Recently I came across a nice little tool called the QPM or Quarterly Priority Management. It is essentially a simple table that can be used to effectively manage progress against your top five strategic objectives.
The QPM tool itself comes from Kraig Kramers in his book CEO Tools: The Nuts-N-Bolts for Every Manager’s Success (Book & CD) although it is not a unique idea. I have also seen very similar tools from Les Hewitt in The Power of Focus Tenth Anniversary Edition: How to Hit Your Business, Personal and Financial Targets with Absolute Confidence and Certainty (7 Day Focus) and Bill Hybels and his book Axiom: Powerful Leadership Proverbs (6 by 6 concept – Axiom 16). However, the QPM tool is uniquely focused on monitoring your top five strategic objectives and the progress against those objectives each quarter. The following table is an example of this.
|Current Priority: Quarter Ending dd-mmm-yy
|Results Last Quarter
|New Priority: Quarter Ending dd-mmm-yy
|Rollout marketing program for product X
|Complete patent application process for product Y
|Initiate recruitment program at local universities for new graduate hires
Essentially, your business records its top five strategic objectives for the quarter in the “Current Priority” column. At the end of the quarter, record your progress against these objectives in the “Results Last Quarter” column. If the objective has not been met then it can carry forward into the “New Priority” column. If it has been met then a new objective can be slotted into the “New Priority” field and the process continues for the next quarter.
I have seen this table used in a way that continually expands to the right each quarter and all the history with past strategic objectives is maintained. A business leadership team can gain a lot of value from the disciplined use of an approach like this. However, it is the process of strategic planning, setting objectives and tracking progress against those objectives that adds the real value. This tool is just a simple way to record this important strategic activity.
As a final note, I have seen this table expanded to include the tactical aspects of achieving the strategic objectives. Although the tactical aspects should be kept separate from the strategic (usually a separate group of people working at the tactical level), there can be value in recording the tactical aspects required to complete an objective and assign owners and timelines to each tactical activity.