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This week I was with a client, solely working on their strategy and then operationalizing it.  For two full days, I worked with their leadership team on their External Map, to their SWIMLANES, and then back.  It was an intense two days that concluded with my client walking out confidently with their 3HAG aligned to their BHAG.  Their next steps are to create a company 1HAG and 90-day plan.


All of this hard work will be shared with my client’s company, both verbally in smaller meetings with their leaders and to the whole company in their scheduled Town Hall Meeting.  My client will also be sharing their strategy and operationalizing plan visually through strategic pictures on their office walls and via Metronome Growth Systems.

 Strategic Pictures


 Metronome Growth Systems (aka MGS or Metronome) has been a great tool for my clients as well as for me as a coach.  My clients have been using Metronome for almost 2 years, and it has been invaluable for them to ensure the plan is clear, visible, and alive.  Metronome creates a real time playing field for all team members to share their progress day-to-day, week-to-week, month-to-month, quarter-over-quarter, all aligned to the company’s  BHAG, 3HAG, 1HAG and 90 day plan.

 The newest feature of MGS, set to be released Sunday Nov. 11th, is the long awaited “SWIMLANES”. I am so excited to have this feature on the platform as it now supports the visualization and operationalization of the 3HAG!  This is a big deal for my clients to now be able to align their 3HAG with their 1HAG through the use of SWIMLANES.   We have been doing this on the wall with paper and Post-It notes (I recommend continuing with this practice), but with SWIMLANES on the platform, the whole team can see the alignment no matter where they are.

                                       SWIMLANES on the Wall               

There are some very key things to understand on how the 3HAG relates to the SWIMLANES, that relate to the 1HAG, that relate to the 90-day plan and priorities.  I have seen many  versions of SWIMLANES but a truly validated version has a SWIMLANE for each strategic Differentiator, high level Milestones in the SWIMLANE to ensure the Differentiator is achieved through a breakdown of Milestones, and the Annual Priorities for focus in any one year and 90-day Priorities. This keeps alignment to the plan alive as we ensure the whole team is focusing on the right thing, today.

There has also been a lot of discussion on what the relationship between the 3-5 Differentiators, SWIMLANE Milestones, Corporate Annual Priorities, Corporate Quarterly Priorities, and Individual Quarterly Priorities are.

Individual Quarterly Priorities – These are tactical priorities that may or may not have sub-priorities.   They can be stand alone or related to a Corporate Quarterly Priority, or a Corporate Annual Priority, or a SWIMLANE Milestone, or a Differentiator.

Corporate Quarterly Priorities – This is a tactical priority for the company for the quarter.  It can be stand alone or related to Corporate Annual Priority, or a SWIMLANE Milestone, or a Differentiator.

Corporate Annual Priorities – This is a tactical priority for the company for the year.   It can be stand alone or related to a SWIMLANE Milestone, or a Differentiator.

SWIMLANE Milestone – This is not a priority!  It is a high level  milestone that must be met in order to ensure the Differentiator gets in place in the timeframe set out.  It is related to a Differentiator.

Differentiators –  These are the 3-5 interdependent activities that the team decided upon that must be put in place to create the company’s unique and valuable position.


SWIMLANES in Metronome Growth Systems


SWIMLANES are not a project plan. SWIMLANES are a place where the company brainstorms the large milestones that must be in place to ensure the Differentiator gets in place.  The rule of “less is better” is key for SWIMLANES.  It is recommended they are kept at the highest level.

SWIMLANES are the ultimate pivot point to executing strategy, by ensuring leadership teams are continuously discussing where they are going, how are they going to get, and by when. SWIMLANES in MGS will allow us all to monitor and celebrate the success of the lanes as the milestone are achieved!!  So dive in and enjoy your SWIM!!!

 For more information about Metronome Growth Systems and the SWIMLANES feature, email [email protected]

 -Shannon Byrne Susko

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