How to Set Better Goals in Business

12 July 2022

Whether you want to grow rapidly or just improve what you’re already doing, setting clear goals will help you get there. But how can you set the right goals at the right time and make sure you reach them?

The first thing you need to get clear about is why are you in business. Having a clear ‘why’ and making sure that the team are onboard and passionate about it will help drive the momentum of smaller goals forward. Everyone in your business should have clarity around…


  • Why your business exists (purpose)
  • Where it’s going (vision)
  • And how you’re going to get there (mission) 


Once you’ve solidified these things (and established a practice of revisiting and adjusting them, things change after all) then you can move onto the nitty gritty goals that will align with them all.


90 day rocks 


Yes, rocks. Think of rocks as the cornerstone of your projects. The intention is to keep things focussed and measured in short periods of time, so that things don’t snowball, become overwhelming or get side tracked. 


The idea is to run projects in 90 day periods. Whether you divide rocks up by department if you’re a larger organisation, or keep them business wide, set 3-7 priorities to work on over the next 90 days. 


Set clear accountabilities, measures, and deadlines. Working in a 90 sprint will allow real change to be made in that time, without letting things fester or end up on that ‘to-do-list’ that never gets finished. 


How to decide your rocks? 


Firstly, you need to decide on the key players. Too many chefs spoil the broth, but make sure you have the experts you need involved to share their thoughts. This could be heads of departments, key roles in the business, or volunteers who are excited about pushing things forward. We define our responsibilities in FD Works around roles and make sure that those driving each role forward are involved in the decision around how that will happen.


Once you’ve gathered your team, set up a ‘Going for Gold’ matrix. If you’re working remotely then Miro is a great tool for this (see below). On the Y axis you’ve got the level of value to the business, and on the X axis the amount of effort something will take. This leaves you with 4 squares:


  • Do it now – high value, low effort
  • Do it next – high value, high effort
  • Do it if/when there’s time – low value, low effort
  • Don’t do it – low value, high effort

Challenge everyone to put forward ideas that they think are important. Big, small, wacky, obvious – all of them. Once you’ve brain dumped every idea that comes to mind, then you can start working through them as a team to place them on the matrix. 


This will provide you with some clarity. It’s likely that there will be some obvious ‘do it now’ ideas and some that fall into the other categories. Set your limit (3-7) and choose the ideas that you are going to focus on for the next 90 days. 

Don’t lose your other ideas. Keep a record of all the ideas presented - even the ones that fall under ‘don’t do it’. You never know when they might come in handy or serve as a reminder so you don’t repeat conversations of no value.

Once you’ve got your rocks…


The work is just starting. Now it’s time to make sure that your team has everything they need to achieve them. It’s cliche and overused for a reason – SMART goals. Ensuring that you make every goal SMART will provide some much needed clarity, on how it’s going to happen and whether it was a success. Without this information from the start, it’s easy to go back to that overwhelming state of confusion. 


In our experience, the most important thing to set out at this point is a good idea of ‘version 1’. Once you understand what ‘done’ looks like, you have a clear point to work towards over the next 90 days which will maintain momentum. Too often in business, the pursuit of perfection stands in the way of progress, so allow your version 1 to be better than version none and enable your team to get there. 



Reviewing progress


Once you’ve set your rocks and you’ve made some progress, of course it’s vital to review and reassess. Every 90 days you can go back to your ‘going for gold’ matrix and start from scratch. Some projects may run over, but it’s important to see some progress on them during this time. If this hasn’t happened, then question why. Getting your team together to have these conversations will allow different perspectives to emerge and new solutions may be presented. 


The key behind 90 day rocks is clarity. Communication throughout the entire team about the direction of the business will encourage a continuous focus of progress and progression and result in growth you’ve never seen before. 

Want to reach your potential?

FD Works can help you achieve your goals.

Contact us today