Shannon Susko Blog

SWIMLANES! Diving into this Game-Changing Tool and its Debut on Metronome Growth Systems Platform

Shannon SuskoNov 09, 2018

This week I was with a client, solely working on their strategy and then operationalizing it.  For two full days, I worked with their leadership team on their External Map, to their SWIMLANES, and then back.  It was an intense two days that concluded with my client walking out confidently with their 3HAG aligned to their BHAG.  Their next steps are to create a company 1HAG and 90-day plan.


All of this hard work will be shared with my client’s company, both verbally in smaller meetings with their leaders and to the whole company in their scheduled Town Hall Meeting.  My client will also be sharing their strategy and operationalizing plan visually through strategic pictures on their office walls and via Metronome Growth Systems.



Strategic Pictures

 Metronome Growth Systems (aka MGS or Metronome) has been a great tool for my clients as well as for me as a coach.  My clients have been using Metronome for almost 2 years, and it has been invaluable for them to ensure the plan is clear, visible, and alive.  Metronome creates a real time playing field for all team members to share their progress day-to-day, week-to-week, month-to-month, quarter-over-quarter, all aligned to the company’s  BHAG, 3HAG, 1HAG and 90 day plan.

 The newest feature of MGS, set to be released Sunday Nov. 11th, is the long awaited “SWIMLANES”. I am so excited to have this feature on the platform as it now supports the visualization and operationalization of the 3HAG!  This is a big deal for my clients to now be able to align their 3HAG with their 1HAG through the use of SWIMLANES.   We have been doing this on the wall with paper and Post-It notes (I recommend continuing with this practice), but with SWIMLANES on the platform, the whole team can see the alignment no matter where they are.

                                                                                                                                 SWIMLANES on the Wall               

There are some very key things to understand on how the 3HAG relates to the SWIMLANES, that relate to the 1HAG, that relate to the 90-day plan and priorities.  I have seen many  versions of SWIMLANES but a truly validated version has a SWIMLANE for each strategic Differentiator, high level Milestones in the SWIMLANE to ensure the Differentiator is achieved through a breakdown of Milestones, and the Annual Priorities for focus in any one year and 90-day Priorities. This keeps alignment to the plan alive as we ensure the whole team is focusing on the right thing, today.

There has also been a lot of discussion on what the relationship between the 3-5 Differentiators, SWIMLANE Milestones, Corporate Annual Priorities, Corporate Quarterly Priorities, and Individual Quarterly Priorities are.

Individual Quarterly Priorities – These are tactical priorities that may or may not have sub-priorities.   They can be stand alone or related to a Corporate Quarterly Priority, or a Corporate Annual Priority, or a SWIMLANE Milestone, or a Differentiator.

Corporate Quarterly Priorities – This is a tactical priority for the company for the quarter.  It can be stand alone or related to Corporate Annual Priority, or a SWIMLANE Milestone, or a Differentiator.

Corporate Annual Priorities – This is a tactical priority for the company for the year.   It can be stand alone or related to a SWIMLANE Milestone, or a Differentiator.

SWIMLANE Milestone – This is not a priority!  It is a high level  milestone that must be met in order to ensure the Differentiator gets in place in the timeframe set out.  It is related to a Differentiator.

Differentiators -  These are the 3-5 interdependent activities that the team decided upon that must be put in place to create the company's unique and valuable position.


SWIMLANES on Metronome Growth Systems platform

SWIMLANES in Metronome Growth Systems

SWIMLANES are not a project plan. SWIMLANES are a place where the company brainstorms the large milestones that must be in place to ensure the Differentiator gets in place.  The rule of “less is better” is key for SWIMLANES.  It is recommended they are kept at the highest level.

SWIMLANES are the ultimate pivot point to executing strategy, by ensuring leadership teams are continuously discussing where they are going, how are they going to get, and by when. SWIMLANES in MGS will allow us all to monitor and celebrate the success of the lanes as the milestone are achieved!!  So dive in and enjoy your SWIM!!!

