Writing template – Quarterly goals for execution of strategic priorities

SMART Objective or Goals Concept

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Businesses today face a market reality where we need to execute at higher and higher speeds. At the same times as we introduce larger and larger changes as part of a digital transformation agenda. If you feel that your organization operate with yearly goals and daily actions this is for you. Yearly goals in fast moving markets are hard to set and tend to be too fuzzy to guide execution. And open up for urgent daily tasks to consume a too large share of resources time. A dilemma we can call an “Octopussy on rollerblades”, a lot of action but little forward movement.

Scope and purpose of this template

This template for articulating goals for strategic priorities for quarterly execution. With one quarterly goal articulated one page. Serving the purpose of making each goal clear. And being a key part of activating goals at individual level. Once your team is up and running with this model you can execute in 90-day sprints. Where you set and articulate the priorities the first day of the quarter. and close it out the last day. With high flexibility to change priorities between quarters. And when needed you can extend bigger initiatives over more than 1 quarter.

This template is suitable for implementation at all levels in an organization. Where 3-5 goals can ripple through the whole organization. And at the lowest team articulating their contribution to goals from above. As well as goals articulated by the team. Out of the 3-5 goals for the team you can expect each team member support 1-2 goals per quarter.

Articulation and Interpretation of Goal

The first section is about formulating the goal in one sentence. And providing any required support for the interpretation of the goal. Sticking to the SMART principle. Where goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-based.

When moving from yearly to quarterly goal you need to raise your goal articulation crispness.

Important Insights

The second section is about clarifying important insights framing the context for the goal. Execution of strategic priorities are non-trivial tasks. E=Where you need to secure your team understand the bigger picture around the goal.

  • Why do we need to focus on this work now?
  • Which part of the context help us to stay focused on the task?
  • What have we excluded from the task to allow for full focus on something we can achieve in a quarter?
  • What have we decided to postpone for later?

A common trap for yearly goals is to articulate them in few words and assume all team members share a common view of the context. Unclear contexts is the number one enemy to focused execution.

Expected Outcomes

The third section is about clarifying the expected outcomes. You want to create a winning team. And the team need to see if they are winning or losing against the outcomes defining success.

Possible outcomes are

  • A clear set of deliverables.
  • The individual and organizational learning expected as part of the journey.

Yearly goals struggle with keeping the outcomes clear and relevant through-out the year.

Identified obstacles and possible mitigations 

The fourth section is about dealing with expected obstacles and how to circumvent them. Execution of strategic priorities need stretched goals and respect for obstacles to deal with. By being clear on the known obstacles from start. Combined with ideas on how to go over, under or around the obstacles you increase the buy in from team members. As well as increasing the odds for success.

If you don’t see obstacles your goal is set too low. If you have too many obstacles without a clear mitigation plan you cannot expect to deliver. And this section is a good test on if the your goal formulation is clear good enough.

Yearly goal setting allow business to leave obstacles and mitigations on the side, replaced by “Just do it” missions.


One thought on “Writing template – Quarterly goals for execution of strategic priorities

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