everyone thinking about target setting. A key takeaway from this portion was to work out goals based on where we want to get to, rather than where we have been before. Essentially, to ask ourselves ‘what does the bigger vision look like?’ and set intermittent, smaller goals that will set us on that path. Look at the potential of what we could be doing and ask ourselves why we aren’t reaching that potential.

After we had all proposed our goals for our EMG 2020 KPIs, Spencer changed the mindset. ‘What about if your life depended on it? Could we reach something higher if the stakes were raised?’ That got everyone thinking completely differently about ways of approaching and setting targets. Suddenly, we had a little more faith in ourselves and in what the company could achieve: we were ready to go all in. We started thinking about simple, quick wins to be more efficient and more attractive to our audience. One of our core values is hardworking, and everyone here recognises the importance of that. This is about taking that hard work and making it smarter.

A final takeaway from the day was the importance of managing energy. Most people are at their most creative in the mornings, so why do we waste the first hour of creative energy answering emails? Save them for later in the day when you may start to lose energy. As Spencer reminded us ‘the world isn’t going to end because you didn’t check your emails before 10am.’ Use that burst of morning energy to work on creative solutions to challenges or on implementing some of those rocks.

One thing is for certain: everyone here is betting big on EMG doing great things over the next few years. As the company raises the stakes, embarking on new ventures and continuing to grow, it is critical that we continue to come together as a company to plan our future and ensure everyone is sharing in the vision that will take us to our 2025 mission to be the go-to place for healthcare professionals.