What are you business objectives?

Whether you have formal business objectives, or not, every business has objectives.

If you operate an ISO management system, are deploying Lean, or undertaken annual business planning, you will have business objectives of some description.

The challenge, on top of normal day-to-day business, is delivering these objectives.

How’s it going with your business objectives?

Many people complain to me that their progress is limited. After the immediate gusto, momentum decreases and the objective gets forgotten.

Are you facing the same challenge?

You know how the business needs to change but progress is limited…

I have seen so many senior managers and business owners pull their hair out over this topic. This is especially the case when some of the changes aren’t huge in terms of the work content.

Is there a simple way to resolve this?

Visibility is key for your business objectives

The first thing I recommend my clients do is to make the overall schedule of business objectives visible. This schedule is often known as the ‘master schedule’.

By visible I mean that it isn’t stuck away on a PC, only to be looked at when either something goes wrong or in preparation for the next quality management review / business planning cycle / customer visit.

I am talking about sticking your schedule up on a whiteboard in your meeting room, on a wall in your Board Room, on a projector in your office or anything that puts it ‘in your face’. It shouldn’t be hard to find somewhere that people cannot help but see it.

Keeping the master schedule visible increases your chances of talking about its content. If you keep talking about its content then there is a good chance that you and your team might take the right actions. And hey, who knows, you might increase your chances of deploying the objectives in a timely manner!

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Discover a faster way to deploy your objectives – instant download available

What is a master schedule?

So, what is this master schedule that I have referred to?

In essence, it is a high level view of your objectives that lets everyone know (at a glance) if you are on track (or not).

Colour coding the objectives is a good way to do this, using a RAG (Red, Amber, Green) approach works well. Red is off track, green is on track and amber is drifting one way or the other.

This schedule won’t include a whole load of detail. It should include the name of the objective, the owner, provide a time frame for its completion and the status (RAG or otherwise). This document should offer a good visual management tool to help you with your overall management of the deployment of your objectives.

Fitting in with your business management schedule

To make your schedule really work it should ideally tie in with the routine of your business management activities.

I mentioned earlier that making the schedule visible will improve adherence. Linking your master schedule to a series of management meetings, to gauge progress and re-direct focus (as required), puts your deployments into high gear.

If you don’t have this setup currently, then it may be worthwhile piggybacking an existing meeting series. Monthly management meetings, Board meetings or something similar would work well.

I recommend that you keep the review of the master schedule light. I would hate for you to take an already successful meeting series and cripple it by adding in this particular review.

What is the Strategic Improvement Loop?

In short, the Strategic Improvement Loop is a step by step system based on the Hoshin Kanri method.

Hoshin Kanri is a complete system for designing, deploying and ensuring progress for your strategic objectives. The Strategic Improvement Loop is a simplified approach, designed to be implemented in just a matter of hours.

The complexity has been removed but the effectiveness has not.

The points raised above are all included within the download and assist in increasing the effectiveness of your objective setting and achieving.

You can find out more about the system here.

Pulling this together

So, what are the takeaway tips from this article?

  1. Make things simpler. If you are struggling with deploying business objectives, then make them less ambitious and have fewer of them in play at any one point in time. You can become more complex later on, once you’ve figured out what works for your business.
  2. Play to your strengths. Prioritise the objectives you have based on your ability to deploy them considered against the payoff for each objectives.
  3. Make your objectives visible to your entire team. Get them in people’s faces and increase the chance of them being discussed and worked on.
  4. Create a master schedule and adopt a simple RAG reporting system to help you instantly determine whether you are on track (or not) and what needs your focus.
  5. Attach the review of the master schedule to one of your regular management meetings.

Good luck with improving the quality and rate of deployment of your objectives.

Giles Johnston

Giles Johnston is a Chartered Engineer who consults with businesses to improve their on time delivery performance, ERP system performance and deploy Kaizen / Lean production methods. Giles is also the author of 'What Does Good Look Like?'.