The Data Supporting Laser-Focused Goals

SMART Goals principle

I’ve always loved this quote by Jim Collins, “If you have more than 3 priorities then you don’t have any.”

For today’s small business owners, it’s more important than ever. How many hats do you wear? Too often the day-to-day of small business gets in the way of big strategic moves. I bet you could use a little more simplicity. The Whale Hunters Process™ is all about defined goals, roles, and outcomes. We teach companies how to create a clear plan for business development. Why is clarity so important?

I’m always a fan of finding data supporting simple business strategies. According to a recent survey by Booz & Co., you and your five hats are not alone. Many executives need to adhere to the no-more-than-three-priorities rule. Here are some of the results from the 1,800 executives who completed the Coherence Profiler (to take it yourself, click here):

  • Half of the executives (50%) consider setting a clear and differentiating strategy a significant challenge.
  • In fact, most executives (52%) do not feel their company’s strategy will lead to success. Only 21% say their company has a right to win in all the markets in which it competes.
  • Most executives (81%) say growth initiatives lead to waste, at least some of the time.
  • The vast majority of executives (82%) say functional departments in their companies get competing demands from different business units.

Whoa! That sounds stressful to me! If you’re squirming in your chair, it probably sounds familiar to you. For the rest of the results, read on.  It’s important to note the perspectives on growth and alignment of internal resources towards corporate goals. We understand these hurdles and teach companies how to clearly articulate goals, invest the whole company in them, and align all functional teams. As the Booz & Co. report shows above, fewer goals has the potential to drive higher revenue growth.

A company too busy to bring on new clients or develop a laser-focused business development strategy is doomed to failure. For more on the symptoms of unfocused, stretched-too-thin organizations, read The Village is TOO Busy for Whales.

How many goals does your company have for 2011? More than 3?


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  1. Lindsay,
    Thank you for sharing this report. I was particularly struck by the point that ‘Most executives (81%) say growth initiatives lead to waste, at least some of the time.’ I wonder if that is because the growth intiatives are created at the C-level and there is little input from the employees so there is no buy-in to the inititiaves. Or if there are just too many intiatives created and it is hard to focus on key initiatives.