Must Wins

Have you started working on your 2015 plans for your organization? If not, it’s probably time. Where should you begin? One approach is to determine what’s most critical for your organization to accomplish in the coming years.

I attended a meeting recently in which someone shared the “Must Wins” for their department. After listening for a few minutes, I realized, he was describing what I’ve historically called organizational priorities. His language is far better than mine. To describe something as a “Must Win” gives it importance and urgency.
Here’s a working definition of a “Must Win…”
A statement of strategic intent critical to the health and future success of your organization; substantive enough to require 12 – 60 months of focused attention and deserving of disproportionate time, energy and financial support.
A “Must Win” is not a tactic or a program, nor is it a goal – although there should be metrics established to monitor your progress. It is about closing gaps or seizing opportunities to fundamentally strengthen your organization.
Here are some examples:

We must improve our retention among hourly team members.

We must meet our quality requirements more consistently.

We must establish a successful west coast presence.

We must create products and services to reach new customers.

We must find new ways to reduce costs across all divisions.

We must increase repeat business from our existing customer base.

We must develop the business acumen of our people.

We must create a leadership culture.

How do you determine what your “Must Wins” should be? That will require a blend of research, hard work, heated debates and a good measure of leadership intuition.
Here are a few questions that may help…

  • If a new leadership team took over our organization today, what are the first three things they would do?
  • If this new leadership team were creating their 3-year plan, what would they deem most critical?
  • If you could eliminate one competitive threat over the next 36 months, what would we choose?
  • What could you do to create significant competitive advantage?
  • Where are we falling behind our competitors?
  • If you were not worried about the difficulty involved, what is the one strategic priority you would certainly embrace?
  • What is the most significant gap you need to address over the next 36 months in your organization?
  • What should you do if we want to fundamentally strengthen your organization for the next decade?
  • If you could only have one strategic initiative for the next 5 years, what would you choose? (You’re certainly not limited to one, but the thought you might be, should force some thoughtful conversations.)

These, and other questions like them, should always be on our mind. Not only are leaders the architects of the future, we set the strategic direction for our organizations. A successful organization cannot do everything – "Must Wins" help us know what we must do.
The future begins today![GLS_Shield]


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