OGSM. Avoiding interruptions. Results.
This week I started a new job (after a several month leave).
So I’ve been thinking a lot about goal setting - personally and professionally.
Objectives > Goals
Writing a good leave and re-entry plan isn’t too different from writing a strategic plan. Both require thinking through what you want and setting yourself up to make that happen.
In business, a classic wireframe for long-term planning is the objective, goals, strategies, and measures (OGSM) framework. This approach has 4 pieces:
Objective: It starts with a clear idea of what you want.
Goals: The required steps to make this broad objective happen. Goals are shorter-term and have specific milestones.
Strategies: The actions that you’ll take to reach these goals.
Measures: How you’ll judge whether you implemented your strategies and hit your goals.
This 4-part approach is particularly helpful when your timeline is over a year, and the goals involve multiple parts.
That matters for leave planning.
A big mistake I made after my first two kids were born was to think of my maternity leave as a one-off event. But that is not just a few-month blip in your routine. It’s a life-long change with a lot of phases.
So the plans must adapt to new goals along the way.
Objective: Leave & re-entry
Most of us want to have a smooth leave. Minimizing the number of unwelcome surprises faced involves a lot of planning pre-, during- and after taking leave.
This includes caring for your baby and yourself, and finding a sustainable work-life routine.
Selecting goals and setting strategies
To illustrate one goal, say a “pre-” leave goal is to “minimize work-related interruptions during leave” so you can focus on recovering and your baby.
Strategies to make this happen may include:
Financial planning for leave - Research your company benefits, insurance, and legal rights to budget and remove unwelcome shocks.
Child care plans - Organize go-to and backup baby care options to be on top of the waitlists and to limit the stress of organizing this during leave.
Work hand-off plan - Outline your responsibilities and the status of projects, assigning a backup person for each. Get buy-in and train others well in advance to limit interruptions during leave.
Company announcement - List everyone that needs to be aware of your leave, including clients and those in other departments. Tell them their backup contact to avoid getting pestered.
Communication boundaries - Be clear about if and when you’d want to be contacted (or not) to set expectations upfront.
Specific feedback is vital to adjusting and getting sharper over time.
Take the first strategy listed: financial planning. Were the bills close to what was expected? If not, how could the estimate have been better - or was the gap from an obscure one-off?
Overall, here’s an outline of what the measures could look like across the five strategies to minimize interruptions.
The bottom line: Leave & re-entry planning is a leadership opportunity.
While this structured approach might look like overkill, the point is not to wait for someone else to create a plan for you.
Taking leave is a project you lead.
At work, this means proposing your recommendations, communication preferences, and re-entry transition support to help you get more decision control and fewer unwelcome surprises.
And it can strengthen your boss’s support because they’ll know exactly what you want.
P.S. What did you think of this newsletter? I’ll be making this punchier (and shorter), so your feedback on what’s most valuable is helpful.
OGSM Model: How to Use the OGSM Framework. A brief article by MasterClass explaining the framework and contrasting this approach with Objectives & Key Results (OKRs) planning.
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