1 Big Goal and 3 Priorities: How Successful Teams Get Things Done

1 Big Goal | 3 Priorities

Time is finite. It doesn’t matter how rich or successful your brand, you can’t manufacture more time. Time is the great equalizer, and the companies who are more focused and productive tend to win more often.

George Stalk writes in Time—The Next Source of Competitive Advantage, “The ways leading companies manage time—in production, in new product development and introduction, in sales and distribution—represent the most powerful new sources of competitive advantage.”

He continues, “A company that builds its strategy on this cycle is a more powerful competitor than one with a traditional strategy based on low wages, scale, or focus.”

Time is as valuable as cash or reputation. The better you utilize it, the more you can achieve.

Successful teams maximize their time by being very deliberate on two things:

  • 1 Big Goal to focus the organization
  • 3 priorities / team, every 90 days

1 Big Goal to Focus the Organization

Behind all great brands are Big Goals.

Jim Collins and Jerry Porras called these BHAGs, big hairy audacious goals, in Built To Last. They write, “A true BHAG is clear and compelling, serves as a unifying focal point of effort, and acts as a clear catalyst for team spirit. It has a clear finish line, so the organization can know when it has achieved the goal; people like to shoot for finish lines.”

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Collins and Porras were clear. Great companies don’t have multiple Big Goals. They have one.

Successful teams identify one critical goal, and they focus a disproportionate amount of their time and resources to achieve it. This becomes a focal point for the brand.

When time is finite, you can’t do it all. Pick one Big Goal and frame it using the From X to Y by When formula.

3 Priorities / Team, Every 90 Days

A Big Goal can take a year or more to achieve. We’re not talking about quarterly targets or project deadlines. Big Goals stretch your team and transform your organization.

A Big Goal needs to be broken down into bite size chunks or priorities. A priority is a project, task, or system you will put in place over the next 90 days to move the company toward achieving its Big Goal.

Successful teams pick their priorities deliberately. They avoid taking on too much or doing “busy work,” and select up to 3 priorities per quarter.

What’s interesting is a mid- to large-size organization can take on dozens of priorities per quarter. Each team can be empowered to choose its own 3 priorities. For example, in a midsized company each department can select up to 3 priorities to focus on over the next 90 days.

By empowering each team to select up to 3 priorities per quarter, an organization can move mountains. A company with 5 departments could accomplish 15 priorities per quarter, and 45 priorities per year.

That’s an impressive set of deliverables if they are all aligned to achieving the Big Goal.

Maximize Time with Focus, Accountability and Grit

A company maximizes its time metric by empowering each team to work independently towards achieving the Big Goal.

It’s a simple mindset that leads to remarkable outcomes:

  • 1 Big Goal: Focus your entire organization on one important goal that has the power to transform your business and brand.
  • 3 Priorities: Empower each team or department to select up to 3 priorities to complete every 90 days that are directly related to achieving the Big Goal.

Micromanaging everyone’s tasks hurts productivity and wastes time. Rather, divide and conquer. Give your teams the leeway and accountability to deliver on 3 priorities each quarter, and it will help your company take quantum leaps forward.