Your company may spend a lot of time defining, tracking, and evaluating strategic goals, but do you have a solid plan for achieving them? According to a survey reported in the Harvard Business Review, an estimated 67% of well-formulated business strategies fail. Many of these failures occur when management and team members lose sight of goals while responding to the daily pressures and challenges that face any business.
For large and small companies alike, strategic goals are meaningless without corresponding goal-focused actions. Management, teams, and team members should engage in daily activities that further the company’s strategic goals–but won’t happen without an actionable plan.
Setting the Right Goals
Successful strategic planning begins with a vision of where a business wants to be at a specific point in the future. Organization-wide strategic goals can be developed from this vision. Goals should be SMART (an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound). Using the SMART framework means that all the details about a goal have been thought about before setting it, including how to track its progress and a timeframe for completion.
The SMART methodology can be used for to set goals at every level of an organization. According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, “The best thing about the SMART framework is that it can be utilized for any given scenario for both personal and professional issues. You can use the framework to advance your career, get in shape, or even increase your team’s efficiency and productivity.”
Setting the right SMART goals for a business begins with executives and management. After defining organizational goals, they should continually support and champion them. Team leaders can use the goals to define team goals; team members can use team goals to decide on daily activities and areas of focus. The strategic goals are addressed, albeit in different ways, at every level of the organization.
Outcome vs. Process Goals
Many organizations have two types of goals: outcome and process. An outcome goal has as its target the desired outcome; a process goal is related to the steps needed to attain a target. In a sales environment, an example of an outcome goal would be signing 10 new clients per month, while a process goal would be making 100 prospect calls to help sign new clients. The second goal relates to an action, while the first relates to a result.
Deciding when to set a process goal rather than an outcome goal is often a critical step to success in reaching the goal. Process goals are often the best place to start when planning for growth since they can help the entire company prepare for more business.
How Goals Help Focus Daily Activities
Once SMART goals are in place for the organization, each team has a direction for planning. Goals that are shared by everyone can improve productivity and foster mutual support and cooperation between teams. They also can provide task direction. On a day-to-day basis, team members at all levels can assess whether the tasks they’re working on are aligned with the strategic goals. This individual empowerment can be a source of significant momentum across the entire organization.
For goals to succeed, management needs to do more than just talk about them. Accountability processes must be put in place that tracks goal progress and determines when new goals are needed. Since some goals fail or are abandoned, there also need to be processed to analyze changes in strategic direction. Promoting accountability through standard processes sends a message to all about responsibility and commitment.
Adapting to Change
Working towards strategic goals is an ongoing process that requires activity tracking for both outcome and process goals on a regular basis, preferably weekly. Progress needs to be continually evaluated to allow for changes in direction in response to challenges that arise.
According to Tanya Prive of Legacy Transformational Consulting, “Businesses grow, they shrink, and they evolve over time. To execute brilliantly, the strategic plans need to adapt in real-time to the ultimate vision or future looking to be realized.” Executives and team leaders need to continue to track metrics, determine progress and readjust plans as needed. Sharing information about progress with all stakeholders is a critical part of success.
If you want to stay on track with your company’s yearly goals from the top of the company, to the interns, contact coAmplifi today.