I Love WIG’s — Wildly Important Goals

By Scot Herrick | Job Performance

Apr 01

I love WIG’s — Wildly Important Goals. You should too.

Several years ago, I took The 4 Disciplines of Execution course from FranklinCovey. The course was mostly about setting up the foundation, through goals, of excellent execution. The course covered how to build goals, measurement systems, and how to determine an objective’s importance. It’s a good course.

But what fascinated me were WIG’s.

Here’s the underlying premise: in their work, people can only concentrate on 2-3 big goals over a long period of time. A period of time such as a year — the time frame for an annual review. Any more goals than that become a distraction.

Wildly Important Goals are simply defined: if we don’t do X goal, we will fail.

That’s it.

It’s wildly important because if we don’t do it, we will fail.

WIG’s Drive Employee Engagement

When your sole work role is to complete one or two Wildly Important Goals, your attitude toward work changes in a lot of ways:

  • When you agreed to this important goal, you realized it was an important goal. The filtering process helps drive this home, but wouldn’t you work a lot differently if you knew the work was important and not just management saying it was important?
  • You have time to focus. Focus affects your performance like nothing else. Being able to focus on 1-2 goals for the year clearly eliminates the chattering noise looking for attention.
  • If you won’t accomplish the goal, we will fail. Um, we’re really counting on you — and so is your team. If you don’t do it, we’ll fail. Changes your perspective, doesn’t it?
  • A wildly important goal will get attention, resources, and roadblocks removed so as to achieve the goal. Because it’s wildly important.

I had the opportunity as a manager to implement Wildly Important Goals for one review period with my group. initially, it was a little hard to determine what was wildly important — compared to just important (the enemy of “great” is “good”) — but once we did and got moving on the goals, some great things happened:

  • Everyone in the group knew their role on the team.
  • Everyone knew their goal was important to the team.
  • Because it was wildly important, each team member had no issues coming to me or other members of the team to figure out how to get something done.
  • Creativity shot up over the work being done because each person was both constrained by the goal and could focus their time on the goal instead of the latest and loudest.
  • Aggressive goals were knocked out of the ball park. And I thought they were hard goals.

Wildly Important Goals won’t work in every environment, something that I’ll write about next. But what fun it was to have a group of people heavily engaged in their goals, knowing it was critical to the team, and performing well.

What’s Wildly Important in your life that needs to be done?



About the Author

Scot Herrick is the author of “I’ve Landed My Dream Job–Now What???” and owner of Cube Rules, LLC. Scot has a long history of management and individual contribution in multiple Fortune 100 corporations.