Excellence University Blog

Archive for May, 2007

May 25th, 2007

SMART Goals: What They Are, Why They Are So Valuable (and why so many struggle with them)

by Dr. Brian Higley | 17 comments

I talk a lot with our clients about SMART goals – Specific, Measurable, Agreed-upon, Realistic, and Time-bound steps toward fulfilling their strategic plans.  I do this so frequently because my experience is that the best way to facilitate (and track) progress of strategic plans in meaningful and consistent ways is to develop SMART goals.   Most people agree with me – and a few even attempt to set SMART goals once in awhile – but most of the time I find that people struggle with SMART goal development (even those who truly believe in their value and actually spend time attempting to set them).

For example, I recently had someone put forth the following as a SMART goal in one of our sessions: ”treat every customer with respect – starting today.”  I explained that although this is a very good idea (I certainly will never argue with treating all customers in a respectful way), it is an example of a very poor SMART goal.  That is because it is neither Specific (“respect” could mean a firm handshake to me, but it might mean offering someone coffee every time they come into the office to you) nor Measurable (I can’t measure “respect” – on the other hand, I can measure, for example, how often someone shakes a hand or offers coffee).

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May 5th, 2007

Suggestions Regarding Effectively Balancing Planning With Executing

by Dr. Brian Higley | 1 comment

A big question on many people’s minds is how to balance planning with getting the plan done.  Here are my thoughts on the matter:

It’s been my experience that successful leaders tend to lay down their strategy 1-4 times a year to avoid making teammates’ heads spin as they change directions every couple of weeks.  They then spend about 2-4 hours every 2-4 weeks on clarifying that strategy to their people and identifying any major barriers to executing the tactics necessary to fulfilling their strategic aims. 

My experience is that, if this process is done well, there is a lot of time left to focus on assisting key team members with executing their strategies.  Unfortunately, it’s also been my experience that this process is NOT often done very well (probably about 10% of the leaders my team knows does it at a consistently high level).”

May 5th, 2007

How To Effectively Integrate Strategic and Tactical Planning

by Dr. Brian Higley | Add comment

I was recently asked to answer the following question (and thought it might be good to post the answer for others to have a look at): “How do you effectively integrate strategic and tactical planning?”

After researching this important question over the past 8 years now (and sifting through the myriad of answers that people, books, DVDs, etc. put forth), I think that the most successful leaders integrate strategy with their tactics in a very simple, but powerful way.  I’ve found that they perform the following steps on a regular basis to integrate their strategy with their tactics:
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