Several months ago I wrote about leading meetings and even provided a template of the meeting agenda I used. I’ve been surprised by how many people have asked me what our “3×3’s” are. I’ve responded to several people via email, but I finally realized that I should probably just write about it.

Several years ago, some of Gateway’s key staff attended the Willow Creek Leadership Summit and Bill Hybles talked about a concept he had developed for moving projects along called a 6×6. He describes flying home from abroad feeling some stress around the things he had to complete. He had six weeks left until the end of the year and he wrote out six things that really needed to be completed. After writing these things down, he felt calm knowing that if he did these things, everything would be great. This developed a system for him and his staff that helped their organization move forward. Here’s the video of Bill Hybles explaining the 6×6.

We took the concept and edited it. Six things every six weeks felt like too much. There are too many weeks where we feel like we can barely get the basics done much less special projects that move things along. We made the adjustments and created what we call 3×3’s. It’s pretty simple. What are three main goals Im going to work on over the next three months. We’ll spend three months focused on these three things and take the following months to review and set another set of 3×3’s. This pace allows us to have 3 rounds of 3×3’s each year.

February-April 3×3’s
May: Review and Reset
June-August 3×3’s
September: Review and Reset
October-December 3×3’s
January: Review and Reset

I set the 3×3 categories for my team this year. Everyone has a volunteer 3×3, a leadership 3×3 and a first impressions 3×3. We’re trying to increase the number of volunteers who serve in NextGen by 100 people by September. That means everyone on my team will have a volunteer 3×3 goal of 15-20 more volunteers (in addition to replacing volunteers who step out).

It’s been a good pace for us. I’ve never really liked annual goals. Too much happens in a year and things can change in such a way that some goals become irrelevant. 3×3’s allow for us to pick what we’re going to focus on for the year, but adjust the goals within the 3×3 to adjust for the seasons and changes that come our way.

What about you? How do you use goals in your organization? How is performance evaluation connected (or not) to the ability to set and accomplish goals?