“Only 15% of respondents reported QBRs (Quarterly Business Reviews) as ‘very effective’ yet 66% reported they perform QBRs on a regular basis (every quarter, month, or week).”
INT. ROLLERPLEX, 2002 - DUSK
You think about her every day. It’s a compulsory task, assigned by some unseen overseer.
“It’s 9:15, did you think about Sarah Daniels yet today?”
“It’s 10:30, have you figured out your outreach strategy?”
“It’s 11:45, did you talk to Aaron about how to ask her out?”
“It’s 2:15, and you haven’t talked to her yet?! Algebra 2 is your last class of the day!”
She takes up whole rooms—an entire wing!—of your mental space. She is your biggest account. The consequences for anything less than absolute perfection tonight are… well, you don’t know exactly what will happen, but you’ve imagined some pretty apocalyptic scenarios.
Tonight you’re going roller skating with Sarah Daniels, and it’s 100% make-or-break for the relationship.
Your older brother Aaron’s dated like three different girls at this point. And he has a driver’s license.
AARON: "Just relax. Don’t make too big a deal out of it. She’ll know if you’re freaking out."
You both work part-time at the RollerPlex, and he thinks it’s best if you do this on your own territory. He calls it a “home field advantage.” You know it like the back of your hand, you can get discounts on all the snacks, and most importantly, you won’t be surprised. Roller skating is a good date option for 15-year-olds.
AARON: "She’s probably not that good at skating. And you can skate really good. That means you’ll almost definitely hold her hand and it won’t be weird."
You and Aaron roll up on-site in front of Sarah’s house at 5:50 p.m. You’re early, so you spend 10 minutes going over strategy. Stay cool. Have a structure, but be open to letting her take the lead. Set expectations early. Start by going over the schedule, and stick to it! Ask for her input early, but continue to get feedback along the way. Her time is valuable.
Establish your ROI and benchmark it against the competition. Hard metrics are critical! Be honest about any shortcomings, but whenever possible, focus on the positives. Try not to get too tactical, this is about the big picture. Never go on the defensive. Suggest solutions, don’t deflect blame.
Most importantly, set your goals for the upcoming quarter, and don’t leave without the next date on the calendar. This isn’t about putting pen to paper or anything like that! It’s about moving the relationship forward. It’s about proving you’re serious about long-term success.
You ring the doorbell and Sarah’s mom opens the door. The handoff is a critical moment. Winning the trust of senior leadership will be crucial to this relationship. Having a champion at the top of the org structure means you’ll always be in contention.
SARAH’S MOM: "Sarah’s not quite ready yet, she’ll be down in a few!"
It’s typical. If she was on time you’d know there was a problem! You shoot the breeze with her mom for a couple minutes. Sarah’s mom knows your mom from church, so you’ve got that going for you.
You assure her you’re going to In-N-Out, then public skate, then home by 9:00 sharp. She goes upstairs to check on Sarah.
SARAH’S MOM: "Just a few more minutes!"
It’s 6:16 when Sarah comes down the stairs. This is a red flag. From the moment you make eye contact, the date’s a blur. An awkward blur.
First of all, she barely seems to recognize you. It’s clear she only remembered you were going out tonight when she got the text on her Sidekick that you were on your way. It’s intensely weird that your older brother is driving. He’s mostly just hanging out “on mute” in the front seat, but every once in awhile he chimes in with an undermining comment or joke.
Sarah doesn’t eat meat, so In-N-Out is a fail. Aaron says you can get a grilled cheese there, but it’s just a hamburger bun with American cheese melted in it. You can tell Sarah doesn’t like the fries.
Also, she unequivocally can skate. In fact, she’s used to going to Great Skate, which she 100% prefers to RollerPlex. They play better music there, and she’s just more “used to it.” You feel your emotional health score correspondingly dip from Lime to Red. Your mental CRM has a manual input for “at-risk,” but not one for “doomed.”
You’re home by 8:11. Sharp. You do not have a next date on the calendar.
You think about her every day. But she only thinks about you once a quarter.
Written by Matthew Klassen
Originally Published: 18 May 2021