A Guide to Using the V2MOM Goal-Setting Model
Find out why business leaders often cite V2MOM as their preferred model to set goals.
V2MOM is one in a series of cascading goal-setting frameworks that companies use to promote and achieve their objectives. Cascading goal systems often start with the leadership team rolling out the company’s broader objectives to each descending level in the organization. The purpose is to communicate the company’s goals and make sure they’re aligned with managers and employees’ goals and expectations.
Like all cascading goal systems, the V2MOM model rolls out objectives from a central point in the company across other units or departments. However, V2MOM offers the flexibility of starting the cascading process at any level or with anyone in the organization. Team leaders can set unit-based objectives or work one-on-one with employees on such areas as performance improvement or career development.
Founded by Marc Benioff, founder, CEO and chair of the global technology corporation Salesforce, V2MOM is an acronym based on these 5 criteria:
“We chose V2MOM because it starts with the big picture, often established by the founder. A long-term, clearly articulated vision serves as the ‘North Star’ when it comes to plotting a course or making a decision.”
Business leaders often cite V2MOM as their preferred goal-setting model. David Ciccarelli, CEO of Voices, a firm offering audio and voice over products and services, told Workest, “We chose V2MOM because it starts with the big picture, often established by the founder. A long-term, clearly articulated vision serves as the ‘North Star’ when it comes to plotting a course or making a decision.” He added that values determined by a company’s founders set the behavioral norms for employees but found that other goal-setting models lack these foundational principles.
A look at the origins of V2MOM is key to understanding how businesses can best use the model. On Salesforce’s “The 360 Blog,” Benioff defines success as dependent on constant communication and alignment with a company’s vision for the future and credits V2MOM for achieving both objectives for Salesforce.
Benioff points out that alignment is critically important in large companies like Salesforce, which has 50,000 employees. He also states that he prefers V2MOM over other cascading goal frameworks because it inspires “creativity, change, and empowerment.” However, these 3 elements can also benefit small businesses (SMBs); based on how V2MOM was designed and ultimately used, the framework can be scaled to meet the needs of any size business or any one employee in an organization.
How to create a V2MOM
Salesforce recommends that companies create their V2MOMs based on the acronym SMART, which stands for goals that are:
The company not only designed the V2MOM model to be specific, it also was designed to be a one-page document. Ciccarelli agrees that the document’s space limitation challenges companies to be precise when drafting their goal-setting plan. “One of the first challenges is crystallizing a vision into a few sentences, then wordsmithing to find just the right words that your executive team agrees on,” he said. “This is important because it is the executive team’s responsibility to be constantly communicating the vision and values.”
Ciccarelli also said that, with a final goal-setting draft in hand, a CEO needs to retell a company’s story for years to come and project a brighter future than the current one.
“One of the first challenges is crystallizing a vision into a few sentences, then wordsmithing to find just the right words that your executive team agrees on.”
A usage guide
You can start creating a V2MOM framework by answering the questions in this step-by-step process based on Salesforce’s 5 criteria and use the examples as a guide:
Step 1. Vision
What does your company want to do or accomplish? State your vision in a precise, clearly written sentence.
Example: Become the number one small business on the local chamber of commerce’s annual Best Place to Work list
Step 2. Values
What principals and beliefs can help your company fulfill the vision?
Example 1: Employee empowerment
Example 2. Employee engagement
Example 3: Diversity and Inclusion
Example 4: Integrity
Example 5: Transparency
What actions are needed to meet the goal?
Example 1: Tie empowerment, engagement and inclusion to leadership’s performance rewards.
Example 2: Incorporate personal and career development into company culture.
Example 3: Replace performance management with performance alignment.
Example 4: Form employee resource groups (ERGs) for worker input.
Example 5: Ensure that internal communication is clear and consistent.
What challenges will your company face in fulfilling the vision?
Example 1: Backlash from leaders and employees on policy and procedural changes
Example 2: Competition from other SMBs with the same vision
Example 3: Lower than expected employee participation in ERGs
How will your company measure its achievement? Use numeric measures with any qualitative assessments you make.
Example 1: Employee satisfaction surveys
Example 3: Positive or negative changes in talent attraction, hiring, turnover and absenteeism
Example 4: Comparisons between previously collected data and current results
For a successful V2MOM model, Ciccarelli advises that you work in the order of the acronym. “Start with your vision, move to values and end up with obstacles and measures,” he said. “Recognize that V2MOM is a management process, and that these letters are in this particular order for a reason. Follow the formula.”
Check out our People Ops Podcast episode “Unpacking the Science Behind Motivation.”