Have you heard of the three horizons framework?
More importantly, do you know how to utilise it within your role? A quick Google search will return many variations of the model and how to use it. However, it’s not that complicated. After all, there are only three components.
The concept was initially designed by the American consultancy company McKinsey. It’s designed to achieve growth while also keeping an eye on strategy and innovation.
So, how do you use it, and how can the three horizons framework provide you with the structure to create a path for the future. Here’s everything you need to know.
Horizon 1: What Needs to be Done Today
The first step is focusing on your core function and reaching a performance baseline. What should you be achieving that you’re not? What goals are you consistently hitting that can be further improved upon? The focus here is on the short-term.
Before you can start implementing projects and initiatives to achieve your future state, you need to have strong foundations. If you’re not succeeding in your core business, then you need to put 80% of your attention here. So set your baseline and work out what you need to do today to be successful tomorrow.
Horizon 2: The Steps Needed to Reach Your Future State
Once you have a strong foundation, you can start thinking about building upon it. Think of it as a house where you don’t make your second storey until the ground floor is constructed. You also need to ensure your foundations can support it.
You don’t want to launch into a future state. Think about the following stages you need to prepare for so you and your team are ready for whatever is thrown at them. It could be an expansion of duties or introducing a second team. How can you ensure that your team members can handle it without disrupting day-to-day operations?
Horizon 3: The Future State
Where do you want your team to be in three to five years? This is your future state. It should be a goal or objective that will push you and your team members. However, it should also align with the overall strategy of the organisation.
It doesn’t necessarily mean expansion. Maybe you want to keep the same headcount but work more intelligently and efficiently. Perhaps you want to eliminate administration work. There could be automation in the pipeline. Whatever your future state looks like, this is your third horizon.
Why the Three Horizons Framework is Necessary
The three horizons framework isn’t a set and forget exercise. It provides you with the structure to address what needs to get done today and what you need to do to reach your future state. It should constantly be evolving as the organisation grows. What needs to get addressed today will change, as will the future state. Especially as your customer’s needs evolve.
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