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Clarifying your transformation priorities using the Rule of 3

Do you find it challenging to break your transformation down into concrete actions for your teams and employees? Here is a simple tool that can help.   

The success of your business transformation depends on the involvement and support of your managers and employees. They need to understand, on a day-to-day basis, how they can contribute to the transformation in a concrete way. This will help them set the priorities for their work, with respect to both the transformation and operations.   

Apply the Rule of 3 to gain a better grasp what needs to be done  

The Rule of 3 is a way to keep the transformation priorities clear in the minds of your managers and employees. It lets you define what needs to be done in the very short term to achieve your longer-term vision. Your managers and their teams will be better equipped to identify priority actions and understand how they can contribute. 

The Rule of 3 is this:   

  • THREE strategic goals (over three years)   
  • THREE key objectives for the current year 
  • THREE priority actions (on a three-month horizon)   

Three strategic goals to break down the transformation   

Once you have established your vision for the transformation, break it down into three strategic goals. Think of these as broad projects that group together your transformation intentions. For example:   

  • Increase market share outside Quebec   
  • Develop talent for the industry of tomorrow   
  • Improve the efficiency of manufacturing processes  

These goals constitute the pillars of your transformation for a three-year outlook. After all, Rome wasn’t built in a day! 

Three key objectives to get your teams aligned behind your priorities for the year   

The next step is to break down each strategic goal into key objectives that will become the transformation priorities for the coming year. Like the strategic goals, the key objectives should be shared across the entire organization. Ideally, only one or two key objectives are identified for each goal. For example:   

For the Improve the efficiency of manufacturing processes goal, the three key objectives for the year might be:   

  • Document the systems and processes to be upgraded  
  • Incorporate Lean practices into business processes  
  • Select a solution and an integrator to transform the systems 

Three priority actions to define the work to be done in the next three months   

For each key objective, determine two or three priority actions. The idea is to have one person in each department of the organization be responsible for at least one priority action for the quarter. For example:  

For the Select a solution and integrator to transform the systems objective, three priority actions might be:

  • Create a team with responsibility for the objective  
  • Scope the processes and systems to be reviewed  
  • Prepare a Request for Proposals  

Breaking it down this way makes the vision much more concrete and accessible. Why always three? Because most people can’t remember a list of more than three items. Sticking to three keeps teams from spreading themselves too thin and trying to accomplish too much; it focuses everyone’s efforts.   

Now that you have defined the goals and the medium-term and immediate priorities, you are ready to take action. Check out our earlier blog article on tips and tricks for organizing your transformation.     

Joel Martimbeault

Director and Senior Consultant

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