The 1-3-5® business planning methodology explained

As businesses grow and expand, they often find that silos emerge as departments begin to focus inwards, consulting with each other less and developing their own ways of working. They begin to track workload and report progress differently, which can become frustrating. As a business leader, it’s important to keep up to date on how all teams are performing and if they are on track to achieve the desired results that will move the company forward in the right direction.

Standardised planning of key strategic objectives across departments can make it so much easier to report on the overall full team performance of the business.

How do you know which teams are achieving their objectives and goals?

How do you give recognition where it’s due?

The 1-3-5® business planning methodology is a very simple, standardised framework used to set and communicate business objectives and goals to maintain a tight focus and effective execution over a specified period of time.

The One

The one in a 1-3-5® refers to one crystal-clear vision of what success looks like over a specific period of time, usually 12 months. At the CEO level, this could be focused on growing the business, expanding the team, increasing market share. This vision should be written as if it has already been achieved and relate to your burning desire, something you feel super excited and passionate about achieving.

The Three

The three in a 1-3-5® refers to the three mission-critical objectives that will enable you to achieve your vision within the dedicated time period. It can be challenging to narrow this down to just three objectives, but it is essential to maintain a laser-sharp focus and avoid other tasks which drain your time. Again these should be written as if they have already been achieved so you can begin to realise how it would feel once you do. An example of an objective would be something like, “We have generated £10 million in export sales this year.”

The Five

The five in a 1-3-5® refers to five action-orientated goals per objective. Each of the mission-critical objectives detailed above should be split out into five goals that will act as stepping stones to indicate progress towards achieving that particular objective. These goals could also be referred to as key results or lead measures. These are capped at 5 per objective to ensure the focus remains tight, and other non-impactful tasks don’t creep in. These goals are vital to measure progress as you execute your 1-3-5® plan. An example of a goal could be “Increase outbound sales calls by 20% each week.”

Having won several awards, this business planning methodology provides an effective way to define and clarify your strategic direction in terms of the vision, objectives and goals for the year ahead. It provides business leaders with a structured way to cascade their strategic priorities across all teams, so everyone gets in sync and remains focused on the most important work required to achieve the business vision.

The 1-3-5® aligns perfectly with the popular goal-setting framework of OKRs (Objectives and Key Results) as the objectives work exactly the same way and the measurable stepping stone goals are essentially the key results.

Remarkable Results

Applying this 1-3-5® business planning methodology has been truly transformational for all of the businesses we work with, helping them clarify their vision and define what success looks like over the next 12 months enabling them to make hugely positive changes. One particular customer reported winning more contracts in six months using Reclaro than the previous 3 years. Another business launched a new strategic business unit and then, with some real focus on the right things, saw sales grow by 20% within their specified time period.

It’s not enough to just work hard, it’s more important to work hard on the right things to achieve great results faster, and that’s exactly what you’ll get by building and then cascading 1-3-5® in your business.

For more information, check out our How it works page. We have also created a suite of 1-3-5® templates for the Senior Leadership Team, which are perfect for getting you started on your journey with 1-3-5® and OKRs, and the best part is that they are free and available for download.

Posted by Pete Wilkinson

Last updated: 15 October 2021

Live masterclass - Using OKRs to align remote teams and grow your business faster

Tuesday 7 December, 8:30 am GMT

Register now

Free Action eBook

Want some super quick actions for you to be more productive?

free action book Get your free action book

Download our 8 free OKR Templates and Examples

Everything you need to get started and implement OKRs in your business.

document icon
Download now

Get started with Reclaro®

Want to dramatically improve business performance, align your teams and focus on what matters most to achieve results? Our award-winning 1-3-5® OKR software and expertise can help.

Book a demo now