Goal Trees


  • To break down broad business goals into strategies and tactics and clearly see which activities are needed.
  • To provide the team with clarity about how smaller actions will build up into larger impacts and goals.

When To Run This

In the ‘Explore’ state — you’re considering strategies and where to focus your efforts to achieve your goals. Once a Goal Tree is complete, it should be used as a reference to support decision-making for all approaches and priorities.

Note: this activity is best to be completed by more senior/strategic members of an organisation before being shared with the innovation team for consideration and input.


2 - 4 hours


  • Goals (business or project)
  • Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
  • Benchmark performance metrics (conversion rates, revenue)
  • Leading indicator metrics (efficiency, quality, agility)


  • A team of stakeholders
  • Post-it notes (blue, green, yellow)
  • Markers
  • Whiteboard 
  • or poster paper



  • Gather and benchmark key KPIs of your project or business. This could be existing ongoing benchmarks or specific to a project.

  • Discover any higher-level business goals that you may also need to meet.

Action It:Action It:

  • Map out your goals. Think about what your business does to generate revenue and rewrite them as your goals. Put each one on a blue post-it note and space these out on your whiteboard or poster paper to let the tree to grow below.

  • Plan out the strategies you’ll need to reach your business goals. Write each on a green post-it note and place it under the related goal.

  • Decide on the tactics you’ll use to achieve those strategies. Put each on a yellow post-it and place it under the related strategy. Think about how each metric can break down into smaller ones.

  • Review your Goal Tree with your innovation team. Ask for new and/or different strategies and tactics that could be used to meet the goals.

  • Determine the metrics and measurement tools. How will you measure the impact of your business or project? How can you capture the right data so that you know how you are tracking?

Next Steps:Next Steps:

  • Future planning. You can use the goal tree to judge if any future strategies and tactics are suitable for the business or project, or you could use it as a roadmap to see what tasks need to be done in order to reach your goals.



  • You only need to create the goal tree once, and then you can refer back to it to measure the impact of your future campaigns, products, or projects.
  • You can use the goal tree to focus on achieving quick wins with impactful outcomes that will align with your goals.
  • The effort that it takes to complete each set of “branches” should be worth the goal that it stems from.


It's Going Well When:

  • The team can break down the tactics that will lead to your goals
  • The team can identify multiple tactics that support the strategies

Watch Out For:

  • Solving things too far up the tree (e.g. ‘revenue’)
  • Tactics that don’t align with your goals
  • Debates about which metrics are the most important. 
  • Leading indicators. It’s important to test them but they’re hard to understand and under-tested.