The 1 in 60 Rule ✈️
A mental model to achieve your business goals
If a plane is off course by 1 degree it misses its target by 60 miles. 🎯
That’s why pilots are taught the 1 in 60 rule.
It's a framework designed to reinforce the importance of making course evaluations and corrections.
Everyone knows you have to set goals. We love dreaming of that new destination. But few check their progress or make adjustments to make sure they actually arrive.
In this edition, I share the simple processes and systems we use to keep our business goals on track, and how they helped us to build and exit our first start-up for 8 million quid.
It’s an 8-minute read. I hope you find it useful. 👇
How can it help you
“I’m not a pilot Mike, how is this useful to me?“.
The 1 in 60 rule is a mental model about decision-making, evaluating your progress, and making corrections.
All stuff (if I’m honest) I’m not particularly good at all.
You’ve no doubt heard me talk about ‘starting with the end in mind’.
At Learning Heroes, we wanted to create a monthly recurring revenue model and exit the business for 10 million after 3 years.
It’s a nice line to use in podcasts when telling our story. It sounds like we had it all worked out from day one.
In reality, that end destination evolved from a series of goals and course corrections.
And that’s ok. It’s normal.
If you’re anything like me, and your ‘new year, new me’ energy is waning. Crushed by the sheer amount of shit you need to get done to achieve your goals, you might find these simple systems helpful 👇
Set Goals and Get Things Done.
You’ve probably heard of OKRs.
Objectives and Key Results.
It’s a goal-setting framework that works like this:
Objectives: “What do you want to achieve?”
Key Results: “How will you know when you’ve achieved it?”
Initiatives: “How are you going to achieve it?”
It’s been around since Back to the Future was released (all the best stuff was created in the ’80s).
Big-name companies like Google, Intel, Spotify, and Amazon all use it.
OKRs bridge the gap between strategy and execution.
Now, before we continue, far more intelligent folk have talked about this topic.
In fact, there’s a free video and course you can watch here if you want to understand the full mechanics:
But I want to share how we’ve actually used them, not just more theory.
Here’s an example:
Objective: Massively grow revenue.
Key Results: £30,000 MRR (this is the metric that lets us know we've gotten to the desired result).
Initiatives: Launch a new ‘YouTube for Business’ package (step needed to get to the result) and hire Creative Lead to project manage (action required to get the result).
OKRs can feel a bit nerdy. If you reframe them as company commitments it can help to make them more relatable, rather than being some spreadsheet activity that no one actually looks at.
Our goal was to make sure Learning Heroes OKRs were broad enough to encompass the whole company so that each department and team can feel that their work contributes to at least one of its priorities.
When it comes to tracking them, we find a simple spreadsheet with a traffic light system works well:
Whatever system you use, the goal is to visually show which OKRs are:
Way off track
How frequently you check in on your OKRs depends on your business size and personal preference.
We have a weekly leadership meeting. If we notice something way off track we create a written solution to get it back on track.
One final word of warning. Don’t bombard your business with hundreds of OKRs. 3 per quarter is achievable for most small businesses.
Next time you’re goal-setting for the business, use the OKR framework.
Areas of Responsibility.
Ok, so now you know what you should be doing, but who the bloody hell is going to actually do it?
Remember. A dog with two owners never gets fed.
At IAM Productions we’re really good at coming up with ideas to improve and grow our business.
Ideas get shared, we all agree on what should be done, and we feel great.
“Yeah, go us, we’re so creative and productive. This is our year for sure”
Then, two weeks pass and nothing happened. We all get pissed off with each other and wonder what went wrong.
“Oh, I thought you were doing that”
If that sounds familiar, you should channel your inner Steve Jobs and be like Apple, and use areas of responsibility (AOR).
It means grouping tasks into categories and assigning each category to one person.
Again, no need for any fancy software. A google sheet or spreadsheet will do the trick.
Create a new document and list every possible function in the company. Yes, all of them.
Next to each, name a responsible person. And a backup.
When you get super organised, add a documented process write-up column (great for training and ideal if you ever sell your business).
It’s a great stick to beat your team with when things go wrong. Sorry, not stick. Important accountability tool. Yes, that's it.
Ideally, everyone should be able to access and see it. Worked well for us. Give it a go.
Get Shit Done.
Ok, you’ve set your goals and initiatives. You know who is responsible. Now it’s time to get the actual work done.
There’s a simple system we use inspired by the book:
Getting Things Done - David Allen
I first came across it as a system for managing your email inbox. But it works for all types of tasks.
Your inbox is basically anywhere people bug you (Email, Slack, Teams, WhatsApp).
When something arrives do four things with each job:
If it can be done quickly (less than 2 mins) I get it done and out of the way.
Each deferred item goes on one of these lists:
Delegate: A list of things I’ve asked others to do and I’m waiting on.
E.g. Chris to create a proposal for x company.
Parked: Non-urgent tasks that you might want to consider when things are less busy (warning - they never get less busy).
E.g. book recommendation ‘F*cking Good Content by Dan Kelsall’.
Agenda: Tasks I want to discuss during our next meeting. This stops your blurting out ideas and suggestions and disrupting people from tasks. Instead, save them for a specific meeting.
E.g. where should we have our next staff engagement day
Projects: Bigger tasks that need calendar time to be allocated to complete.
E.g. write a new VAMO script on x topic.
Review your lists weekly and you should find you’re much more productive and have a nice clear inbox.
That’s it for this week.
That was a bit of a deter from our usual marketing and sales advice. Hopefully, you found it useful.
We’ll be back next week with new ways to help you get seen, make more sales and grow your following.
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