Making the Mid-Year Review More Reward than Work

June 13, 2019 | Mark K. Phillips

Mark K. Phillips, Vice President of Treasury Management Services, Bank Iowa

Because our best-laid plans often go awry, the mid-year business review is not only a good idea, it’s an essential best practice. When we consider the pace of change confronting nearly every sector, keeping a finger on the pulse of your strategy has arguably never been more important.

While there are many ways to approach a strategic review at the year’s mid-point, five components in particular can deliver especially meaningful insight.

The first is budget real-talk. In addition to transparently confronting the unexpected expenses you’ve faced so far in 2019, it’s never too late to begin planning for funds allocation in 2020. Are you spending money you don’t have? Maybe you’ve had a boon year and need to adjust your investment strategy. Assign a committee to dig deep into the budget and get real with the figures. Talk with your banker about fresh ideas for earning more interest and growing your financial assets. With the markets as volatile as they’ve been in recent weeks, it can’t hurt to have a second (third or fourth) set of eyes on your investment portfolio.

The second critical component for the mid-year review is a mission check. Does your plan still align with the organization’s overall mission, vision and values? Because today’s consumers (and clients) are highly attracted to purpose-driven organizations, more leaders are taking a closer look at evolving their cultures. As a part of that commitment, mission, vision and value statements are getting a refresh. The mid-year review is an ideal time to get in there and see if the strategy makes sense for the company’s overarching promise to its customers.

Third is resource allocation. As more businesses abandon traditional waterfall processes for agile ones, it’s becoming especially important to check in on employee roles and responsibilities at increased intervals. It’s not unusual for transforming businesses to find “hangers on” in the operations of the company. Leaders must continually scan the enterprise for that’s-the-way-we’ve-always-done-things reasoning.

Fourth, you’ll want to have a strong look at your new business pipeline. How many leads have been identified, qualified and moved closer to conversion? Does that number line up with goals established at the year’s outset or does the business development team need additional support to get closer to the ideal figure? This is also a good time to plan for any marketing, technology or process improvements that will help the sales team better respond to market changes anticipated in 2020.

The fifth critical component is one too often overlooked, and that’s to celebrate your wins. No matter how small, successes have to be acknowledged and rewarded. It keeps your team inspired, energized, and importantly, confident. Don’t feel pressured to throw a big corporate rager; sometimes a public thank you can be just as gratifying to employees working hard to keep the business growing.

The greatest aspect of the mid-year review is it can be configured to fit any business. And, practice makes perfect. Consider moving to quarterly reviews if the mid-year is working well, or conversely, if it’s too overwhelming to do only once a year. By building a process that’s truly unique to your company, you may find the mid-year review to be more reward than work.

Mark K. Phillips is vice president of treasury management services for Bank Iowa, Iowa’s second largest family-owned financial institution. He can be reached at To learn more, visit Member FDIC.