The HOT Plan™: The Scope of HOT Targets.


It takes four kinds of HOTs to keep things moving toward success.

When we started the HOT Plan program, we revised our existing goals with the precision of targets and set out on our great new adventure. It quickly became apparent, however, that targets needed to be separated into categories to insure that all of them were achievable.

To be effective, HOT Targets must encompass both the production and the culture of your business or organization.

 We determined that to achieve our best, we needed to meet challenges in four different categories: day-to-day operational tasks; above-and-beyond projects (innovation); cultural opportunities (people-care and outreach); and wild card possibilities (unplanned opportunities). In order to help our teams succeed in every area, we developed four types of HOTs and asked our teams to write targets within each type.

In the next few posts, we will explain each type of the HOT Targets and further describe how they all work together. Operational HOTs, the largest category, will be the first type of Hot Target we discuss.

Operational HOTs

Day-to-day tasks in each department are the basis for Operational HOTs. For example, let’s look at the guiding Operational HOT for our company’s magazine, The Pitsco Network. The Network is produced by our Media Department and is a full-color, 32 page publication with a circulation of around 14,000 educators. This Operational HOT is only one of hundreds of Operational HOTs at work in our company.

All HOTs must answer four questions: Who, What, When, and How (the benchmark). The guiding Operational HOT for the February-March issue of the Network reads as follows:

“[1. Who?] The communications team [2. What?] will produce and distribute the February-March issue of the company magazine [3. When?] by February 15, [4. How?] as evidenced by the distribution of the February-March issue.”

Although the details of each magazine vary greatly, the wording of this HOT does not change from issue to issue, except for the deadline. This Operational HOT illustrates a HOT that focuses on the big picture, leaving the process minutiae to the daily workings of the staff. This helps the HOT avoid becoming mired in trivial details.

More information about the four kinds of targets and how to make them work for you can be found in my new book, The HOT Plan™, that is available on Amazon in eBook or print versions. For special bulk pricing (10 or more books), please visit Visit for more details about The HOT Plan™.

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