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Introducing the OGSM model framework

By Dave Chaffey 19 May, 2015
Marketing models

A practical tool for linking business or digital vision with goals, objectives, strategies and KPIs

Do you know OGSM? It’s not as interesting as the text speak version looks to be (try inserting some vowels...), but it is a widely used approach for getting focus to translate a vision into business and marketing strategy.

I was prompted to write this post since I was recently discussing OGSM with one of our Expert members who was using it to get buy-in for how their digital transformation initiative linked to their business vision and objectives.

I think OGSM is a great tool since it's a simple way to show the importance of aligning strategy with goals and then putting in place measurement to check you're on track and can be agile to adjust tactics to meet the broader objective. It's similar to the techniques we cover in our guide to aligning goals, strategies, objectives, KPIs and dashboards.

The deceptively simple framework of OGSM gives businesses a tool to crystallise key strategies and initiatives whilst keeping focused on their long-term vision. With OGSM, businesses from multi-national corporations where it originated to the smallest of start-ups can easily define their strategic plans. Plus, because it fits on just one page, it offers a clear, simple and concise roadmap to success - we like one page summaries!

What is OGSM?

OGSM stands for objective, goals, strategies and measures. It's a way of defining what you want to achieve, and how you will get there. The model divides your aims into broad objectives, fixed and measurable goals, strategies to guide your actions, and measures to give you a direct way of monitoring your progress. Here is how the parts of the OGSM model link together.

OGSM model framework

Here's a more specific definition of OGSM:

Objective: Defining an over-arching breakthrough vision

  • Stable, concise and linked to company mission

Goals: Stepping stones to achieving the higher level objective

  • Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Compatible

Strategies: the choices we make to achieve our objective

  • Where we choose to focus
  • Should be flexible

Measures: Numerical benchmarks on our progress

  • KPIs used as checkpoints to determine if our strategies are working

Where does OGSM originate?

The true origins of OGSM are unclear, but it's claimed that it was first devised in Japan in 1950 before being translated for American corporations. Research suggests that consumer goods giant Procter & Gamble played an important role in refining and championing the model, and it has been taken up by such major businesses as Coca Cola and Mars and of course applied by  consultancy firms.

It has been developed and adapted by different consultants and you will find strong parallels in the Smart Insights approach to aligning goals with strategies.

How to create an OGSM plan

An essential part of the beauty and versatility of the OGSM model is how easy it is to implement. You don't need any special software or technical skills - you just need a single page. The most important part for success in creating an OGSM plan is making sure that you carefully and accurately define your terms: objective, goals, strategies and measures.

Objectives refers to your vision for what you need to achieve in the long term, taking into account your fundamental principles and mission statement. Goals are about specific long-term targets aligned to your objectives, which should be measurable and will often have a financial basis.

Strategies are the ways you will deploy resources to achieve your goals. Measures are the things you will monitor to judge whether your strategies are working. Overall, all stages of the model need to be strategically aligned, so that all your efforts feed back to your overall objectives for success.

Things to watch for?

Although OGSM is a widely used model people tend to define goals and objectives differently in different businesses. For example, it's common to refer to broader goals and specific SMART objectives which we do as we explain in this article on Goals vs objectives.

In the OGSM model, it all starts with your objectives - and everything else in the model should be aligned with this first element. When defining your objectives, it's vital to think big, and to think long term. Create a compelling vision for where you want to be in the future. Paint yourself a picture of what success will look like. The better your picture, the greater your chances of achieving those objectives with the help of the OGSM model.

I hope you find this explanation of OGSM useful, like all business model,s it's a framework that can adapted to different situations. If you have used it, I'd be interested to hear how you find it and any adaptations you have made?

By Dave Chaffey

Digital strategist Dr Dave Chaffey is co-founder and Content Director of Smart Insights. Dave is editor of the 100+ templates, ebooks and courses in the digital marketing resource library created by our team of 25+ Digital Marketing experts. Our resources are used by our Premium members in more than 100 countries to Plan, Manage and Optimize their digital marketing. Free members can access our sample templates here. Please connect on LinkedIn to receive updates or ask me a question. For my full profile and other social networks, see the Dave Chaffey profile page on Smart Insights. Dave is a keynote speaker, trainer and consultant who is author of 5 bestselling books on digital marketing including Digital Marketing Excellence and Digital Marketing: Strategy, Implementation and Practice. In 2004 he was recognised by the Chartered Institute of Marketing as one of 50 marketing ‘gurus’ worldwide who have helped shape the future of marketing.

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