I used to focus on quarterly goals. There were a couple things about the duration though, that didn’t work:

  • My situation would change and make the goal either unachievable or irrelevant.
  • Or I’d lose track of what I intended to focus on as the weeks slid by and louder issues took priority.

Monthly goals, on the other hand, felt too short. Objectives weren’t big enough and the frequent planning made them seem almost arbitrary in what to pursue.

I switched to 45 day cycles (1.5 months) and my execution speed accelerated. I still set quarterly goals, but the focus is more on the 45 day cycle as the vehicle to get there and the 45 day objectives are significant enough that they require strategic thinking to be successful.

In a similar vein, this week I attended an introduction workshop on the business operating system, Metronomics. It’s built on the ideas of EOS and Scaling Up, but one of the concepts that is unique to Metronomics is the 3HAG.

Jim Collins developed the idea of the “Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG),” that sets a ten, twenty, or thirty year inspirational goal for your business.

The creator of Metronomics, Shannon Byrne Susko, created the 3HAG as an interim step. The 3HAG is a 3 Year Highly Achievable Goal. While, with the BHAG, you don’t know how you’ll achieve it, with the 3HAG you should have confidence for how you’ll complete the goals you set for the next three years. It’s a navigational path that’s clear.

For you and your team, quarterly or monthly goals may work. And you may not need a tool like a 3HAG. But if things aren’t progressing at a steady clip or objectives are continually pushed back, there’s something about adjusting scope and time that will increase the velocity of achieving change.