Annual Goals and Execution
By Gideon T. Rasmussen, CISSP, CRISC, CISA, CISM, CIPP

Establish annual goals to drive your program forward. This post includes a brainstorming meeting, performance plans and an initiatives portfolio. Team members are provided with opportunities for professional development and accomplishments in consideration of performance ratings and bonuses.

I. Establish Annual Program Goals

  • The leader establishes annual program goals with the team
  • It starts with a conversation with them during a team call
    - Provide six strategic goals for team members to consider
    - Encourage them to submit SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Acheivable, Realistic and Timely)
  • Meet in-person with the team for an all-day meeting
    - Each theme is addressed for 45 minutes
    - People get to present their ideas
    - There are no negative consequences for providing a goal (e.g. if someone makes a suggestion, they do not have to own it and work nights and weekends as an implied punishment)
    - However, if a person provides a goal, they have the option to own it and establish a project to drive it to completion (with other people). That gives them opportunity to demonstrate leadership, which may result in bonus and/or eventual promotion depending on results
    - As people call out ideas, the proposed goal is recorded on a screen visible to all, including the person's name
    - This is a brainstorming session so participants are encouraged to be comfortable. There are no "stupid" ideas in a brainstorming session
    - Lunch is provided in the conference room. A team dinner follows at a restaurant
  • This approach is inclusive and can result in team cohesion
  • Socialize goals with teams and LOBs that will be impacted

    Artifacts:

  • Annual Goals - InfoSec - 2025.xlsx: A spreadsheet used to record goals during the brainstorming session
  • Annual Goals - InfoSec - 2025.pptx: An annual goals slide that can be reused as accomplishments at the end of the year

    II. Establish Employee Performance Plans

  • Distribute program goals throughout the team in performance plans
  • Assignment of goals helps grow employees from career and professional development perspectives
    - Achievement of goals provides accomplishments in consideration of performance ratings and bonuses
    - Project leadership helps prove individual contributors "ready now" for promotion

    III. Monitor and Coach

  • During team meetings, display an Initiatives Portfolio and ask team members to provide a quick status
    Initiatives Portfolio
    Initiative Name Primary Owner Percent Complete Target Date Status Comments Overall Status
    Establish an Insider Threat Program Jane Smith 35% Oct-15-2025 On target Green
  • Meet with each employee 1:1 for 30 minutes at least once every two weeks

    The leader's role is to:

  • Monitor program execution
  • Monitor projects and achievement of annual goals
  • Monitor and coach team members
  • Throughout
    - Act as a point of escalation
    - Apply resources
    - Represent and defend the program
    - Manage up

    Conclusion

    This three tiered approach enables the team to accomplish goals throughout the year without the leader being in the critical path. Each team member owns their role, responsibilities and goals. Accordingly they gain recognition and rewards for their efforts.



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