The Simplest Way to Break Down the Work Ahead

Setting goals as a team can be daunting, but using a simple template to break down the work will help the team achieve what they set out to do. Any goal or initiative can feel more attainable when the team can draft next steps in two day, two weeks, and two months.

Many teams struggle with setting goals: should you try to amend an existing process, come up with a new one from scratch, or avoid process altogether? When we work with teams, we typically suggest teams break down the work for each goal. The objective is to learn within one to two months whether the goal is worth pursuing, and/or a permanent priority among the team.

2 Days, 2 Weeks, 2 Months

  1. Compile goals. Gather your team together for 60 minutes and identify three to ten key goals or projects that they are currently working on, or that they think they should be working on.
  2. Gather rapid feedback. Allow the team to react to the key goals. Are there any missing? Can any be condensed or combined?
  3. Assign owners. As soon as the team has locked down key goals, ask each member to take ownership of one. Note that the goal’s owner does not need to complete the initiative all on their own, but they are responsible for pushing the work forward. Goals should have a maximum of two owners. If a goal is struggling to gain even one owner, ask the team if it’s a true priority.
  4. Break down the goal. Prompt the owners to create action items for each key goal: what needs to be done in two days, two weeks, and two months to complete the goal? Allow owners to brainstorm actions.
  5. Reflect and share. Following the rapid brainstorm, ask the owners to present their goal templates to the team. This is a good opportunity for owners to share what they need from their team members and for the team to share early feedback. Are the milestones ambitious but attainable?
  6. Check in. Following this meeting, the team lead should schedule check-ins with each goal owner at two day, two week, and two month markers. At the end of two months, the team should regroup to adjust and evolve the goals.
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