Idea In Brief: It’s so easy for our super important goals to get hijacked by the urgent “now” demands of our day. Mid-year is the perfect time to revisit, re-evaluate, and recommit to those crucial goals. Here are my four-step process and two downloadable templates to help make it easier!
(4 Minute Read)
When you begin the year basking in the post-planning afterglow (ok, maybe that’s just me), it’s easy to have crystal clear clarity on your goals, objectives and the priorities for the year.
Wildly Important Goals? ✔
Key objectives set? ✔
Laser focus? ✔ ✔ ✔
Then life happens.
It’s far too easy for critical, strategic goals to get hijacked by those urgent “now” demands that consume most of our days. Whether you’re a solopreneuer, a CEO, or a team leader, now is the perfect time to revisit, re-evaluate, and recommit to those crucial goals.
To make it easier, I’ve identified the following four steps in this review process. I’ve also provided two templates you’ll want to make sure you download.
- Recommit to Goals
- Refine Actions
- Create Capacity
- Operationalize Reviews
#1. Recommit To Your Goals
The first step in the review process is to recommit to your goals. First, you want to make sure those goals still serve you. Business moves fast. To be agile, you must identify whether the “why” of your goal is still relevant.
My Strategic Plan Review template is a great tool to help you and your team reassess and if appropriate, recommit to the goals that matter the most for the balance of the year.
“He who has a WHY can bear any HOW.
— Dr. Frankl
This template includes very detailed instructions, but basically, it’s designed to help you and your team identify the critical few goals you want to commit to and focus on achieving. The steps are:
Evaluate the Goals
Review the strategic objectives or annual objectives you set at the beginning of the planning period. Are these still essential to achieving your most important organizational goal? If so, why? Are there new goals or opportunities that need consideration?
As a team, rate how critical each of these objectives is to achieve the overall organizational goal.
Uncover the Critical Few
To determine the critical few goals to focus on, use my rating system that combines the weighting of “how important the goal/project is to achieving the overall strategic goal of the organization” and “likelihood of executing in the current year.”
For those goals you’ve deemed critical to success, there will always be challenges and risks. Take this opportunity to think about what those risks might be, how you can mitigate those risks, and how you will respond should uncertainties materialize despite your best efforts.
The process of thinking through these risks will be tremendously valuable to your team.
You can download my Strategic Plan Review template by clicking the button below.
Strategic Plan Review Template
#2. Refine Your Actions
For the goals you’ve identified as the critical few, create a 12-week action plan (download below) to create clarity and accountability for what can be done over the next three months to get you closer to achieving your goals.
In this 12-week Action Plan template, you will determine the key steps, due dates, and the lead measures you want to track for each goal/project.
You may not be able to achieve your goals in 12 weeks, so only focus on what you can do in the next 12 weeks to make the progress you need to make.
Why a 12-week action plan? What if you have more than 12 weeks to achieve your goals? I find that 12-week action plans strike the right balance between the sense of urgency and flexibility necessary to execute. 12-week action plans are digestible without being overwhelming. The idea is to focus to create momentum, not generate an elaborate long-term project plan.
12-Week Action Plan Template
#3. Create Capacity
We are outstanding at adding things to our to-do list. We need to become exceptional at continually creating margin and the capacity to focus on those most important goals/projects. A few ways to expand capacity include:
Review your recurring meetings. You can start by killing update and status meetings to get back 30% of your week! Which meetings can you change from weekly to bi-weekly? Are there hour-long meetings you can reduce to 30 minutes? Are there meetings you can send a teammate to or alternate attendance? Are there recurring meetings you can suspend until you need them again?
Are there projects you are working on that no longer serve you? Are there projects that have no clear, direct line to your strategic goals? Can you press “pause” for now?
Do you have processes that take up far too much of your time? Can you automate repeatable processes (possibly with Zapier, for instance)? Where are the bottlenecks and what can you do now to remove them and release more of your time?
#4. Operationalize Reviews
The last step of this review process is to incorporate a review cadence into your normal operations. For example, as part of your weekly team meetings and each month, update progress on the 12-week Action Plan. What can you celebrate? Are there areas where you (or team) need help? Which goals are in jeopardy?
Quarterly or at least semi-annually revisit the “Strategic Review Plan” Template to ensure you are working on the strategic goals that are critical to your business.
Idea into Action
Schedule a working session with your team for a mid-year strategic plan review using the Strategic Plan Review Template. Ask the following questions:
- What are the critical few goals we must achieve by the end of the year?
- How can we create more capacity to work on these critical goals by culling our meetings, pausing projects or refining key processes?
- How do we incorporate strategy progress reviews into our normal weekly, monthly, or quarterly operating rhythms?
Life happens. You can’t control that. However, you can use this process and these tools to help you respond intentionally and in alignment with your most important strategic goal!
Please share your thoughts with me on this, and if you’ve found this information helpful, you can help me get the word out by using the links provided and sharing it with a colleague. Thanks!