Goal setting is a great way to focus your staff or team on the direction and destination of your organization’s short, medium and long-term journeys. Having clear goals and pathways for them to be achieved will help your organization to grow, give a clear reference point for all team members and help to harness the sum of the abilities of the organization to move it in a unified direction.
Before Setting Your Goals
The process of setting goals must first begin with understanding your organization, the factors influencing it, its stakeholders and the environment it exists in. This can be achieved by performing SWOT analysis, defining the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats for your business. Once you have a clear picture of how your organization is positioned, you can start to create goals that will help to drive it forward.
Methods for Goal Setting
One of the problems with goal setting is actually creating them in the first place, it’s very easy to get bogged down in more immediate concerns and constantly miss out on preparing the canvas for the bigger picture. Set aside the time to dedicate to goal setting, this could be at the start of the month, quarter or year.
To start with it’s good to learn more about how other organizations set out their goals. One of the most popular ways is to make them SMART, that is:
- Time Related
Following this system will ensure that the goals and objectives you pick are actually valid and represent steps that will bring you closer to your desired destination. An example of such a goal might be reducing your organizations expenses.
- Specific: Want to reduce expenditure per unit produced
- Measurable: How much we spend now per unit vs. how much we want to be spending
- Achievable: Review all expenditure to find what can be cut without losing capability or quality
- Relevant: Less expenditure will increase profit
- Time Related: Desired expenditure level to be achieved after one year, with reviews each quarter.
Business Goal Tracking
Once you have established your goals, the next step is tracking your progress towards achieving them. These can be mapped through online progress management software where each status report from team members can be used to measure overall progress towards your objectives.
A methodology used by an increasing amount of high-value companies is OKR, or Objectives and Key Results. These set ambitious objectives that might be considered at the very top end of what is achievable, without being so difficult as to be irrelevant. Thus, not only are they something to strive for but your OKRs also push you and your team to the top end of your potential.
Here’s how to use them for business goal tracking:
- Set 3-5 objectives that are above what you’d expect to achieve
- Phrase the language as a final end-state (e.g. improve repeat sales by 33%)
- Outline three Key Results per Objective, these will be your measurable milestones to track your progress
- These milestones should be measurable and demand evidence of completion (e.g. avoid phrases like “improved customer relations” if you cannot prove it)
- Mark progress on a percentage scale and make it transparent to all team members
- At the end of the initial time frame, assess your final results, what went wrong if the Objective wasn’t achieved and how it could be achieved in the future
Business goal setting and tracking gives both you and your organization direction, as well as informing you about progress at both an individual and project level. Being precise in the setting and measurement of these goals and objectives is therefore very important. Make sure when approaching this process to dedicate the time and attention it deserves, you’ll be thankful when you see the great positive impact it has on your ability to define your team or organization’s direction.