goal without plan is just wish

Goals that achieve a greater sense of accomplishment in 2017

Now that you are recharged after the holiday break, consider thinking about (or re-thinking) your organization’s 2017 goals and how you will achieve them. Do you have a good plan in place for the year? Do you feel stuck or vague on what you are striving to achieve? If you feel that YOU are clear, are you sure that those who report to you feel the same way?

Goal setting is all about knowing where you want to go, and charting the steps to get there. Whether you manage a large organization or a small one, you undoubtedly have goals that you want to achieve. Here are six steps to help you set goals and create the steps needed to achieve them.

1. Create a hearty list of struggles you would like to address.
If you have a team, consider creating the list with them. Doing so will help everyone be invested from the start. Once the struggles are noted, narrow the list to 7 or 8 by having each team member vote for their top three. This narrowed list will become the basis for the goals you will set for the year.

2. Create S.M.A.R.T yearly goals to address the 7–8 struggles.

Craft goals using the S.M.A.R.T. format

Craft goals using the S.M.A.R.T. format

Each goal should be a direct response to a struggle, and written using the “S.M.A.R.T.” format (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely). For example, an “un-smart” goal might read, “Create a new training program.” A S.M.A.R.T. version of this might be, “Create a social media training program that will launch by Q3 this year.” The S.M.A.R.T. format lets the team know what “done” means when the goal has been achieved.

3. Brainstorm “bite-sized” quarterly goals.

Brainstorm with team members

Brainstorm with team members

List the actions that are necessary to achieve the yearly goal in chronological order. Then determine which of those actions will be realistic to implement within the three-month periods leading up to when the yearly goal should be achieved. Apply the S.M.A.R.T. format to the actions to create quarterly “bite-sized” goals. Using our same example, the training program’s quarterly goal might be, “Complete an assessment of social media skills and needs of the team by the end of March.” Like the struggles list, consider creating the list of actions across all four quarters of the year with your team members.

4. Assign quarterly goals to your team members.
When doing this, you may want to first ask each member which goal(s) they feel best suited to lead, and let their opinion help drive the decision. Consider that it may be best to have different people lead different yearly goals each quarter. This enables you to take advantage of the breadth and depth of your team’s skill sets, and could help generate a collective sense of success across the team.

5. Hold weekly check-ins.
Spend 10–15 minutes with each team member weekly to check in on their progress against their quarterly goals. This is important to ensure accountability and to give them the opportunity to ask for help if they aren’t progressing. The entire team could—and should—be leveraged to brainstorm how to move forward. But the person leading the quarterly goal is responsible for ensuring that action happens week to week.

6. Conduct quarterly meetings.

Conduct quarterly reviews to track progress

Conduct quarterly reviews to track progress

Meet with each team member toward the end of the quarter to assess quarterly progress toward achieving the yearly goal. This is also a good time to review (or recalibrate) the next quarter’s goals. If you have crafted the yearly and quarterly goals using S.M.A.R.T., determining if the goals are “done” or “not done” should be easy. Although achieving every yearly or quarterly goal may not be completely within a team member’s control, significant progress should be visible after each three-month period.

Good planning is all about knowing where you want to go and charting out the steps to get there. It’s not too late for your organization to create and follow a plan that will guide you to greater success in 2017!

Nancie Ruder Noetic Consultants

Nancie Ruder

Noetic Consultants knows that your ability to articulate your strategic vision then translate it into action—defines your path forward and, ultimately, your success. We provide the experience, guidance and know-how to focus your team and engage them in a collaborative, forward-thinking manner. We can work with you to facilitate structuring your annual strategic plans, setting your organization’s yearly, and much more.



Is Your Brand Portfolio a Mess? You’re Not Alone.

Marketers typically fall into brand portfolio management “after the fact”:  you’re tasked with overseeing several brands—developed internally or via acquisition—but they don’t form a coherent whole. Perhaps most of your products or services share your parent company’s name but those acquired over the years do not? Or, conversely, your parent company has taken a “house of brands” approach to its portfolio (similar to Procter & Gamble) and developed many brands over the years that have become unwieldy and difficult to manage?

At the end of the day, all of the brands compete for your company’s marketing dollars. Some may even compete with each other for customers. How do you bring order to this messy situation in order to maximize your marketing resources?

Consider this example: Noetic recently completed work for a non-profit healthcare provider that had a strong brand but had grown over the years by merging with and “bolting on” other organizations with similar missions. Some of these organizations were subbranded under the parent’s name (creating very long, unwieldy names), while others maintained their independent existences (thereby losing the opportunity for joint fundraising and messaging). The CMO knew that she needed to bring order to her house before she could continue to grow.

Here are some of the questions we asked the organization’s leaders:
  • Are your resources deep enough to support several brands? How many?
  • Is each brand distinct enough to warrant its own existence?
  • Will you lose target customers if you phase out subbrands (but not the products or services associated with them)?
  • Will you experience MORE pain maintaining subbrands or phasing them out?
  • What opportunities does restructuring your brand architecture create for your organization?

After conducting internal research and holding a brand workshop with key managers, we helped the organization come up with a plan: those subbrands whose target audiences overlapped most with the parent brand would be phased out over time and ultimately be branded with the parent organization. One subbrand serving teens that had built up years of equity and credibility with this audience would maintain its separate existence. Today, the organization is moving forward with clarity and purpose.

Most portfolio management dilemmas are challenges you happen upon after the fact or you inherit from those before you. If you find yourself with a messy brand portfolio, know that you are in good company. With some effort, creating a hard-working architecture that makes sense and works FOR you rather than against you is within your reach.

NNancie Head Shot-Edit 200x300oetic is a marketing consultancy specializing in brand strategy, research & training.

We are built upon an avid curiosity about varied businesses and their unique strategic challenges. We provide a fresh perspective and intelligent thinking without a rigid agenda that requires starting from scratch.

Our “I.D.E.A.” approach always starts with the vision our senior executive clients set. And our mission is to help our clients release their team’s full potential to achieve that vision.