A couple of years ago working with the CEO of a family company as it struggled for commercial sustainability in an increasingly hostile environment, we came up with a 3 part package by which to judge all the competing priorities that were on the table.

  1. There had to be a measurable  outcome which was going to be hard to achieve, but not out of reach in an 18 month time-frame.
  2. The results when achieved would be meaningful in the context of their competitive and strategic environment, not just financially sensible.
  3. The results needed to be visible, in that way contributing to the internal “momentum” of the business.
  4. Two years on, and the business is going well, and the simple three part test has become a key component in decision making at all levels. The deliberate exception is the strategic discussions with much longer time frames, but even then, the tool often provides a framework that informs the discussion, usually leading to a conclusion about which issues require some resource to develop a quantitative base for future decisions.