Strategic Planning + Results

ML Consulting helps companies and organizations orchestrate change by focusing on results-driven planning and performance.

We help leaders and teams articulate a strategic direction with a focus on performance improvement outcomes, so that they may serve their clients more effectively and prosper in an evolving economy.

ML Consulting assists both public and private sector organizations to develop business practices that make them more efficient, customer-focused, and ultimately sustainable.


Why is outcome-based planning an effective tool to achieve results?

  • Rapid Results Planning results in a 90-Day Action Plan that focuses teams on short-term performance improvement using measurable outcomes as the benchmark for success and learning.The focus is on outcomes related to performance challenges, not activities, as goals
  • Leaders and teams engage in continuous learning towards performance improvement
  • Strategic planning is not an annual event but an ongoing management practice that guides teams toward continuous improvement on shared challenges


Strategic Planning efforts that result in a list of ideas and activities do not help leaders and teams answer the following questions:

  • What do we need to improve?
  • For whom does success matter?
  • How will we know if we’ve been successful?
  • What are the most critical outcomes we want to achieve and how will we measure whether we’ve been successful?

Outcome-based Planning and Rapid Results Planning help teams answer the questions above and establish performance-based outcome goals.  ML Consulting provides technical assistance to groups to establish outcome-based SMART goals and use the plan as a management tool to guide teams to solve problems and improve results within a 90-day time frame.


What are outcome-based SMART Goals?


SMART is an acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Aggressive yet Achievable, Relevant and Time-Bound.  When teams develop outcome-based performance goals, they have a goalpost to help guide their actions and know whether they are improving results from their efforts.


SMART Goals:

  • Specific (At what?  For whom?)
  • Measureable (By how much?)
  • Aggressive yet Achievable (A realistic, stretch goal)
  • Relevant (the goals should pertain directly to the performance challenge you confront)
  • Time-bound (By when?)


Question: What are the performance outcomes you are trying to achieve?


Examples of teamwork without performance outcomes (these describe the intention of an activity or effort):

  • We need to work collaboratively
  • We need to be a team
  • We need to have more training
  • We need to make sure all relevant teams parties participate and eliminate the silos
  • We need to develop a plan and clear roles
  • We need to have better communication and meeting structure


Examples of Team Outcome-based Performance Goals (these represent the result of actions to be taken or the outcomes the team hopes to achieve):

  • Reduce the wait time between the first contact with a client to their first appointment to less than 2 days within the next 60 days.
  • Within 3 months, increase the number of clients who rate our customer service at or above a “good” rating by 10%.
  • Grow the number of members in our Association by 15% so that there is some increase in monthly meeting participation and volunteer recruitment.
  • Increase the percent of students scoring above a 3 on ACT tests from 75% to 85%.


Outcome-based performance goals provide teams with a challenge to improve as the focus of their work together.  Once team members set goals and implement actions, they learn from their experiences as they try to improve performance over time and adapt their action plans and goals as necessary.  Leaders and teams use their plan as a management tool as they engage in a continuous process of outcome-based goal setting, implementation, and evaluation of results.  Achieving performance goals requires commitment to a cycle of performance improvement.


In summary, pursuing performance outcomes and SMART Goals allows leaders and teams to:

  • Track progress against a measurable goal with the belief that “what gets measured, gets managed!”
  • Learn from experience about which efforts yield the best results and which efforts are distractions
  • Encourage motivation and team buy in; clear goals help teams maintain focus on the end result they are trying to achieve



Make Success Measurable, Douglas K. Smith, (John Wiley & Sons, 1999).  ISBN: 0-471-29559-0