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Your 2019 ultimate structured strategy approach has arrived!

358 DAYS LEFT IN 2019: Make them count 🥳

Read: 4 minutes

Happy New Year 🎉 – we hope it’s a great one! What you’re about to read will flip all your goals for the next year upside down.

So right now, most people are talking about New Year’s resolutions.

I’ve outlined an approach we adopt when facilitating strategy workshops with clients and follow ourselves at flinder for our own business.

Our approach very much centres around setting goals based on the mission and vision i.e. your purpose and making sure everything in the business aligns to these (including your management information – but that’s another lesson for another time).

Our approach is based on the OKR (Objectives & Key Results) methodology implemented by Intel and adopted by Google, although we’ve adapted it slightly.

Enough build up, here’s a snapshot of what you need to know…

First you need to know what your purpose or ‘why’ is within your business.

  1. Recap on both your mission & vision

Your mission is what you do today whereas your vision is where you want the business to be in the future. The latter statement is hugely important because it’s your destination.

If we bring it back to New Year’s resolutions, two of the three most common resolutions for 2019 are around fitness and health.

A typical mission could be to maintain a healthy lifestyle whereas a vision could be to wake up feeling energised, fit & healthy and have enough energy to run around with the kids or even look good for an upcoming beach holiday.

  1. What’s your overarching objective(s)?

While your vision is your destination, your objectives are your path to get there.

If we relate this back to resolutions, this could be a 12-month objective to get to 10% body fat, lose 10kgs or run a marathon in under 3 hours.

Pretty impressive achievements if you were to manage these!

But importantly, these should be definitive and measurable; reducing body fat wouldn’t suffice, you would need to include the % too. Of course, these need to align to your vision!

Pro tip: Your objectives should be ambitious and feel a little uncomfortable.

  1. Break down your business by function and set supporting objectives

If your overarching objectives are very high-level, they may need to be broken down further to filter through the organisation.

In our example, setting objectives of 10% body fat, losing 10kgs or running a sub 3-hour marathon are reasonably clear but if we did want to break 10% body fat far down further to give more structure we could break it down further by focusing on:

  • Fitness
  • Nutrition
  • Rest & repair
  • Well-being

In business, this would be breaking down the objectives by business unit or function.

  1. Define your ‘key results’

Now we are getting very specific and starting to measure achievement and activity. This is where our flinder Data Engineers get really excited as it’s all about data and metrics!

Once the key results have been achieved, the objective should also be on its way to being achieved. The reason I say ‘on its way to being achieved’ is because you may find your key results evolve over time.

Each objective should have a number of supporting key results.

Taking 10% body fat from our example:

  • Key result 1: Eat 5 portions of vegetables at least 3 times per day
  • Key result 2: Cut out alcohol except at the weekend
  • Key result 3: Run on a calorie deficit for a minimum of 5 days per week

If you haven’t guessed it, key results need be measurable and thus always need a number. In our example, some of these will cross over between ‘functions’ – for example cutting alcohol may also be part our sleep key results.

  1. Develop your ‘initiatives’

We’re now at the last part of our approach; creating specific initiatives or mini-projects to drive the change we desire that are aligned to each key result.

Again, we should have 3 – 5 initiatives for each key result. If we take our calorie deficit key result:

  • Initiative 1: Log food intake into MyFitnessPal (understand baseline calorie & macro nutrient requirements)
  • Initiative 2: Reduce portion size intake – possibly using a smaller plate
  • Initiative 3: Eat slower – put knife and fork down after each mouthful and chew longer

A word of warning here, initiatives should not be implemented all at once – this is one of the key reasons that New Year’s resolutions fail; too much change creates a barrier. Instead, in an OKR world, key results and initiatives are continuously being met, evolved and replaced. One initiative at a time helps create habits.

And there you have it, our approach to goal and strategy setting in the business which like many things in business can be applied to life too!

Do you already have an approach and if so, what does it look like?

Good luck with 2019 and if you want more information, give me a shout!

Alastair – Chief Dreamer

Want to help someone else with their goals?

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