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Only about half of organizations have a formal strategic execution process. But of those that do have a formal strategic execution process, 70% report outperforming their peers.

To put your organization in that outperforming category, we recommend weekly, quarterly, and annual goal setting at a minimum.

  1. Annually:  to explore initiatives
  2. Quarterly:  to understand progress and plan for the next
  3. Weekly:  to foster accountability, information sharing, and problem-solving

Annual Planning

At the top, annual planning links to your vision statement. It is your three-to-five-year horizon that keeps your employees and stakeholders moving toward long-term goals.

When you set an audacious goal, work backwards to establish smaller scale goals that serves as quarterly and weekly checkpoints for your employees.

If you are setting ambitious goals, the team should complete about 75% of them. Completing 100% routinely is usually a sign of low goal setting.

Quarterly Goals

Quarterly goals are a sweet spot for your organization.

Research shows about 90 days is an optimal amount of time to assure consistent productivity throughout the year.

These goals should be a stretch for your teams to accomplish. A rule of thumb is roughly 70% of initiatives should be achieved timely.

Your teams should feel slightly uncomfortable with the stretch goals, but excited to pursue them since everyone involved embraces the vision and purpose.

Weekly Meetings

Weekly meetings serve to resolve and remind.

As employees, management, and leadership meet on a weekly basis, issues that plague strategic projects should be identified and addressed so that the work stays on track.

Weekly reminders keep long-term goals visible. Evidence shows that most strategic project work happens in the days leading up to a strategy review meeting. Therefore, weekly progress reports and issue resolution elevate productivity and maintain consistent momentum.

Ask Yourself

Knowing the cadence is one thing, but what goals to plug in is another. This step of developing goals is the most often undertaken and most often misunderstood by leaders. We aren’t ones to overcomplicate things. Be confident the information you need to set actionable, trackable goals already lies within your organization. Approach it like you’re a Jeopardy champion. Below are your answers in the form of questions. You need these prompts to draw out and customize your goals.

  •         What is our long-term plan (3-5 years)? 
  •         What is our short-term plan (1 year)? 
  •         What are next quarter’s objectives will help us reach the short-term plan?
  •         What industry standard goals should we be tracking per department? 
  •         How will these goals be measured? 

Communicate the goals you develop within your organization. The simple action of writing them down to share increases your likelihood of achieving them by 42%, according to a Dominican University of California study. Dr. Gail Matthews who conducted the study found that “writing the goals brings clarity, keeping an individual focused.”