The 10 Year Target, 3-Year Picture, 1-Year Plan, and Quarterly Rocks

If your organization stays aligned to its core values and maintains focus – sidestepping distractions – where will you be 10 years from now?

The Version Traction Organizer (VTO) is a thought exercise that takes you through a series of questions about your business. The objective is to help define the necessary steps for organizational success. And it all starts by challenging you to name your core values and your core focus.

It begins at that macro level to set the goal. But how will you get there?

The VTO continues with additional questions, each working backward toward your present state. This step-by-step process positions you on the runway and prepares you for takeoff.

Question of the decade

You’ve already selected your organization’s core values, which are things you care about and what you look for in others brought into the company. You’ve also defined your core focus, the common purpose, cause, or passion that aligns everyone plus identified the company’s niche – the one thing your organization does better than anyone else.

If your organization stays aligned to its core values and maintains focus – sidestepping distractions – where will you be 10 years from now? This is the beginning of creating your 10-year target, the things you plan to make happen well over the horizon. It’s a Big, Hairy, Audacious Goal (BHAG) that grabs everyone’s attention, energizing them so they synchronize in action and intention.

Strategy Roadmap

Vision and mission are future states that may not have an actual date attached. Now you’re getting more specific with a 10-year period. It’s time to plot a defined course.

The term “10-year target” is actually a bit of a misnomer. That’s because the goal might not really be 10 years away – it could really be five or 30 years out. What any of these different targets have in common is that they are long-term, which specifically means that they are far enough away that predicting accomplishment is hard to do precisely.

Much like elements of the core focus, they should be audacious goals. Where the 10-year target differs is that the objectives should be a little more specific and measurable. The acronym S.M.A.R.T. applies:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Realistic
  • Timely

“Become the most beloved widget company in the world,” for example, is not a very good 10-year target. It’s not very specific, it might not be realistic or obtainable, and – unless you’ve got a mathematical formula for quantifying love – it’s not measurable.

The target needs to be fairly tangible for both the leaders who are developing it and the rest of the team who are being inspired by it. And it must be attainable, or no one’s going to feel the compulsion or drive to try and make it happen.

A revision of that above 10-year target might go like this: “Become one of the most popular widget companies in the United States, with at least a 30% share of the domestic widget market.”

Notice how there can be qualitative and quantitative components to it; in this case, popularity and market share. The latter, specific numbers could be revenue; an oil company could specify the number of gallons pumped, or a manufacturer could define the number of units produced.

The 10-year target can be pretty specific, but it doesn’t have to be. It simply needs to be both as inspiring as possible and as realistic as possible.

From a decade to 36 months

You’ve got a big goal that’ll happen in (maybe) a decade. That 10-year target now needs the stability of an actionable plan. This is where things move to the three-year picture, which gets a lot more detailed. What does it look like?

  • What’s your revenue?
  • What’s your profit?
  • What are the agreed-upon metrics demonstrating forward movement? Get specific. For a construction company, these metrics might include a maximum number of workplace accidents and workers’ comp claims. A realtor might include the number of properties sold and perhaps the average price of the sales. And a SaaS company would very likely include a specific number of subscriptions, and perhaps a certain average response time for support issues.Other potential elements include the number of clients, business locations, product or service lines being offered, employee benefits, and the implementation of new marketing and sales strategies.
  • Put these elements into bulleted descriptions that show what things look like 36 months into the future.

This list of targets will inform the elements of your operating routine.

Increase the magnification

Next, you compress those goals and bring them closer to the ground by applying them to a 12-month plan. It’s really just a mirror image of the three-year picture, only a bit more specific.

What are three to seven things that must be done this year that will get you at least a third of the way toward the three-year picture? Once again, make those goals S.M.A.R.T. – specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely.

On the rocks

The danger of compressing a 10-year target to three years and then to just 12 months is that it’s easy for everything to seem like it has to be a priority. But if everything is a priority, then nothing is. It’s why the last step is to define your quarterly rocks.

What absolutely must be done in the next 90 days to keep you on track to meet your one-year plan? Look back at that plan. Decide on about three to seven of the most important things. You’ll discover that perhaps they can’t all be done. The rocks are the things that put you in danger of failing if they don’t happen.

These rocks also add accountability. Make ownership of each one singular – just one person owns its execution and completion. Don’t back away from the S.M.A.R.T. concept here, either. And of course, you will get a lot more specific in 90 days.

These time horizons aren’t the end of the VTO process, and there are very specific steps that are worked into each of these periods, including your marketing strategy, your processes, and a wider array of measurable benchmarks. We’ll tackle these elements in additional pieces, so be sure to bookmark our blog.

If you have questions about creating an S.M.A.R.T plan that accomplishes your vision – or you’d like to learn about how we can save you $15,000 or more in yearly taxes – get in touch with Provident CPA & Business Advisors today.

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