Leaders Letter Newsletter

Leaders Letter 117 – Think Big Act Small By When

Dear leaders, for years we have used numerous different methodologies to try and crack performance and roll up into the company objectives.

The trendiest of recent times is the OKRs, I will save my experiences with OKRs for another dedicated leader’s letter, we use SMART goals as a way to help be specific and make the next period of time work clear and simple to understand and execute. 

One of my personal favourites and the most effective I have used is:

Think Big Act Small By When


The whole framework is intentionally simple.

Unlike some of the other goal-setting frameworks, it is designed to be understood by the whole organisation and as a way to keep others accountable. 

  • Think Big: What is the big goal 
  • Act Small: What are the smaller actions to hit the goal 
  • When: When do we need to deliver by?  
  • My addition: Who owns this (owner of the outcome) and who is the sponsor (the team or department lead)

Tips to win with think big, act small, by when.

  1. Never allow ASAP to be used in when 
  2. Always be clear about why think big is connected to the company way strategy 
  3. Always be clear on who you will need to partner with and call this out 
  4. Only create this when you are given the company-wide objectives 
  5. Create and approve as a department (especially if you have a larger management team and many teams within a department)
  6. Check-in fortnightly, repetition wins (this can be in person or asynchronous, the more you run in async the quicker you will become at working at updates and remove the most vocal colleagues)
  7. Hold the owner and sponsor accountable for misses 
  8. You can add a score to each think big at the end of each quarter to understand performance and how it went, this is optional but can work well, especially if you are numbers driven or need a scoring system to rewards those involved 

Can you benefit by using this framework instead of your existing tool? 

Would this make collaboration easier and ensure the business understands the smaller acts to lead to appreciation and curiosity? 

Remember when most frameworks go wrong is when you have to create cross-functional collaboration and be able to hold each other accountable, can you manage this? 

Have a good week ahead and consider how you can leverage free frameworks to improve working styles, collaborations and deliverables. 


Danny Denhard