Goal Setting: A Successful Move Towards a Holacratic Organization

February 21, 2015 by Abhinav Sahai

“Mind blowing” is what Suma replied with when I said, “I loved the energy today” after the Goals discussion at Niswey today. That’s how we felt after an enthralling five hour discussion.

It was our annual goals discussion activity and all of us had to come up with things that we would want to achieve in the next 12-18 (or more) months.

Last year when we had this discussion, most of us were not clear as to where we want to land up, in life. We had a few things that we wanted to do but how do we see the ‘movie’ ending, we weren’t sure. (Scroll down to the table/template to know more about the ‘movie’.) So the first attempt had got us thinking. It gave us some sense of where we want to be a few years from now, and then eventually got us a direction to move towards. And in the end, it gave us really good results.

People achieved financial success, improved fitness, travel goals, better relationships, new habits and what not. Awesome, isn’t it? It’s actually those results that assured us that our goal setting worked and hence we should continue this practice.

Since we were awaiting a few new people to join us, we had delayed the discussion till February. I must tell you, it was worth the wait!

Since we are mostly discussing personal goals (yes, personal), it has become a very important activity for us as it takes us in the right direction towards becoming a holacratic organization. [Going flat was the first step on that path.]

The nature of an organization is that professional goals are taken care of by default, so we don’t worry about them a lot. What’s important to note is that if personally you are not happy, your professional accomplishments would not mean anything to you. And hence it becomes all the more important to make sure we take care of them, because at the end of the day Niswey is about happy and satisfied people.

While last year was more about helping people think about goals, this year it was about listening in AWE! You had to be there to see the clarity in people’s heads. It was super fun to see the great things an individual can think and want to do.

The only thing that’s same as last year is that the goals are still ambitious, really ambitious!

Quite a few B.H.A.G.s. Now all we have to do is, like last year, achieve them!

Just in case you’re interested in creating your goals, below is a template I found last year.


Timeframe Explanation Drake (Rapper/Artist) Example Example (Some company) Me (fill this in)
After you are gone Whether you call it your mission or purpose, great strategies begin with an idea of what the end should be long after you are gone. This is an outcome you will not achieve in your lifetime but it is the reason you get up and push ahead every day. To make genre-cracking music that connects emotionally with my audience. To help our clients discover and find the courage to pursue “fourth options,” or strategic choices others overlook.  
The end Imagine the scene of your movie just before the credits appear. This is a picture (or vision) of what you will achieve or what you will become in the long-term, usually 3 to 10 years from now. Define 1 to 3 metrics, and their values, that will tell you that you have achieved your long-term vision. You can call these BHAGs (Hairy AudaciousGoals). By Dec 31, 2016: To be known as one of the greatest musical artists in the world; to be indefinable, with music that crosses genres; to have multiple houses and a private jet. Metrics:
Liquid assets $250M+
Records sold: XM
By Dec. 31, 2016: To be a thriving strategic innovation firm that does important work and is recognized as a leader in the field; a foundation that helps train children to find innovative strategies to solve problems that matter.
Annual revenue = $XM+
Fortune 500 clients = Y+
Students impacted = Z thousand+
The next chapter (12-18 months) The end may be too far off to generate tension, excitement, or energy, so define how you want this next chapter to close. What must you achieve in the next 12 to 18 months to know you are on the path and by what metrics you will judge that the plot is unfolding as you desire? By Dec. 31, 2014: To have released one of the biggest albums of the year, the music you listen to on the beach that summer.
Liquid assets $75M+
Records sold YM+
Stadiums filled: 15
By Dec. 31, 2014: Formed firm, profitable and growing, created foundation.
Annual revenue = $X’M+
Fortune 500 clients = Y’+
Donated to children innovation = Z’ thousand+
Plot actions (12-18 months) Just as a chapter, to reach its close, must show certain actions completely, you must take key actions to reach your desired chapter close. Being clear on what these are allows you to quickly decide what matters and what does not. If you find yourself investing time in something that does not matter, you can stop doing it immediately, and focus on what is necessary. What 3 to 5 actions (or strategic priorities) will you focus on continuously for the next 12 to 18 months to reach this chapter’s conclusion? Release best album yet
Continue improving music and performance
Launch successful tour
Build sales force
Build IP
Grow “Outthinker” community
Develop consultants
The first scene (the next 3 months) Finally, knowing how your next chapter will unfold, you will see clearly what you must do right now to get things rolling. What 1 to 5 key metrics will you focus on in the next three months (and who is responsible)? Songs recorded that I think are awesome = 15 (me)
Total hours practiced = 120 (me)
Tour venues booked = 10 (agent)
Client meetings = 75+ (Chairman)
Proposals submitted = 25+ (Jonathan)
Clients served above $X thousand in value = 10+ (me)
Revenue booked = $X thousand+
(the whole team)