The HOT Plan™: Elephant, anyone?


General Creighton Abrams began his distinguished military career in World War II, continued as a General and commander in Vietnam, and eventually became Chief of Staff for the United States Army.  Abrams’ exceptional ability was recognized early by General George S. Patton. Patton first noted Abram’s ability to command a tank in WW II, claiming Abrams was not only his own peer in this ability, but was indeed the world champion of WW II tank commanders. Obviously, Abrams was impressive, and a champion at hitting his targets.

When asked for his secret for hitting the mark, Abrams pointed to an old Chinese proverb. “When eating an elephant,” he said, “take one bite at a time.” The same advice applies today when creating HOT Targets with your team.

To create great HOT Targets, keep them bite-size, actionable and time-framed.

To achieve this, HOT Targets are guided by four questions: who is responsible to hit the target, what exactly is to be accomplished, when will it be completed, and how will the accomplishments be measured (what is the benchmark)?

Recently, our team used HOT Targets to help us roll-out my new book, The HOT Plan™, at the annual Great Place to Work (GPTW) convention in San Diego. Time was short, and to “eat the elephant”, the temporary task force created HOT Targets using the four key questions – Who, What, When and How do we know it’s done?

The team created an overarching target:

  1. Who? – “The GPTW San Diego team . . .”
  2. What? – “… will design, secure and complete the  book launch presentation materials required for a successful book launch in San Diego . . .”
  3. When? – “… by April 1, 2016 . . .”
  4. How will we know it’s accomplished? – “ . . . as evidenced by materials being shipped to the conference by April 4, 2016.”

The Project Coordinator assigned other targets with only a 24-72 hour turnaround. The team met daily, checked off completed targets, and kept an updated list online for group reference. Though bite-size, the completed tasks quickly chipped away at the “elephant” of conference preparations, and benchmarks were met on time. The book launch was a success!

Next time you face an elephant, use HOT Targets to bring it down to size.

The HOT Plan is still available at the introductory price of $2.99 in e-book format on Amazon, and is now also available in print on Amazon for $16.99. To order 10 books or more, please visit for special pricing.

Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,