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Friday 08 November 2019
by Angela Hankey

"What is OGSM? - Part 2" by Chris Perkins of One Objective

Write a weekly blog. That’s what it says on my OSGM for my business. Its one of the action points that comes out of the Strategy ‘Create ongoing digital content to communicate with existing and potential clients’. Its written down, its part of the plan, but writing a weekly blog can be more difficult than you think, with all the other things going on. To be fair, I did have a week on holiday, which involved swinging on a trapeze. Another box ticked!

So back to my weekly blog. Last time, I left off I had talked about OGSM, where I learnt about it, where I had used it, without actually explaining what OGSM was all about. So that’s where I’ll start…

OGSM is a management model based on ‘Management by Objectives’ introduced by Peter Drucker about 60 years ago. Essentially, it links the goals of every employee to the goals of the wider organisation. Everyone sets goals together and are more motivated to achieve them, ultimately achieving the organisational objectives. One of the first high profile users was NASA in the 1960’s when they wanted to put a man on the moon (that was their ‘One Objective’) and has been used since by many global corporations as their central tool for strategic planning.

As someone asked me in a meeting recently, OGSM does not stand for ‘Oh God Save Me’. It is not an emergency break glass solution, not something that has to be used when something has gone wrong. It is a great way of defining and illustrating a business strategy for any successful business and managing that strategy on an ongoing basis.

Put very simply, OGSM stands for the four component parts of the model – OBJECTIVE, GOALS, STRATEGIES and MEASURES. These four definitions link together to form an effective strategic plan….

The OBJECTIVE is the organisations qualitative target. It is where you want to be at the end of a period of time, and provides the direction for your plan. There is just ONE OBJECTIVE (familiar!!) and it needs to be ambitious but achievable, emotionally appealing and easily understandable to all. Most important, it is the statement that every person in your organisation should remember, understand and aspire to. It is the Blackpool in your stick of rock.

Next we have GOALS, which are measurable and used to quantify the OBJECTIVE. The GOALS are the identifiable points on the horizon that you need to reach to achieve your OBJECTIVE. They need to be Specific, Measurable and Achievable. They may relate to Revenue, Profitability, Costs, customer retention, employee retention, sales conversion – almost anything. The GOALS transform the OBJECTIVE from a aspirational statement of intent to an actual destination that everyone understands.

Once we have defined the OBJECTIVES and GOALS, we can create the STRATEGIES – these are the roads that you choose to success. Specific choices about how you deploy your employees, time and money, bearing in mind that all of these are finite. This list of STRATEGIES could be as long as your arm but if you don’t have the resource to fulfil them, then they are never going to happen. This is where you are making choices about how you are going to achieve your OBJECTIVE.

Finally, there are MEASURES. So many businesses put activity into place, but don’t measure its success (or otherwise). Beavering away without actually knowing whether the activity is working. In OGSM, we define the measures at the start. They are specifically linked to the GOALS, rather than figures we use in a presentation to make it look like its working! (We’ve all done it!)

So there you have it – OGSM, boiled down into four paragraphs. Done properly, all four elements sit on a single page of A4. Your whole destination and how you are going to get there, written on a single piece of paper. The end of 65-page strategy documents and PowerPoint presentations. Just a single piece of paper that the entire business understands and is agreed on.

When I first discovered this, it was like a light bulb being switched on. I am a visual person, I like to see things written down in front of me, not overly complicated, but logical and easy to understand. It allows me to draw connections between all the things that go in a business and what we are all trying to achieve.

Once the OGSM has been written for the whole business, it becomes hierarchical. From that company OGSM, you can create one for each business unit or department, and from that one for each individual within a team. The OGSM for the individual becomes a job description and an appraisal document all in one.

I have normally focused on Sales and Marketing Objectives due to the nature of my roles so far, but they can just as easily be written for Operational or HR needs within a business. They can be used for non-business organisations, short term projects…they can even be used to create a ‘life plan’, which is kind of why I am writing this now!

I hope that explains things. Its simple really, certainly not rocket science, although that’s what NASA used it for in the 1960’s!!

If you’ve read this and would like to find out more about creating an OGSM based strategic business plan for your business, please get in touch.

https://oneobjective.co.uk/