Success in 2023 Starts With a Clear Plan 

By Linda Ratner RN MBA 

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I don’t know about you, but I’m excited about 2023. The past two years have been rough on us in so many ways. Every month was an exciting, nerve-wracking mystery, like walking on a frozen lake and not knowing if the ice would give out from under us. We saw significant changes, some of which will be with us for the long haul. While 2023 will have its challenges, at least we’ll know what we’re up against and not be in constant fear for our lives or those of our loved ones.  

So, it’s time to turn the page and start a new chapter with a clear plan for a successful 2023. To begin this journey, I will walk you through the method I use with my clients and their leadership teams, who, despite the significant obstacles faced these past two years, saw growth, progress, and success.  

Let’s begin by creating a long-term plan that involves setting and achieving business goals essential to success. This time-tested process shows how to set and achieve business goals in 5 simple steps culminating with a clear plan of action for this year.  

The first step is to define your company’s Big Hairy Audacious Goal. A big hairy audacious goal (BHAG) is a powerful, compelling, and inspiring long-term goal often used in business to focus and energize an organization and give employees and shareholders something exciting to strive for. The term was popularized in the best-selling book Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies by Jim Collins and Jerry Porras. A BHAG can also help your company attract investors and customers. It should be ambitious, forward-thinking, and guide decision-making. 

To define your BHAG, ask: 

  • What do you want your business to achieve?  
  • What can you be the best at? 
  • What are you deeply passionate about? 
  • What kind of impact do you want to make?  

Answering these questions will help you develop a clear vision for your business. Here are some examples of BHAGs: 

  • Become the most recognized & respected consumer brand in the world (Starbucks)  
  • Every book, ever printed in any language, all available in less than 60 seconds (Amazon)  
  • A computer on every desk in every home (Microsoft) 
  • Land a man on the moon and return him safely to Earth (1960s America) 
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Next, it’s time to create mid-range goals and remember to include revenue and profit goals. Something 3-5 years out that aligns and supports your chosen BHAG. Come up with at most ten goals that are achievable and realistic but vivid. So vivid that others can see them in their mind’s eye. A great book on this subject is C Herold’s book Vivid Vision

We are in the final stretch! Now that you have a road map for the next 3-5 years. It’s time to get granular and develop annual goals that will support your 3-year goals. What do you and your team need to accomplish now so that your mid-range goals come to fruition? Be realistic and come up with at most ten goals because you still have the whirlwind (your regular job) to contend with.  

To stay focused and make progress towards annual goal completion, take the annual goals and create 90-day (13-week) business priorities called Rocks. These Rocks will become your quarterly action plan and allow you to stay on track and progress toward your goals. The objective is to have 1-2 Rocks per leader each quarter that support completing your annual goals. Additionally, each Rock is broken down into milestones. These are weekly steps tied to dates that allow you to complete the chosen Rocks. At the end of the quarter, it’s time to reset the Rocks and Milestones based on your company’s annual goals.  

It’s important to stay flexible throughout this process as things change. 

The market changes, your business changes, and your goals may change. Be flexible and willing to adjust your plans as needed but always keep your eye on the ball by tracking progress. Regularly check your progress to see how you’re doing and make tweaks as needed.  

As you achieve your goals, take time to celebrate your successes. Celebrating will help you stay motivated and focused on your goals. 

Setting long-range business goals is an integral part of running a successful business. By following these tips, you can set achievable goals that align with your business’s mission and values.  

If you want a cheat sheet to help you with this process, please email me at 

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