The establishment of business goals is often viewed by management and staff as a system akin to New Year’s resolutions, an activity that people engage with great enthusiasm but is forgotten within a few weeks. What successful businesses understand is that the process of defining company wide goals allows people to look beyond day-to-day operations and strive for something more.
Your business goals don’t belong on a shelf in a dust-covered binder. It is a critical part of your strategic plan and should be as dynamic and responsive as your business.
To create these goals you should:
Include as much of the staff as possible
Key decision makers must participate in establishing the goals of your organization but your business can also benefit from meetings with staff normally excluded from this process. Mangers of smaller divisions, key employees within specific departments, and the staff of support services should also participate in goal setting. While this may increase the time and effort of the goal setting process, you will gain two valuable benefits. First, you may learn about issues that impact the function of your organization in ways you hadn’t appreciated before. Second, you will have stronger employee buy-in to your goals and plans.
Get everyone on the same page
During this process, you and your company will learn a many things about yourselves. Often, one such thing is that people have different ideas of what the company’s goals are or should be. Take this opportunity to clearly define the company’s short and long-term goals and help everyone appreciate how their work contributes toward those goals.
Set measurable outcomes and assign responsibilities
Your goals are part of your strategic plan for your business. People need to understand their part in this process. Within the goal setting process, identify exactly what is to be accomplished within specified time frames and who is responsible for achieving the various parts of the plan. Tie this information with performance reviews to assure that the goals set today are not forgotten tomorrow.
Review and modify the goals
Create a process whereby key players can evaluate the goals at established times. Short term goals should be reviewed frequently and be met quickly. The mid-range goals become the new short term goals and this process continues until the ultimate goals are met. However, part of this process is to be realistic. A successful plan will adjust to new information and remain relevant to the company and its employees.
The creation and pursuit of specific organizational goals is critical to a successful business. Seek outside consultation, if needed for clarity and support. The key is to know where you are and where you want to go, create a plan to get there, and take actions to arrive at this destination.