A few years ago, I read a book that had a big impact on how I understand and manage goal-setting. I recommend that you add this book to your top ten list: John Doerr, the author of the book "Measure What Matters".  

John quotes: ‘If you’re striving for high performance “Goals are very necessary things."'. Seems like a no-brainer statement, yet so few businesses are effective in their goal setting. In his book, he shares the goal-setting system that is behind many successful organizations. He taught this goal-setting system that helped transform Google, YouTube, Intuit, Nuna and others into the successes we know today.  

PS. It applies to micro-businesses as well. 

In this article, I would like to zone into one aspect only, and that is his CFRs. 

What are CFRs? 

CFR stands for Conversations, Feedback and Recognition (just love the simplicity of the acronym, hopefully, it will become part of your vocabulary as well.) 


John describes a conversation as: ‘An authentic, richly textured exchange between a leader and contributor. This is done 1:1s and in Team meetings.' 

I know firsthand that moving away from annual performance reviews (they are yuk!), to less formal, but structured conversations are more impactful and timelier. I also know that when I raise this aspect with business owners, they often say that they are having conversations with their staff continuously or else when they sit down to focus on a more formal conversation, that they ‘just don’t know where to begin.’ 

So here is some structure that you could (should) try. The five critical areas of conversation between a leader and a contributor: 

  1. Goal Setting and Reflection 
  2. Ongoing Process Updates 
  3. Two-way Coaching 
  4. Career Growth 
  5. Lightweight Performance Review 


John’s definition of feedback is: “Communication up, down, and across organizational lines that assess behaviours and outcomes, and guides improvement.” 

Our human brain is built for laziness. I mean this not as an insult to your finely tuned personal hard drive, but rather to the realization that one of its skill sets is to continuously filter out the ‘noise’ and to focus in, on what matters. This strategy has its shortcoming as well. 

Very often our brain makes sense of the situation before we are even consciously aware of it. This limits our ability to probe deeper and to understand situations from other perspectives. And sometimes we just see the situation completely different to how someone else sees it. Feedback is one of the hacks that you want to master as it overcomes these inherent drawbacks. 

Feedback serves to repeat back how you understand the situation, what you have experienced, seen or heard about, also, it is to give this feedback, uncandidly back to the person or team in front of you. Maybe best explained as “It gets everyone back on the same page.” 


John’s definition of recognition is: “Acknowledgement of effort, attitude and achievement.” 

If you have done any research into ‘why employees leave?', you will find that in the top three reasons is - ‘I did not feel appreciated.’ .

It is such a simple fix yet is so lacking. Here is a simple fix that you can try to give some more structure to your recognition habit. 

Give recognition more meaning. Share recognition stories. People relate to and remember stories better than any other form of communication. You can include stories in your 1-1 conversation, through newsletters, company blogs or even that notice board in the tea room. 

Celebrate small wins. Hail smaller accomplishments, more frequent and attainable recognitions. But be genuine, if the praise is artificial, others will see it and you will do more damage than good. My suggestion is to actively work on your mindset that you start to actively search for good and positive initiatives. 

Organization priorities should be supported with a timely shout-out. Tie recognition to company goals and priorities. If there are significant milestones, and these are achieved, then create a celebration that everyone can share. 

Would you like to implement CFRs in your business? Of course, you would 😊. If you would like some assistance with this process, then please message me directly. I am more than happy to help. 

Have you tried Sukuma? The founding principle of Sukuma is 90-day planning, and within this, we have built in many of the fundamentals of CFRs. If you would like to trial Sukuma in your business, please emailcall or book a complimentary strategy meeting with me.