Objectives define the annual goals of a company, but annual measures are too long. The process becomes routine and tedious. Action Plans motivate the staff to think of what and how we must work to achieve the Objectives. But they can be anywhere from three months to a full year in duration and define the work effort, not the results. Benchmarking is the key to successful planning IF
1) each benchmark is measurable,
2) each benchmark is achievable in a one month period, and
3) each benchmark is treated like a one month project with a beginning and an endpoint.
Most Benchmarks that fail are due to un- or mis-implemented Action Plans. A shockingly high number of benchmarks are achieved when logical, cogent Action Plans are actually implemented. If those Benchmarks are managed like a project with weekly interim results tracked by a project team, it remains a vivid, immediate objective of the group.
Approach each Benchmark enthusiastically. If you can’t be enthusiastic, you’re the wrong person to do the project. No Benchmark is insignificant if the result is the achievement of your primary business objective. Approach every Action Plan and Benchmark with a “Let’s try it and see what happens” attitude. Everything is a game. Our goal is to win more than we lose. No Benchmark project is fatal. Refine as you learn. Make mistakes – it’s the only path to success. Want to succeed more often? Try more things and fail more often. Celebrate Benchmark successes locally. It helps keep the Plan interesting and exciting.