Step 1: Define your “Why” (Most Valuable Assets)
First, look at what is most important for the success of your business. Fill in the blank here: My business would go away if we didn’t appropriately manage our ________________. Your answers to this question can help point your to your most valuable assets (MVAs). MVAs are things that, if neglected, would cause you to go out of business. They may include finances, team members, products and services, customers and technology. Your MVAs can provide the ultimate “why” for guiding all actions. Step two, then, will help nurture them.
Step 2: Define your “What” (Annual Goals)
Let’s define a “goal” as a specific outcome (or finish line) that will occur within the next 365-days. It’s absolutely critical that you be specific and define clear end-dates when talking about goals. Try to stay away from general ideas such as “improve customer satisfaction” or “put together a disaster plan”; such ‘broader view’ targets can be difficult to communicate and track. Instead, be clear about what you expect your team to support, and when you expect it to be accomplished. For instance, “get customer satisfaction rating up to 96%”, or “develop and present disaster preparedness plan at next staff meeting” are clear and concise goals.
Now that you have your “why” and “what,” you can address “how.”
Step 3: Empower your “How” (Quarterly Objectives)
To empower your team to embrace more accountability, present them with your MVAs and goals, and then let them suggest their own quarterly objectives. Again, be sure that all objectives have specific 90-day outcomes. Your team will more fully embrace your vision when they get to own their own specific piece of it and see how their efforts support the common good.
For instance, if one of your MVAs is “technology” and your first annual goal in that category is to “increase bandwidth and network reliability,” your team’s corresponding quarterly objective may be “to look for an Ethernet-based network that will support up to 1 gig” such as Comcast Business Internet. Put this information into an appraisal form (find one to download and tailor at no cost at www.christophermcintyre.com) to capture clear accountability agreements.
With these three easy steps, you will create a strong foundation of clear goals and objectives for your business in 2015, along with a fully empowered team of accountable superstars that truly understand and believe in your vision.