A smiling businessman holds out a handful of rocks.

Setting Quarterly Goals That Bring Traction – Develop SMART Rocks and Share Them Widely

Achieving goals takes re-engagement with your vision and solving critical issues.

Key Takeaways:

  • Q1 2023 is upon us, and ideally you’ve established your Rocks for that period
  • You can create them, but if you don’t share them widely, you’ll never achieve your quarterly goals
  • Creating Scorecards is the best way to track progress and accomplishment
  • Regular IDS meetings help maintain traction

The new year is here, which means you should have established your Rocks for the next 90 days – Q1 – and set priorities. Then, by focusing on accountability and discipline, you can take your vision and make it a reality. Define your Rocks using the SMART method – make them Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound. 

You know what they say about the best-laid plans. A lot can happen in 90 days, and if your leadership team doesn’t share your vision and act in alignment with it, your company loses focus. Weekly status updates help maintain focus and accountability for your quarterly goals and create and maintain the traction that’s vital to achieving goals. 

Vision is nothing without traction – your business momentum – and traction gives your leadership team what they need to expertly predict and execute short- and long-term strategies that work in your company’s best interests. Sharing your Rocks is vital to gain traction. Let’s see how Rocks can be applied and measured to bring the most benefit.

Creating your SMART Rocks

SMART Rocks set you up for success, and the place to start is with the “S.” If your leadership team sets unclear deliverables, departments within your company will have no defined focus. They will create Rocks based on what they think are the priorities, and that results in misalignment and lost traction. 

When setting your quarterly goals, understand that you may not reach a productive rhythm right away. What’s important is that you stay consistent and keep trying, and some best practices can help your company stay on the path that leads to traction.

  • Make sure Rocks are complete. Almost done isn’t done, and you can’t bring people on board to help you meet goals if you don’t know what they are.
  • Hold weekly meetings. Level 10™ meetings held weekly are the only way to truly track progress.
  • Share your Rocks. You can’t do it alone, and neither can your leadership team. Accountability must be company-wide, so Rocks must be shared across your entire organization, along with a documented process accessible to everyone.
  • Less is more when it comes to Rocks. Develop three at the most.
  • Identify, Discuss, and Solve (IDS). IDS is crucial. Issues come up almost daily in every business, and the focus is usually on the solution, but if you don’t identify the root cause of the problem, you will lose traction.

Discussion follows identification, and then there’s solving the issue. It may not be instantly solvable, so the solution may be answering the question of what will move the issue forward. Do IDS often, so it becomes a regular part of business operations instead of something for staff to fear. 

Setting up owners who have accountability is also important, but don’t do any finger-pointing. After all, you’re in this together. So now that your Rocks are clearly defined, how do you scale them companywide?

Introducing your quarterly Rocks and sharing them

You’ll want a meeting with everyone in the company, from the leadership team to interns. The objective is to reinforce alignment with the Vision. You’ll also assess progress made in the last quarter and introduce the upcoming quarter’s Rocks.

First, you’ll review what your company did in the last quarter, the percentage of Rocks achieved, and how they were achieved. Every department should outline their accomplishments, what they didn’t accomplish, and, importantly, what lessons were learned along the way. It’s time for reflection.

Next, restate the Vision, give kudos to team members who personify company core values, and keep people engaged by reminding them why they are doing what they are doing, and their part in the overall Vision and Traction. 

Now it’s time for your leadership team to share the Rocks they own. Each should explain their Rock, why it’s essential for the new quarter, and what help they need to achieve it. 

It’s crucial to ensure everyone in the organization understands that they hold an important place within the plan and the organization. Ask each team how they can contribute to support the goals. But knowing if your business will meet its goals means tracking them. But do you know what to track?

The Data Component and hitting your numbers

Using the Data Component, part of the Six Key Components™ in the EOS Model©, you and your leadership team can track important measurables on the EOS Scorecard™.  Tracking the 5 to 15 indicators of business health on the Scorecard gives you clear data you can use and tells the story not only of how well you are doing but whether you’ve made the right business decisions. 

It’s great if teams hit their Scorecard numbers, but if you find you’re off target, the scorecard provides a way to catch problems early and objectively measure progress. Raw instinct is powerful and valuable, but it’s strong, objective data that will tell you if you’re achieving your goals. To get even more out of your data:

  1. Create a leadership team Scorecard that tracks 5 to 15 weekly numbers that give you an accurate picture of your business. Look at 13 weeks of history. At a glance, you’ll be able to see patterns and trends and know whether something is a one-time event (either good or bad) or something you need to jump on. 
  1. Create departmental Scorecards that reflect regular activity-based numbers so you can measure departmental successes as well as failures. Roll these out to every department, including marketing and sales, accounting and finance, operations, and so on. These Scorecards provide your leadership team and managers with the data they need to drive accountability. It also provides the means to predict trends and act proactively. For example, your sales team can take action when proposals aren’t meeting goals instead of reacting when those lack of proposals means a slowdown in orders. 
  1. Reinforce accountability by making sure everyone has a number. Scorecards should be examined weekly, and each employee should feel accountable for keeping measurables on track. This forges a connection between actions and achievement and helps employees manage themselves and be proactive. This, in turn, helps the company achieve its vision and execute its plan.

The team at The Profit Recipe teaches leaders of all stripes to be more self-aware, embrace their vulnerability, and learn to delegate effectively to lead by design – not by accident. We understand the leadership skills entrepreneurs need for success, and we can show you how to elevate your team.

We use our more than 50 years of combined real-world leadership experience to help new and experienced leaders become the kind of coaches and managers who direct valuable teams that drive growth. Let us support your entrepreneurial journey – schedule a call with one of our experts today or send us a message.