Would you choose to take steps to strengthen your business and enhance its reputation if it meant improving your organization’s ultimate performance? The goal (no pun intended!) of this blog is to lay out the process you’ll need to do just that. Goal setting is important because it helps outline the specific path that an organization must take to achieve desirable outcomes. It helps provide direction and assess organizational progress.
Setting measurable and attainable corporate goals in which all employees understand and act upon their roles to adhere to the business strategy, means everyone is consciously working in tandem, resulting in better, smarter, faster outcomes. The final result is improved performance across your entire organization.
Whether individually or as part of a team, setting specific and time-bound goals is most impactful, as those enable you to be more effective in guiding your performance, clarifying priorities and evaluating your results. Having goals in place unites your team to work together to achieve a shared objective. If there is no clear objective in place, people are less likely to share, collaborate, and help each other. It’s most helpful to create a timeline with priorities listed, along with the deadline date(s).
Establishing clear, well-defined goals can:
- Help grow your business, product or audience
- Inform everyone on the direction your business is heading in
- Improve collaboration and teamwork
- Achieve faster and better positive outcomes
Before you begin writing down your goals, it’s important to know what areas your business needs to improve in, or would like to improve in. If this in unclear, be proactive and set up a meeting with leadership to clarify what the priorities are for the coming year. Be sure to regularly step back and review your goals to make sure they match with strategic objectives and future plans.
Here are some helpful tools and strategies you can use to help in the goal-setting process:
- SWOT analysis – identify your company’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats
- Benchmarking – research similar businesses in your industry or location and compare industry averages related to income and expenses to determine how your business is performing
- Research – study the market of your business to identify customer needs, trends and economic or technological changes
Goal setting and tips for success
Setting SMART (Specific, Measureable, Achievable, Relevant and Timely) goals can help you evaluate the goals you want to achieve. Write these down and give yourself a deadline in which to achieve them.
- Specific – be clear about what you want to achieve
- Measurable – make sure the goal can be measured, so that you can track when a goal is achieved
- Achievable – check that your goal is something you have the time, money and resources to meet
- Relevant – ensure your goal is relevant to the direction you want your business to head in, for example, reducing turnover or increasing profits
- Timely – set a realistic deadline for completing the goal
Consider these items when planning your strategy to achieve business goals:
- time frame – how long do you expect a task will take to complete (include start and finish dates)
- actions – describe the actions you are going to take in detail (e.g. research four t-shirt suppliers and make a list of their pros and cons)
- responsibilities – write down the person or people responsible for achieving each step
- resources – detail your budget, staffing requirements and any supplies you might need
- the desired outcome – describe what you expect from your actions and how you’ll know when the goal has been achieved
You did it! You put in the time and hard work to accomplish the goals you set.
Along the way there are sure to be many milestones and maybe a few challenges. Try to keep a success log – this is a system you can use to help measure your goals and record your accomplishments. Keeping track of your success is extremely motivating and it can also help you to diagnose any problems or issues along the way, allowing you to make adjustments.
Be sure to take time to recognize your accomplishments! Achieving your business goals is a gratifying process, and one that needs to be celebrated. Regularly updating your goals should be an ongoing process as business priorities shift and the industry climate changes. Don’t forget to take the time to reflect on your great work and continue using all the steps and methods above to make sure improved performance is always the end goal.