6th January 2017

MagenTys is a fast growing company with ambitions to become the number 1 ‘real’ digital transformation company. However, with this fast organic growth in headcount and revenues plus capability building across our Agile, DevOps (Automation) and Atlassian practices, the management team need to be on the ball with day-to-day operations, goals and values of the business as they can quickly become chaotic.

With my role touching on every corner of the business, I need to remain clear and ambitious with my objectives and the companies objectives. Something I have used over the years and have recently adopted within MagenTys is Stretch Objectives.

Given your role is not task driven (although it can still apply), for example, engineering, accounting etc, planning your day, week, month, long-term objectives are hard as the tasks change so often depending on the market needs. Sometimes, this means you do whatever you want whenever you want and keep trying until you get success.

This is referred as “Throwing s**t against the wall and seeing what sticks.”

Too many people rock up in the morning thinking, “what am I going to do today?”. They check their emails for a bit, send a few messages, have a chat about last night’s episode of whatever and then start to randomly work with the hope they do something that others recognise as good.

Often:

  • In management; you find something to moan about or dream up something new
  • In sales; you plough through a CRM or chase outstanding leads
  • In marketing; you update some web content or check Twitter

The bigger issue here is time management. Time is precious so why waste it blah blah blah… This is a whole series of topics to talk about. However, in my opinion, the most effective way to manage yourself is to get into the habit of using Stretch Objectives as a mechanism for planning and measuring everything.

One of the first things I learn when I started my career was Stretch Objectives and using them every day. These objectives, in my opinion, should be achievable and scale in accordance to difficulty or reward:

  • Awesome Stretch 
  • Happy Stretch
  • Acceptable Stretch

They need to be able to be relatively self-controlled and able to be measured so words like ‘response’, ‘start’, ‘some’ and ‘few’ won’t cut it!

For example:

  • In management; This week my stretch objectives are:
  1. Awesome; Negotiate and agree the cost of the new office so we save 15% off the quote
  2. Happy; Have company accounts ready for sharing by Friday
  3. Acceptable; Send out company newsletter by Thursday
  • In sales; Today my stretch objectives are:
  1. Awesome; Close the two outstanding proposals
  2. Happy; Arrange a face-to-face meeting for this week with 2 new clients
  3. Acceptable; Bring in 1 new qualified lead
  • In marketing; This month my stretch objectives are:
  1. Awesome; Have a blog published from the company that has over 1000 views
  2. Happy; Publish 5 company blogs
  3. Acceptable; Create new images and replace all old ones on website

These objectives should be planned in advance (eg. the evening before, for daily objectives) so you know exactly what you’re doing on any given day. They help ensure you are targeting your precious time on the right things as well as help deliver a sense of achievement.

One important thing to note, in my opinion, is that an Awesome does not substitute a Happy or Acceptable. The Acceptable objective is something that has to be done in the timeframe or you’ve failed, the Happy objective is something that should be done in the timeframe given the timeframe goes as planned and the Awesome objective is something you are going to have to put extra effort into achieving as it won’t happen by chance or by being average.

Above I have mentioned how to use them for timeframe based task but they should also be extended to:

  • Calls – what do I want out of this call?
  • Internal and External Meetings – what do I want out of this meeting?
  • Email – what do I want from this communication?

This means being prepared for every email, call, meeting, day, week, month and life!

In a few weeks, I’ll follow up with some tips on how to measure and why it is useful.

About Liam McDowell
Liam tries to keep our clients happy. He is a complete control freak so don't touch his suite of pens, cutlery or dare to sit in his chair!


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