The Role You Play in Business Plan Success

Business-Plan-Blog-HeaderWe’ve rolled out our business plan. Now what?

It’s important for every member of our DOT team to understand they have a role in the success of our business plan and learn how to use the plan to guide the work they do. Think of our business plan as a framework. It lays out our destination and landmarks along the way that keep us moving in the right direction. However, the path to get us to our destination has not been pre-determined. We all have the flexibility to choose the path we want to take to work towards our destination, using the landmarks as our guides. In this month’s communication on the business plan, we will help you better understand the landmarks that have already been determined and the role you play in determining our path to success, focuing on high-priority actions that help make progress along our journey.


Landmarks laid out in the business plan 2021-Business-Plan-Infographic

The Executive Leadership Team has determined high-level landmarks in the form of a 10-Year Target, 5-Year Priority Goals, and One-Year Objectives that guide us as an agency. As a business unit, you do not need to recreate these landmarks. Your job is to determine the path we take to reach each of those landmarks. To do this, each business unit will work on setting and achieving what we call rocks.


Rocks – the high-priority actions that move us along our journey

“Rock” may be new term, but don’t get hung up on the terminology. Simply put, rocks are the highest priority actions each business unit needs to work on in the next 90 days. They are the method we will use to forge a path that helps us make incremental progress towards the landmarks in our business plan.

Each quarter the Executive Leadership Team will set high-level quarterly rocks for the agency to help us work towards accomplishing our One-Year Objectives. Those One-Year Objectives help us achieve our Five-Year Priority Goals which help us get to our final destination, our 10-year Target. Check out the agency’s second quarter rocks and how each rock relates to our business plan landmarks.

In turn, each Division will set their own rocks for their division that will work to help us reach either agency-level rocks, One-Year Objectives or Five-Year Priority Goals set forth in the business plan.

Likewise, each business unit should work to set their own rocks in areas that they have control over that work to help accomplish their divisional rocks or agency-level rocks, One-Year Objectives or Five-Year Priority Goals in the business plan.  

These actions sewn together help us forge a path together that will help move our agency forward.


How do business units set their own rocks?

Now that we have a sense of the journey we are on, let’s take a step-by-step approach to help you set your own business unit level rocks that you will accomplish in the next 90 days. Ideally, business units should have 4-10 rocks to strive towards each quarter.

Step 1 - Start by reviewing your division’s quarterly rocks.  Can your group support those actions in direct or indirect ways?  If so, set a rock or rocks to support your division’s rocks.

Step 2 - Next, examine the agency’s quarterly rocks.  Again, are there quarterly actions your group can take to support the agency’s rocks?  If so, set a rock or rocks to support the agency’s rocks.

Step 3 - Then examine the agency’s 1-year objectives.  Ask how your group can proactively work toward the agency’s objectives for the year and break your actions down into quarterly steps. Those steps become a rock or rocks for each quarter.

Step 4 - Finally, examine the agency’s 5-year goals and ask how your group can help achieve them. Again, break down your actions into quarterly steps which become your rocks.

It’s important to recognize that not all of these landmarks apply to every business unit. That’s okay! You are not expected to have a rock that corresponds with each landmark. Focus on the areas in which your business unit can be effective.


Accountability is the key to success

An important aspect of making sure we are successful in our journey is holding us all accountable for the work we are doing. That means we must track our progress along the way. After setting your business unit rocks, determine a rhythm for tracking their progress. We suggest that leaders check in with their teams about every two weeks to see how work on your business unit rocks is progressing.

At the end of 90 days, evaluate your success and set new rocks for the next 90 days or decide if some should be carried over from the previous quarter to the next quarter. 

The Executive Leadership Team is holding themselves accountable by checking the progress on agency-level rocks during their bi-weekly meetings to determine if they are on-track, off-track, or completed. See for yourself how things are progressing by visiting the DOT’s Business Plan webpage.  Soon division-level rocks will be added to that page so that everyone can monitor their progress as well.


What happens if we don’t accomplish a rock?

We know that not all rocks will be accomplished in 90 days. When this happens, and it will, take the time to re-evaluate the individual rock. Ask yourself or the team:

Is it something that we can accomplish next quarter? If so, move it to a rock next quarter.

Is it something that is important to accomplish but too complicated to accomplish in a 90-day period? Keep it on your radar but consider it a larger item to work towards. Break up the task into smaller steps which become rocks each quarter.  

As you dug into it, did you question whether it should move forward? That’s okay too. Re-evaluate whether it should be done at all by asking yourself how it fits into the agency’s goals or objectives or higher-level rocks. Will the end result make the resources poured into that rock worthwhile? Sometimes we begin work with good intentions, but as we discover more, we determine it’s not in our best interest to move forward. Part of being successful is recognizing when things aren’t working and knowing when to cut your ties. Just because you set something as a rock does not mean you need to carry it to the finish line if it doesn’t make sense to do so.


As we move forward on our journey, we intend to regularly update you on the progress we are making together and tell you about work business units are doing related to the business plan. Be on the lookout for these communications by watching for business plan graphic like the one at the top of this post.

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