The Power of 3 in Goal Setting

What is the expected outcome?   What is your goal?   What is your target?

How will you measure this?

Do these sound familiar? I have always succumbed to the philosophy that you should never have one single goal in mind. I was taught to set three goals. The use of three enables you to establish a simple process of the minimum, satisfactory and outstanding levels. Having clear definitions of these three allows a better visual method for improvement.

You can think about a supply chain and how stock is managed. You often have a red, yellow, green levels of stock. Red, of course, signifies a warning and immediate action needed to be taken. Yellow tells you that it is time to reorder. Green signifies that you have the correct stock on hand.

Change Management

Goals act in much the same way. If you fall below the minimum, action has to be accelerated to improve the situation quickly. More resources, time and even money may have to be used. If things are moving along satisfactorily towards the ultimate goal, we can see that are changes are working. We may have stumbling blocks in reference to those magic three components of resources, time, money. However, we can adjust as our progress is moving upwards. If we reach our goal quickly or use little resources, time and money we may consider our goal to easily obtained. It is similar to the supply chain. If we always operate in the green, we are carrying too much inventory.

The three levels do more than that. They allow us to think in more incremental and iterative steps. It stops us thinking of plans, or changes in processes that force us to take unnecessary chances. Yes, it is very incremental, but this is the best way to enact changes and sustainability in a business. The power of three focuses the organization on the critical information and leading indicators that people can manage and screens out the unnecessary.

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