Run Quarterly Business Reviews
Until 2015, LinkedIn used to run weekly and annual meetings, which assembled executives and leaders from each part of the business. The weekly meetings offered the opportunity for each team to spend a handful of minutes giving a short update on their main accomplishments/objectives. Their annual strategy reviews served as a deep analysis of each business line. However, the executive team didn't have any sort of review process in between their weekly and annual meetings.
LinkedIn introduced quarterly business reviews (QBR) in 2015 as a way to run a deep analysis every quarter in which the broader executive team and the company's seven business lines come together to ensure they are aligned on performance, strategies, priorities and issues.
Holding QBRs has proven to be very beneficial to LinkedIn:
- They help understand performance and key success factors.
- They allow you to make on-the-go corrections: executives give feedback/recommendations to teams on a more regular basis, so corrections can be made when there's still time. Problems can be solved on the spot.
- They serve as a way to align priorities across the company.
- They allow executives to evaluate the team's leaders and help them improve.
Every quarter, the leaders of each part of the business have 1-3 hours in total, distributed over two days, to present to the executive team.
Make sure all members of the executive team are on the same page
Before the process starts, you have to ensure that the executive team is aligned on the objectives and goals of QBRs. There must be a consensus regarding the importance of QBRs and how the process is going to be carried out, and they must communicate this to all business lines.
Provide a schedule to teams two months before their presentations
By informing teams of their schedule two months in advance, there is no place for confusion and they have plenty of time to prepare their documents.
Inform teams of what they have to include in their documents
During the QBR, each team has to present to the executives a narrative document and a financial appendix.
At LinkedIn, the narrative documents must include the following sections (important to note: the maximum extension allowed for this document is 6 pages):
- A summary of each team's vision, mission, strategy, objectives, priorities, culture, and values.
- Executive summary.
- Changes made to each team's strategy.
- Main priorities for the year, ranked in order of importance. Revisited every quarter.
- Results and predictions of key performance indicators.
- Areas that the team needs help with.
The financial appendix is the second document teams must present, in which they have to offer a more detailed analysis of their gross sales and net income results and predictions, for each product line and geographical area.
Make the teams send their documents 24-48 hours in advance
By receiving the documents a day or two before the presentations, executives can read through all of the papers individually before the meeting takes place and prepare accordingly.
Before each presentation, hold executive team pre-meetings to align on priorities
Before each team enters the room to deliver their presentation, executives should quickly talk about the key topics they want to cover with that particular team. This way, they can later guide the conversation towards these key points.
After each round of QBRs, ask for feedback in order to improve the process
Always ask for team leaders' and observers' feedback and take it into account so that you can make the process more efficient.
Make a list of the key takeaways and action items
This list will help executives manage the business, keeping in mind the top priorities for the following quarter.