Set Actionable Goals and Actually Reach Them with The Rule of Three


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As a leader, picking your head up out of the day-to-day to set high level goals is critical for moving your business or team forward. However, the act of setting a goal – one that’s attainable, measurable and has a direct impact on your business – can be daunting.

Increasing revenue by XX%, driving customer satisfaction/retention or boosting brand awareness all sound great for business, but outlining the roadmap to achieve those goals can be overwhelming. So, where do you start?

A recent study found that writing down your goals could improve your likelihood of reaching it by 42%. The Rule of Three takes this simple concept and breaks it down even further (in multiples of three, to be exact). The idea behind it is simple: it’s difficult for the brain to remember more than three pieces of information at any one time. I feel that this approach has made goal setting much more approachable and attainable for me..

STOP: Take 2 minutes, write down a business or personal goal and we’ll break it down together using The Rule of Three.

Identify a Goal…then Dig Deep

Identifying what’s important to you and your business is a great place to start, and best achieved through a combination of personal reflection and polling the team. Whether your big picture goal is to ensure business longevity or boost company credibility, we’re able to break these goals down into smaller, more actionable and measurable goals by asking a set of questions.

First, let’s identify a high level goal.

GOAL: In 2023, I want to increase customer loyalty.
Now we can start to work backward by asking a couple of questions.

What does that success look like?
This can look like increased loyalty program sign ups, customer referrals and overall boosted sales.

Where do you want to get to?
Now that we know what success looks like, let’s get specific. XX% increase in loyalty program sign ups, XX% increase in customer referrals and XX% growth in social media engagement.

We have our goal and our metric(s). Now, let’s set a deadline so we can work backward and break this goal into digestible milestones. It’s important to crowdsource expert opinions on your deadline to ensure that you’re giving your team enough time to succeed. For instance, with a goal of increasing customer loyalty, I would reach out to both your sales and marketing teams to level-set.

Use ‘The Rule of Three’ to Break it Down

Let’s break down your 12 month goal in 2023 of increasing customer loyalty. Now, what are three things you can do each month to achieve your annual goal (create a list). To get there, I will need to accomplish three mini-goals per week, and these mini-goals can be something relatively easy in nature like granting access to the internal team to track engagement metrics. Example below.

Project length: 12 months (let’s say 48 weeks)

Goals to achieve per month: 3 (total 36)

Mini-goals to achieve per week: 3 (total 144)


Annual goal: Increase customer loyalty

January goals (3):
-Plan quarterly ad campaigns for customer loyalty program
-Audit existing social media channels for brand consistency
-Set up system for tracking and reporting metrics

Jan week one goals:
-Request calendar of ad campaigns from marketing team
-Assign social media audit
-Share platform access with team for metrics tracking

Jan week two goals:
-Review social media audit and determine next steps for editing copy
-Build out quarterly ad campaigns to include tracking of additional metrics
-Send out deadlines for monthly metrics reporting to team

Tip: Don’t Get in the Weeds

Instead of letting the number of goals overwhelm you, let it empower you by visualizing how many opportunities you have to work toward your goal.

Spend some time at the end of each month shifting around the upcoming goals and milestones you have planned out, but try not to let your goal setting become a job in itself, voiding all productivity. Instead, adopt a mindset where you approach projects by asking yourself, “what are the next three things I need to do?” Soon you’ll find these weekly goals roll up into the monthly ones which lead to the ultimate goal.

If you’re having a tough time compartmentalizing and planning, use a separate, dedicated planner or calendar for goals and milestones.

It’s Time to Get Sh*t Done

The majority of people – including business owners – don’t set goals. So, take this opportunity and use goal setting to set yourself apart from your competition. Keep your big picture goal top of mind and use it as a way to reorient yourself if you start to get off track. Remember, big achievements are made up of a bunch of small actions, and by being intentional about those actions and your time, you’re going to be more successful in achieving your goals, driving your business forward for years to come.

Steve Krull
As CEO/Co-Founder of BFO, Steve excels in ‘unleadership.’ (His word) Steve believes in collaboration and leading by example; remaining vulnerable and open to new ideas, accepting feedback…and doing good things. Steve is a fun loving, optimistic guy who cares a lot about the BFO family and relishes in all of the staff’s opinions and can easily articulate and execute any of these visions. He enjoys reading spy novels, rooting for the Cubs, and having fun with his family including chasing his kids around the house.


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