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Business Goal Setting: Using the F-Plan

A successful business goal setting strategy comes from looking to the future, but the future is notoriously difficult to predict. As Peter Drucker points out “we only know two things about the future:

  • It cannot be known
  • It will be different from what exists now and from what we expect.

Welcome to our series on business planning. The F plan is a six-step process for thinking about the future. Ideas and wisdom from two of Peter Drucker’s books, “On the Profession of Management” and “Managing for Results” have been incorporated into the steps. The F plan can be used as both a business goal setting tool and as a guide for personal goal setting.

In May 1982, copies of The F-Plan Diet went on sale. It proved to be a best seller and even today it remains popular. Essentially, it promoted a high-fibre, low-fat, calorie-controlled eating plan. In fact, pretty much what nutrition experts still recommend today, for effective weight loss.

So here is the business equivalent: the F-plan for individuals and organisations, designed to provide a healthy approach to growth. The Happy Manager F-plan – to help get both businesses and individuals into shape!

1. Future

Business Goal Setting

Strategy is about the future, and therefore business goal setting must be forward looking. Of course, the future can be notoriously difficult to predict.

Here in our article: Business Goal Setting: Two Kinds of Future, we discuss two ways to look at the future. Firstly, what we might already know about the future. Secondly, what we might like to create to make the future happen.

2. Filter

Having thought about the future you’ll possibly have too many ideas. These ideas will no doubt compete for time, both with each other and with what you’re currently doing. There’s always more to be done, in or out of work, than time allows! In our article: Goal Setting in the Workplace, we explore ways to filter your ideas to help you make the right choices.

3. Frame

Goal setting plans need to be framed by the context of your organisation. To frame is to make sense of a situation. A plan that may have succeeded elsewhere may not necessarily work in a different context. In this article we discuss the importance of relevance in business goal setting, especially if you need to persuade in order to implement…

4. Focus

Successful goal setting strategies are underpinned by focus. Focus requires us to be clear about what we want to do, and how this relates to specific situations. Being focused helps us make choices about what to do, and about how to do it. Then, crucially, ensuring we focus our resources and energy on making our goals a reality.

5. Fast

Some might say being fast is one mantra of the new business era – everything must be done quickly! However, perhaps the real business goal setting issue is timeliness. Being fast enough is more important than simply being fast. How can we learn ways of delivering fast results, but without being furious? Here we look at a goal setting exercise that asks: are you fast enough?

6. Faith

When we think of business goal setting we tend to think of systematic approaches to planning. Accepted goal setting facts may include the need to analyse, choose, justify, implement, monitor, refine, etc. Important as these are, we should never overlook the importance of faith. Not blind faith, but that which inspires commitment and enthusiasm. As Peter Drucker famously once said: “To make the future demands courage. It demands work. But it also demands faith.” We hope you enjoy our Happy Manager F-plan. Get both your business and your personal goal setting into shape! Use our six steps to business goal setting to help you anticipate the future that’s already happened, and to make the future you’d like to create.

Now take action on your business goal setting plans!

Find our how in our e-guide: SMART Goals, SHARP Goals. The guide contains 30 pages and 5 tools to help you to set SMART goals, then take SHARP action to achieve them. It includes:

  • How do you define goal setting?
  • What features of goal setting are important, if we want to ensure they are more likely to be successfully achieved?
  • What kinds of goals are more likely to make us motivated to achieve them?
  • How do you set SMART goals?
  • Why do goals matter?
  • What kind of goals should you pursue to be happier in what you do?
  • How do you set team goals?
  • What strategies can you apply to overcome barriers to setting goals?
  • How do you develop SHARP plans of action that help you to achieve your goals?
  • What techniques can you use to get things done?
  • How do you set personal goals?


  • Tool 1: Conventional goal setting
  • Tool 2: Setting SMART goals that motivate
  • Tool 3: The kind of goals that will make you happier
  • Tool 4: Taking SHARP action
  • Tool 5: Team goals flowchart
  • Tool 6: Eight personal goal setting questions

Goal Setting Resources

You can find more of our goal setting resources by reading our featured pages (below).

Business goal setting

You’ll find our new e-guide: SMART Goals, SHARP Goals is a fantastic, goal setting resource. It’s packed with advice and tools – use it to help you set SMART goals then take SHARP actions to achieve them!

One of our affiliate partners also has an excellent, on-line, goal setting resource. GoalsOnTrack is a “personal success system that will help you really accomplish goals by getting the right things done”.



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