How to Champion Team Focus with 90-Day Growth Goals

How to Champion Team Focus with 90-Day Growth Goals

Goals are great! Or are they?

Goals give you focus, they give you direction and ultimately, they stop you from drifting haphazardly between inconsequential projects. Goals are great…when you actually achieve them.

More often than not the internet is filled with goal f**k up memes on Jan 2nd. But why is this?

Well, in 1979 students at the Harvard Business School participated in a goalsetting experiment. From the subset of students that had actually written down their goals they still found that:

  • Over 50% of students had thrown in that proverbial towel after 6-months
  • Only 8% of students had achieved their goal at the 12-month mark

“An 8% success rate!? Yikes. You haven’t exactly sold us on goal setting!”

I’m just being realistic here. Most goals fail. It could come down to a number of things, but we’d argue it’s less about the goals you set and more about how you set out to achieve them.

In this blog you will learn:

  • The 3 quintessential types of goal setters. Which one are you?
  • Why 90-day goals and strategic plans are the new normal
  • How to get your team on board, motivated and aligned for success
  • How to narrow your focus and get started!

Let’s start here. What type of goal setter are you?

The She’ll Be Right-er

Boss Relaxing/Stretching for Awhile

You simply don’t do it! Last years projects roll into the new year and it’s back to business-as-usual. “It’s called hitting the ground running, duh!”

The Panic Procrastinater

Girl in GIF saying "I've been busy proscrastinating all day."

Your ambition is strong but when it comes time to put pen to paper panic sets in. “Ok, today is the day….actually I’ll just deal with my mounting inbox…or I just need to go get some planning supplies from OfficeWorks first…February already? Oh well looks like it can wait until next year!”

The Well-Meaning Overachiever

Men writing goals on a paper and hiding it inside the house

2020 is your year. You’ve set some ambitious 12-month goals and delivered them to your team in an Oscar-worthy motivational speech. You’ve coloured-coded the heck out of your spreadsheets and your office is an explosion of sticky notes and inspiring quotes. But then just two months in something goes wrong. A spanner in the works. A fork in the road. Your whole rigid system malfunctions and collapses in a pile of rubble. KA-BOOM!

No matter who type of goal setter you are, there’s one clear flaw in the process – 12 months is simply too long!

Why 90 Day Goals Are the New Normal

90-day plans solve all of these goalsetting woes!

They are fuss-free enough for the She’ll Be Right-ers, set in the foreseeable future for our Panic Procastionater and are flexible enough to evolve and adapt over time without self-imploding…that ones for you Well-Meaning Overachievers!

Men expressing happy and saying "Perfect"

So, if you’re stuck in a 2020 planning paralysis we say stuff tradition. 90-day goals are the new normal!

Why Your 12-Month Plans and Goals Fail

Goals fail for one of three reasons:

  • The goal is unrealistic or unspecific. You have set yourself up for failure before you even began
  • Your goal is great but your plan sucks
  • You lose motivation…you’re only human!

Now there are many proven success methods for goal setting. Think S.M.A.R.T goals, Management By Objectives (MBO) and Vision Setting to name a few. What we want to focus on are the latter two reasons: planning and motivation.

Read: The Sucess Strategy – The Power of Aligning Your Goals and Values

Many successful enterprises have adopted one of the core elements of Agile: shortened strategic roadmaps. This means moving away from the one, two, five-year plans in favour of super granular 90-day plans.

And it’s obvious why! 12 months is a lonnnnnnng time for any individual, let alone your entire team to stay focused on one goal.

Your business and customer needs will change a lot in the next 12 months. That’s a certainty. Goals set today may not be relevant in 12 months. Your team could change, an exciting new opportunity may land in your lap or you could be an unwilling passenger to a complete industry overhaul.

90-days in comparison is just long enough to excite ambition and yet short enough that your team can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

We’re not trying to shoot down your big dreams. We are simply saying, break them down to incremental projects. This allows you to remain agile in an everchanging industry and move faster without sacrificing the quality of your output.

How to Get Your Team On-Board, Motivated and Aligned for Success

You can lead a horse your team to water, but can’t make it them drink.

Let’s be honest. No goal-setting method will ever be completely ‘human-proof’. If there were such a thing we would all have washboard abs and trillion-dollar business empires by now.

Your plan may be rock-solid but without the buy-in of your team, it’s not going to stand the test of time. Your 90-day plan is essentially only as efficient as your laziest team member!

Google is a great example of the power of buy-in. Google has its own 90-day goal-setting process called OKRs (Objectives and Key Results) that they embraced in their early days with a team of less than 40.

Throughout the years, Founders, Larry & Sergey have attributed 90-day plans to their ability to continuously achieve ‘moonshot goals’ and grow the Alphabet company to close to 100,000 full-time employees

Furthermore, when Jeff Weiner became CEO at LinkedIn he used this framework to lead the company to their first-ever 20 billion dollar IPO. According to Weiner, 90-day goals help to convey to the entire company ‘what really matters’ – And this is exactly what you want to achieve.

Get your team on board by:

  • Giving them ownership – I read a quote the other day that said, “Marketers are no longer the McDonald’s order takers of your marketing department” and I loved it! If you want your team to be excited about your goals and strategy they need to be the ones driving it. It’s not up to you to establish the plan—goal setting is a team sport!
  • Assign roles and responsibilities – Everyone needs a part to play! You may find some goals involve the entire team, others will involve a select few. It’s important that when you break the goal down into actionable steps, each person understands what they are responsible for. This boosts accountability and helps your team feel accomplished at work.
  • Keep it collaborative – Your employees aren’t 007 agents. You don’t give them their mission and send them off on their merry way. 90-day goals NEED collaboration. Consistent collaboration!

How to Narrow Your Focus and Get Started

Now, we all understand the value of goal setting and the 90-day process makes sense. But where do we start?

As a team discuss,

  • What can you achieve in the next 90 days that will have the greatest impact on your future success?
  • What are you priority projects for 2020? Think about the key milestones. Can you break them down into 90-day chunks?
  • Consider your working teams for each goal. Who needs to be involved and what role do they play?
  • What are the very first tasks that need to be completed? Start there and write a cascading list of everything that comes beyond!

Start here: Slowing Down Before You Speed Up – We sound like a broken record but this is the most effective way to discover your low hanging fruit and greatest opportunities for growth!

Remember a goal without a plan is just a wish. As cheesy as it sounds it’s 100% true. In 2020 we want you to think BIG and dream BIG…but plan small and always keep that light at the end of tunnel locked in your sight.

Need some added accountability? You know, the kind that could have achieving results like our challenger from Bearings Express, Tracie?

Take a look at our upcoming 21 Day Recharge Your Marketing Challenge for some “no-nonsense, ‘here’s how you get your marketing sorted’ energy.”

21 day ecommerce challenge poster

Click here to learn more and join the challenge!

If you need help identifying your key business growth opportunities or creating a project roadmap to drive your 90-day goals, reach out to us at

Now go get it you goal setter!

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