by Granville Triumph
Everything you do for your organization should contribute to a very specific goal. It could be an individual or departmental goal, or it could be an overarching organizational goal. The goal could be something you want to accomplish this week, or it could be part of a five-year business plan.
Business goals are important because they give your organization and employees direction. They clarify what the organization plans to achieve and guide the decision-making process. They help you measure performance and results. They unify your staff and make your leadership team more cohesive. Essentially, business goals are the end game for your strategic vision.
Obviously, the leader of the organization is the central figure in not only establishing realistic goals, but executing a business strategy in order to achieve those goals. Once you’ve set goals, begun to execute your strategy and see dividends from those efforts, it can be easy to set it and forget it. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
The problem with that approach is that most businesses can’t afford to wait for something to go wrong and react to it. You need to be proactive by reviewing business goals on a regular basis and making adjustments to keep your business on the right path.
Is your organization performing as well as it should? Are you still on track to achieve your goals? If not, why? Does the problem lie with process, people or strategy? Maybe changing market conditions have made your goals unrealistic. On the other hand, if market conditions have changed in your favor, you may need to raise the bar and set loftier goals. If your business is moving in a different direction than you originally planned, you need to review your goals and make sure they are aligned with your new direction.
As you review and adjust your goals, think about what resources you need to compete and succeed under current market conditions, which will inevitably change and go through cycles. Organizational needs change. Customer needs change. Key performance indicators (KPIs) change. Employees change. Partnerships change. Technology is constantly changing. All of these factors must be taken into consideration when business goals are reviewed.
When reviewing your goals, it’s a good idea to assess your core business activities and the products or services you sell. What makes them successful? What can be improved? Would it be worthwhile to introduce a complementary product or service? Evaluate the efficiency and effectiveness of your organization as a whole, from people to technology. What skills are lacking? Does your office space or facility still enable you to meet your business goals? Is your IT infrastructure capable of supporting your goals? How can you improve efficiency and productivity? Are you in a strong enough financial position to make any necessary changes or upgrades?
Externally, assess the competitive landscape and the current state of the business environment. Have new players or threats to your organization emerged? Do you have fewer competitors than you did one year ago? Has the state of the economy changed in a way that affects your operations or your customers’ buying habits? Have new regulations been introduced that are forcing you to change business processes?
Goals, like any other part of your business, require assessment and maintenance. Because business goals affect every aspect of what you do, you need to take a comprehensive, strategic approach to reviewing business goals. This will help you address weaknesses, build upon strengths, and provide your organization with a solid foundation and clear direction for achieving success.