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Limit yourself to the power of 3 goals

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Say you have seven direct-reports. Each one signs on to meet three important, attainable goals every quarter. If they hit their targets, four quarters will produce 84 major achievements.

Think of that. If your people achieve 84 great things in one year, you’ll have a giant year.

Warning: You’ll be tempted to let one person add a fourth goal. Don’t succumb to temptation.

Explain that you don’t want anything to detract from the top three goals, and that if those goals are met, you’ll both consider putting the person’s fourth goal in the top three next quarter.

To keep people focused, make sure every action contributes to attaining one of each person’s three goals. If a goal remains unmet after one quarter, take a smaller piece of it for the next quarter and revise your approach.

—Adapted from “84 Great Things,” John Hamm, Harvard Business Review.

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