Translating goals into plans: Two steps forward, one step back

Guys, we got a little ahead of ourselves already in our self examination in our consulting practice,??L.A.B. When we first took a look under the hood of the business at Lime Red, it was clear that we had solid??goals and metrics for the year. But what wasnt clear was how do we go about aligning them so we know where to begin, what tasks are required, who owns them and, and how to execute. More importantly, how would we apply our social impact principles as an agile business?

Our initial intent was to simply develop a survey to send out to our team members, clients, and friends to capture their thoughts on our goals and business. Your know, get a baseline on what everybody thinks of us. Branding, right? Thats familiar, traditional, and safe in our typical research-based process.

But once I sat in front of my computer to begin drafting framing questions for the survey, it didnt feel right. trust me, I tried to make it work a la Tim Gunn, but the survey wasnt happening. It wasnt the place to start.

We had to take a step back and figure out how to apply our own guiding Agile principles to solving this problem:

  1. Define the measurable goals, check! I think…
  2. Allow everyone to own the problem, mmm…rrrr…
  3. Take small steps with visible impact, ok, not quite there yet…
  4. Validate with people involved ok, I think I need to move away from my desk
  5. Measure the success, not quite there yet…
  6. Reflect, adjust, iterate

To solve this, we looked to our own Agile process for design and web development and did a little research about what other methods businesses are using to accomplish their goals.


Then things started clicking: We needed to better understand and define??our goals, so we developed a new mapping method similar to our story mapping activity in agile development. This established a framework, or a pattern, through which we could bring in the whole team.

We took what we already had and we iterated. Agile! Go us!

We realized that we cant tackle all the goals at the same time, so we first mapped them out to find dependencies and relationships.

Rather than starting with four goals for our operating goals, we narrowed it down to one simple goal. Based on what we knew of our current data and conditions, we further iterated our How we will know items into two distinct success factors:

Possible Success Factors – Change within our company we would like to see happen.

Critical Success Factors – Specific and actionable things that need to happen

We then took these ideas to the rest of the team to gain more insight and allow them to participate in shaping how we go about addressing this goal, define what the success factors are, and prepare us in setting up the necessary conditions. Most importantly, its an approach to get everyone involved.

Here’s how we redescribed and redefined one of the goals:
















Were almost there, but not quite. We still need to figure out how to break these down further so that there are more defined tactics to prioritize, measure, and initiate. We need to define the Necessary Conditions, which are detailed tasks assigned to people More about this in our next post, so stay tuned!

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