There are many models for working towards achieving specific goals. One approach is to focus on the ‘What, Why, How, Who and When’.
Imagine you are leading an organisation that aims to tackle a challenge or achieve its picture of success. Let’s explore how you can use the model to clarify your strategy for achieving the goals.
* The What.
The first step is to establish clarity – the ‘what’. It is to clarify the real results to achieve. This is the most vital and yet overlooked step.
Great decision makers spend a lot of time on this stage. Why? They make sure they are ‘climbing the right mountain’. Otherwise it is easy to confuse activity with results and rush into climbing the wrong mountain.
Going into a situation, such decision makers quickly gather information and look beneath the surface. They ask:
What are the real results to achieve? What are all the short, medium and long-term goals? What are these in order of priority? What is the picture of success?
They start from the destination and work backwards. They are crystal-clear on the real goal before clarifying how to reach this destination.
Imagine that your organisation wants to achieve a specific goal. This may be to turnaround the business, improve customer satisfaction, boost internal morale, launch a new product or whatever.
Gather your leadership team together and describe the specific goal. Then invite them:
* To brainstorm the real results to achieve.
* To list the desired results in order of priority.
* To, if appropriate, translate these into a clear picture of success.
Make sure people are crystal clear on the ‘What’ before moving to the next step. It can be useful to complete something like the following exercise.
* The Why.
Let’s move onto the ‘Why’. What will be the benefits of achieving the goal?
Great leaders show their people the benefits of achieving a specific goal. They describe the pluses for various stakeholders – such the organisation, customers and employees. They are also honest about the potential downsides.
Peak performers look at the whole package and ask:
Are we serious? Do we really want to go for the goal? How can we build on the pluses and minimise the minuses? On a scale 0 – 10, to what extent do we really want to go for the goal?
They make sure their motivation is at least 8+/10, they then commit to achieving the picture of success.
Try tackling the exercise on this theme. Imagine you have settled on working towards achieving a specific goal. Describe the benefits of achieving the goal for the various stakeholders.
* The How.
Move on to the strategy for achieving the goals. This often involves taking three steps. Let’s explore these stages.
* Clarify how you can control the controllables.
You can focus on: a) The things we can control – such as our professionalism; b) The things we can’t control; c) The things we can do to build on what we can control and manage what we can’t.
* Clarify the key strategies you can follow to give yourself the greatest chance of success.
Bearing in mind the goal to achieve, ask:
What are the key things we can do to give ourselves the greatest chance of success?
Brainstorm lots of ideas. Then settle on the three key strategies, for example, that will give the best chance of delivering success. You can have lots of sub-strategies beneath each of these principles.
* Clarify the tactics under each of the strategies.
Describe the specific things that must be done to implement each of the strategies to achieve the goals. Make sure that you build in some early wins.
This is a lot of work, but it provides the platform for achieving success. Try summarising your findings under the following heading.
* The Who.
Looking at the strategies to be followed, ask the following questions.
Who are the kinds of people we need in order to reach the goals?
What is the kind of spirit – the behaviour and characteristics – these people need to demonstrate? What are the skills they need to have? How can we find these people?
What will be the specific responsibilities of these various people in working towards achieving the goals?
How can we make clear working contracts about their specific contributions? What is the support they will to achieve the goals?
Try completing the following sentences.
* The When.
Time to move on to the ‘When’. Starting from the destination and working backwards, create a road map for achieving the goals. This can include:
* The Dates.
* The Achievements: the specific things that should be delivered by these dates.
* The Quotes: the actual words that you want to hear people saying along the road.
These quotes can be from colleagues, customers and other people. Such quotes help to bring the road map to life.
There are many ways to make such a road map. The one shown below invites people to describe their goals under the 3 Ps: Profits, Products and People.
They then describe what should be happening under each heading at various dates along the road. You may, however, use a different template with different categories.
Another approach is to do a shorthand version of this road map. Perhaps outlining some of the key milestones on the journey.
This can be useful if you are simply giving an elevator pitch that outlines what should be happening by when. If so, you may prefer to complete the following exercise.
There are many ways to clarify the strategy for achieving your goals. One approach is to keep focusing on the ‘What, Why, How, Who, When’.
This can also become the basis for your organisation’s story. You can communicate this to people by saying:
* The real results we are aiming to achieve are:
* The benefits of achieving these results will be:
* The strategies we are going to follow to achieve the results are:
* The specific responsibilities of people on the road to achieving the results will be:
* The specific things that will be happening – and when – on the road to achieving the results will be:
You can then keep reminding people of the strategy on the road towards achieving success.