This month we’ll be exploring the final section of the PSE One Page, the Execution section.
As the name suggests, the Execution section is all about execution. Making sure that the company is moving forward week in and week out. Making consistent progress towards the goals that you created in Strategy and making sure that you’re not letting anything hold you back or hitting obstacles that are derailing you from reaching your goals. This is where the true accountability of the PSE Method comes in.
First up is Annual Goals.
Once you’ve created your 3 Year Goals, you’ll need to back them down even further into your Annual Goals. One year from now, where do you need to be in order to be moving towards your 3 Year Goals?
What do you absolutely have to accomplish in order to have a great year? What do you need to accomplish in the next year to reach your 3 Year Goals? You’re now bringing your BHAG even closer to reality. These Annual Goals are much more concrete. You’re setting the three to seven most important objectives for the next 12 months.
Next up is Rocks.
Rocks is a term from Stephen Covey. It is the concept that in our life we have big Rocks, our most important priorities, things that we really want to get done that are bigger and more important than other things.
We also have pebbles, which are some of the day-to-day things that need to get done but aren’t quite as important or of as much magnitude as those big Rocks. And then we have sand, which is all the little distractions that get in the way of our day-to-day or of our tasks getting done.
Imagine that you have a bucket. If you put the sand in first and then you put the pebbles and then you put the big Rocks on top, they’re not going to fit because the sand took up too much room at the bottom and then the pebbles in the middle, and the big Rocks are overflowing at the top.
But if you put the big Rocks in first and then you put the pebbles in, the pebbles will fill in the holes between the big Rocks. Filling in around them. And then you pour the sand in on top and that fills in even more of those gaps so that all fits into the bucket without overflowing. The takeaway being that if you focus on those big priorities first, you’ll not only get those done, but you’ll also have time to get everything else done.
That’s where Rocks come in. They help you create the three to seven most important objectives to get done over the next 90 days. They’re all about focus, helping you stay away from those shiny objects that we all encounter on a daily basis. The whirlwind of the day-to-day as Four Disciplines of Execution calls it.
There are two different types of Rocks.
Company Rocks are the most important goals for the entire company. And then you also will have Individual Rocks which are the most important Rocks for you as an individual. Sometimes there’s overlap, say for instance you own one of the Company Rocks, you’ll just make sure to add that to your Individual Rocks list first.
Keep it simple and remember that less is more. Only three to seven, no more than seven. Rocks help to make sure that everyone has a goal that they are working towards at all times.
Eventually, you will trickle this concept down to the entire company so that everyone has at least one Rock. For now, you’re going to start with you as the leadership team. Remember it’s focused on what you absolutely have to get done over the next quarter in order to have a great quarter.
Ensure that both your Annual Goals and your Rocks are SMART.
SMART stands for: Specific, Measurable, Action-oriented, Realistic, and Time-bound.
Specific is all about getting crystal clear with what you want to accomplish. There should be no ambiguity with what the goal is or what the outcome will look like once you’ve accomplished it.
Measurable means that you can actually measure when you’ve reached the finish line. This helps to build in accountability by making it extremely clear as to whether you reached the goal or not.
Action-Oriented means that the goal is actionable your part. To the extent possible, you are in control of the goal. You want to create goals that you are able to influence the outcomes of. You can’t reach a goal if you’re just waiting on someone else the whole time.
Realistic means that you can realistically reach the goal. This is the hardest one for most first time goal setters. They often set goals that are way too big. While these goals are your priorities, especially Rocks, that doesn’t mean that you get to ignore all the other aspects of your job. You need to set goals that you can realistically achieve while still accomplishing your day-to-day work.
Time-Bound is probably the most straightforward one. Each goal needs to have a due date.
Creating SMART goals and Rocks is a skill that you’ll get better at. The more you set Rocks and Annual Goals, the more you will write them SMART. It just takes time and practice.
Lastly we have the Long Term Parking Lot.
Similar to the Short Term Parking Lot for your Weekly Meetings, the Long Term Parking Lot is where you’re capturing all the longer term more strategic problems that arise so that they don’t get lost or forgotten.
You don’t want to ignore problems and you don’t want them to slip your mind. So you want to make sure you capture them so that you can solve them eventually. This Parking Lot is a running list of all the long term problems that your company is facing. Long term meaning anything that you do not need to solve in the next 90 days. These tend to be more strategic type problems that you do need to solve, but not this week, or even this month.
Remember, this is just a list. You are not solving all of these things at once and this is not meant to be a Debbie Downer exercise of “Oh my gosh, look at all these problems we have.” We’re not trying to overwhelm you.
We just want to make sure you capture all of these problems so they don’t get lost in the shuffle. As a matter of fact we’re hoping to free up some of your precious brain space so that you don’t have to worry about these things. They’re written down. They’re captured. And you’ll address them as you can.
Every 90 days at the Quarterly Meeting, you’re going to prioritize this list and follow your Problem Solving Process just like you do in the Weekly Meeting but with the Long Term Parking Lot.
The PSE One Page gives everyone clarity.
All three sections of the PSE One Page together create a powerful communication tool used to help give everyone clarity about who you are, what you want, and how you want to get there.