 For more information about Metronome Growth Systems and the SWIMLANES feature, email

 -Shannon Byrne Susko





In: Business, CEO, Coaching, growth, success, leadership, 3HAG, MGS, leading, teams, education, learning, teambuilding, humansystem

Are You Investing Enough in Team Learning and Team “Practice”? Here Are 5 “Drills” to UP Your Team Education Game in Your Company to Get a Team Win.

Shannon SuskoOct 26, 2018

Last week, I attended, with my clients, the ScaleUp 2018 Summit in Denver Colorado and wow - what a great lineup of speakers! Each speaker provided a unique take on a shared theme and provided useful tools and stories to apply to our own businesses and lives. But personally, a highlight of the Summit for me was seeing that so many of my clients – full leadership teams – attended as well. 


From attending too many educational conferences to count, I can honestly say that when you allow yourself to give full attention and go in with an open mind, any speaker can leave you with a piece of knowledge or tool that can help you grow. This is why I strongly encourage our clients and their teams to attend, and set them up for success when they do.


From the past two ScaleUp Summits, we have found that the most impactful way that we set clients up for success in team learning and growth is with our additional half-day post-summit. With our clients, we meet in a conference room in the hotel of the summit, for about 4 hours the day following the summit, to discuss what they just experienced over the previous two days.  We call this the “Summit Roundup”. The Summit Roundup provides an opportunity for all who attended to work together to decide what they should implement in their company, when they should implement and how they should implement.  It is a proven fact that leadership teams (and whole companies) that learn together, win together – and that is exactly what the Summit Roundup fosters.


This is one of the highest rated sessions of the week by our clients because they get a chance to interact with the rest of their team and discuss the speakers.  They talk about the impact the content might have their companies and then decide together, as a team, what they should do.  It is not just the CEO coming back to the office with the latest and greatest “fad” idea or system! It’s the leadership team coming back to the rest of the company with what they feel will be most impactful at this time to move the company forward, AND a plan on how to implement.


We now know team learning is essential, but other than conferences/summits, how do we encourage and practise it consistently? Here are 5 “drills” to increase team learning, and the practising of it, at your company:

  1. Instill a Regular Rhythm of Learning 12 Months in Advance –From my experience as a CEO,we learned that if you don’t plan for learning events in advance that you are too busy to attend. our leadership team planned in our annual planning session our rhythm of learning for the year. We booked in all events, internal and external, that we would be investing time and money into. We did this as both a team and on an individually level.  By doing this, we had committed to learning and to the “practicing”, together.
  2. Make Learning a Forecasted Annual Investment – Because we made a plan as outlined in #1 – we agreed upon the amount of dollars to invest and ensure this was in our forecasted P&L plan for the year.
  3. Implement a Team Book Club – As a CEO, and as a coach, I cannot recommend this step enough! It is so powerful to get the whole company reading the same books at the same time.  Then as a team, as a company, as a leadership team, we can decide what and if we should implement to evolve how we are “playing” to win. 
  4. Attend a Conference or Workshop as a Team – Make this a priority for the leadership team. As you know, my client’s leadership teams just attended the ScaleUp Summit 2018 in Denver.  These summits take place twice a year and have the top thought leaders that are trending now speak. They get the leadership team together to evolve cohesively and get them learning together.  This is one of the best investments you can make.  For the rest of the team, look for local opportunities for workshops and conferences for all the same reasons!
  5. Lunch and Learns –L+L’s are a great way for people to grow in two ways: one, by being the presenter, or a team of presenters, of the learning, getting to mastery. And two, by learning from one another.


Currently, we are all in the fourth quarter of the calendar year. Make sure you add a “Team Learning Plan” to your annual planning agenda.  You will not regret you did! This is one of the best discussions you and your team can have around Investing in your team for growth.  Remember: teams that learn together, win together!!


-Shannon Byrne Susko




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In: Business, CEO, Coaching, growth, success, leadership, 3HAG, MGS, leading, teams, education, learning, teambuilding, humansystem