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Podcast Episode 14: Setting Goals with the 3 Horizons Framework

Jeffrey Lambert
May 6, 2019 4:14:00 PM


Today on Inbound Academy we’re going to continue discussing business goals, and how you can set effective short and long-term goals that will deliver results for your company. To do that, we’re are going to show you the 3 Horizons Framework!


Episode Transcript


Jeff Lambert:                00:00                Today on Rizen Academy. We're going to continue discussing business goals and how you can set effective short and long term goals that are going to deliver results for your company. To do that, we're going to show you how to use the "Three Horizons Framework."

Jeff Lambert:                00:26                Hello everybody and thank you for tuning into today's podcast. I'm your host, Jeff Lambert. Before we get into our topic today, if you're enjoying the show, could you please take a moment and leave a review on iTunes or whatever podcasting platform you use? When you give us a rating or leave us a review, It helps us get in front of other people in search results and it shows the quality of the show to other people. We really appreciate your support and we hope that we can continue having you as a listener as we go through this topic. So yesterday we discussed setting business goals and why that's important. Today we're going to look at how you should specifically set those goals, and we're going to look at both short and long term strategies for your business. We're going to be using something called the "Three Horizons Framework" to talk more about that and how you can integrate it in your business.

Jeff Lambert:                01:19                I'm joined today by Rizen CEO Rogelio Rodriguez. Rod, thanks for joining us today.

Rod Rodriguez:             01:24                Thanks Jeff. Happy to be here.

Jeff Lambert:                01:26                Let's jump into the Three Horizons Framework. That sounds complicated, but I'm sure you're going to be able to help us unpack this. I guess starting off at the basic premise, is it important for companies to set short and long term goals?

Rod Rodriguez:             01:42                Yes. Absolutely. Each serve its own purpose, right? Goals can be tricky because you're trying to set goals and trying to figure out at the same time how much effort is it going to take realistically to reach those goals. So you have to figure out a happy medium, right? There has to be a way to enable those long term goals to be the vision and then the short term goals to be the activities that are going to lead you to that goal and that future. But oftentimes, businesses lose focus because they're too focused on what they need to do today because they're focused on the long term goals. So, you know, to ensure the business stands the test of time I think one of the best ways to frame a goal setting is to use the Three Horizons Framework.

Jeff Lambert:                02:50                Okay. Let's talk about it. So the Three Horizons Framework, I guess if you could summarize that for our listeners, what is it?

Rod Rodriguez:             02:58                It's a way to conceptualize your business, what your business wants to accomplish in the short term, mid term and long term. According to Bill Sharpe, the author of "Three horizons: Patterning of Hope" setting short, medium and long term goals creates a relationship between today and the future, making sure that you focus on both.

Jeff Lambert:                03:20                So really this is a way to make sure that you're not losing sight of today's goals and tomorrow's dreams?

Rod Rodriguez:             03:27                Absolutely.

Jeff Lambert:                03:27                And I think, you know, if we're honest with ourselves for a second, as business owners, we always like to think about the grand future of our business. And you know "Oh in one year I'm going to be doing this extra service for my customers" and "I'm going to be moving to this office space" and "I'm going to be offering these things" and you can't get to that point if you're not hitting your goals that you set on the daily, weekly, monthly basis. So this sounds promising because it's important to have dreams. Don't lose that. But if you're not doing the day to day, you're never going to get there. So if there's three horizons, let's start off at horizon one. What does horizon one talk about? What's the goal there?

Rod Rodriguez:             04:06                So horizon one is about the present - ensuring the present success, right? These are the goals and strategies you put in place to maintain and extend your core business. And 70% of your resources should be allocated to this one horizon.

Jeff Lambert:                04:23                So just so we're clear, you're saying that I should be spending the majority of my time and resources focusing on present success today?

Rod Rodriguez:             04:31                Yes, absolutely.

Jeff Lambert:                04:33                I hope everybody heard that because I think we've all been there where again, we are focused on tomorrow as opposed to today. We really gotta remember what we're doing now. So let's talk about horizon two then. If horizon one is the short-term, today, what is horizon two?

Rod Rodriguez:             04:47                So horizon two is about linking your present goals with your long term goals. The short term and long term goals. It's where the business is. Business generally begins to transform and lean into emerging innovations and it's industry without completely losing sight of a what made horizon one so successful, right? So 20% of your resources should go to horizon two.

Jeff Lambert:                05:16                So we could set moderate goals for ourselves, moderate marks, and for horizon too.

Rod Rodriguez:             05:21                Yes.

Jeff Lambert:                05:21                Okay. So naturally, you know, and I think everybody can see the foreshadowing here. The third horizon would refer to what specifically?

Rod Rodriguez:             05:31                So it takes up about 10% of the team's efforts and resources. But they're meant as ways to create new business model. Horizon three initiatives support where you think your industry is headed and innovating now and to invest in the future, really to remain one step ahead of the competition.

Jeff Lambert:                05:54                So you don't want to put yourself out of business essentially?

Rod Rodriguez:             05:57                Absolutely. You gotta plan plan ahead and make sure that you're prepared and leading the pack.

Jeff Lambert:                06:03                So as soon as you said that, the first thing that came to mind for me, it was Blockbuster. You know, they didn't really focus on the third horizon very well.

Rod Rodriguez:             06:10                No, no. If I remember correctly, I think they thought that Netflix would never take on, and that was coming from their CEO, but here we are today.

Jeff Lambert:                06:19                Yeah, I think too, they actually they had an opportunity to buy Netflix and they turned it down with that same mindset.

Rod Rodriguez:             06:24                Wow. Yeah. That's...well now we know.

Jeff Lambert:                06:28                Now we know. So I guess if anything, it's important for our listeners to remember with your business. You don't want to forget today for tomorrow, but you don't want to forget tomorrow because you're going to get out played by someone else essentially.

Rod Rodriguez:             06:41                Exactly.

Jeff Lambert:                06:43                Well, Rod, I think this is a great framework for people to use to be able to lay out their goals and for our listeners, again, if you're looking for more resources on this topic, Rizen has a whole blog full of different tutorials and downloads that can help you be able to visualize these things and be able to put them into practice. So I would encourage you to check those out at and I know we have a lot more to talk about when it comes to implementing inbound. So I'd like to thank Rod. Rod, thank you so much for coming in today and talking about this.

Rod Rodriguez:             07:12                Thank you, Jeff.

Jeff Lambert:                07:13                And here's to future episodes that we can do together to talk about these things.

Rod Rodriguez:             07:17                I look forward to it.

Jeff Lambert:                07:18                As do I.

Jeff Lambert:                07:19                So to our listeners, hey, thank you again for tuning in today. We really appreciate your support. We wouldn't be here without you. Remember if you can leave us a review on iTunes or your preferred podcast platform of choice. It helps us be able to get in front of new people that are looking to find out more about inbound, and if you're looking for a partner to be able to help you with your marketing efforts, consider Rizen. They're focused on the goals that they set with you and hitting those marks as well as building a meaningful relationship with your organization. You can find out more about them at You can also connect with them on social media. They're available at Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram under the username Rizen_inbound. Thank you again for tuning into today's episode. We'll see you on the next one.


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