What is the NCT Goal Framework? Who is it for?

The NCT goal framework is a modern approach to goal-setting.

What is the NCT Goal Framework? Who is it for?

The NCT (Narrative, Commitments, Tasks) framework is a modern, nuanced approach to goal-setting that aims to blend strategic vision with actionable execution.

It offers a comprehensive methodology for organizations to not only set goals but ensure their fulfillment through detailed narratives, clear commitments, and specific tasks.

This article post dives deep into understanding the NCT framework, exploring its components, and identifying who can benefit most from its application.

The contents are:

  1. Introduction to the NCT Goal Framework
  2. Narratives Explained
  3. Commitments Explained
  4. Tasks Explained
  5. Examples of NCT 
  6. Conclusion

1. Introduction to the NCT Framework

The NCT framework stands out from traditional goal-setting methods by emphasizing a narrative-driven approach.
It is built on the premise that effective goal setting is about more than just defining what needs to be achieved—it’s about understanding the 'why', the 'how', and the 'what'.

Narrative: The narrative is the qualitative description that provides context to the goals. It explains why certain goals are essential and how they align with the broader business objectives.
This narrative helps to inspire and provide a big-picture view, making the goals more meaningful for everyone involved.

Commitments: These are specific, measurable achievements that teams aim to accomplish within a set timeframe.
Unlike traditional key results, commitments in the NCT framework are designed to be directly actionable and are crucial in measuring the progress towards the narrative.

Tasks: These are the individual actions or steps that need to be taken to fulfill the commitments.
Tasks are the most granular level of the framework, providing a clear roadmap for teams to follow, ensuring that commitments are met.

2.1. The Importance of Narrative in Goal Setting

Narratives transform traditional goal-setting by incorporating storytelling into the strategic planning process. This element addresses the core of 'why' the goal is important, not just to the organization but to each team member.

Narratives are designed to be engaging and motivating, making them powerful tools for leadership to communicate strategic intents in a relatable way.

Why Narratives Matter:

  • Engagement: They create a more profound connection with the goals by presenting them within a story framework that resonates emotionally with team members.
  • Clarity: By providing context, narratives help team members understand the bigger picture and their role in achieving it.
  • Motivation: A well-crafted narrative can inspire and rally a team around a common cause, boosting morale and productivity.

2.2. Commitments: Binding Aspirations to Reality

Commitments in the NCT framework serve as the bridge between the strategic intent of the narrative and the operational actions of the tasks.

They are explicit promises made by teams to achieve specific results that are direct contributors to the narrative.

Characteristics of Effective Commitments:

  • Measurable: Each commitment must have a clear, quantifiable target that allows for straightforward tracking and assessment.
  • Achievable: They should be ambitious yet realistic, pushing the team but remaining within the bounds of feasibility.
  • Relevant: All commitments must directly support the narrative, ensuring that every effort is aligned with the broader strategic goals.

2.3. Tasks: The Building Blocks of Execution

Tasks are the actionable steps required to fulfill commitments.

They are the most detailed elements in the NCT framework, providing a clear guideline of what needs to be done, by whom, and when.

Effective Task Management:

  • Specificity: Tasks need to be well-defined and specific to avoid any ambiguity in execution.
  • Ownership: Each task should have a designated owner responsible for its completion, promoting accountability within the team.
  • Flexibility: While tasks are specific, they should also allow for flexibility to adapt to changes or unforeseen circumstances without derailing the overall goal.

3. Who Benefits from the NCT Goal Framework?

The NCT framework is particularly beneficial for mid to large-sized organizations that operate in dynamic environments where flexibility, clarity, and alignment are crucial. It is well-suited for:

  • Product-led Companies: Where rapid innovation and customer feedback loops are common, helping align product development with strategic business goals.
  • Cross-functional Teams: Facilitates better collaboration and understanding across different departments, ensuring that everyone is aligned towards common objectives.
  • Leadership Teams: Provides a clear structure for communicating strategic vision down the chain and ensures that operational activities are aligned with long-term objectives.

4. Examples of the NCT Framework in Action

To illustrate the practical application and versatility of the NCT framework, here are three detailed examples from different industries.

Each example showcases how the Narrative, Commitments, and Tasks components are utilized to drive strategic initiatives and foster significant organizational outcomes.

Example 1: Tech Startup Focused on User Growth

Narrative: "As a fast-growing social media platform, our goal for this quarter is to expand our user base significantly to enhance network effects, creating a more valuable and engaging experience for all users."


  1. Increase user registrations by 30% over the next three months.
  2. Improve user retention rates from first month use by 20% by optimizing the onboarding experience.


  • Develop and launch a targeted digital marketing campaign to attract new users.
  • Implement A/B testing for different onboarding flows to determine the most effective approach.
  • Analyze user behavior during the first 30 days to identify drop-off points and address them with targeted interventions.

This example demonstrates how a tech startup can use the NCT framework to align its growth strategy (Narrative) with specific, measurable outcomes (Commitments) and concrete actions (Tasks) to achieve significant user growth.

Example 2: Healthcare Provider Improving Patient Care

Narrative: "To improve health outcomes and patient satisfaction, we aim to enhance the efficiency and empathy of our patient interactions within our facilities."


  1. Reduce average patient wait times in clinics by 15% within the quarter.
  2. Achieve a patient satisfaction score of over 85% for care and treatment received.


  • Review and optimize the current patient appointment scheduling system.
  • Train staff on new patient interaction protocols that focus on empathy and efficiency.
  • Implement regular patient feedback mechanisms to quickly identify areas for improvement.

In this scenario, the healthcare provider utilizes the NCT framework to focus on specific aspects of patient care, ensuring both operational efficiency and the quality of patient interactions are addressed, aligning daily actions with broader health outcomes and patient satisfaction goals.

Example 3: Educational Institution Boosting Student Engagement

Narrative: "This academic year, we aim to foster a more engaging and supportive learning environment that caters to the diverse needs of our students, thus improving academic performance and personal development."


  1. Increase student participation in extracurricular activities by 40% by the end of the semester.
  2. Enhance student academic performance by raising the average GPA by 0.5 points.


  • Develop and promote a new series of student-led clubs and activities that cater to a broad range of interests.
  • Introduce a tutoring program that pairs upperclassmen with underclassmen in core subject areas.
  • Conduct monthly review sessions with students to assess their academic progress and adjust teaching methods accordingly.

This example highlights how an educational institution can apply the NCT framework to not only enhance academic achievement but also encourage broader student engagement, illustrating the adaptability of NCT across different operational goals.


The NCT Goal Framework offers a robust structure for setting, executing, and achieving goals that are deeply integrated with an organization's strategic vision.

By emphasizing narratives, commitments, and tasks, it goes beyond traditional goal-setting methods to ensure that every level of the organization is engaged, committed, and clear on what needs to be done.

For companies looking to enhance their goal-setting processes with a comprehensive, clear, and communicative approach, NCT provides a proven framework that can lead to meaningful, measurable results.