The Importance of Goals in Business
There are so many promises that we make to ourselves and our employees as business owners and managers…we will start using all the technology that we bought…we will regularly review management reports to monitor progress…we will institute better compensation plans…we will finally install that CRM system. Very few of these ever get implemented. The fact is that most business owners are busy running their businesses and don’t have the time to handle the big projects unless they are intentional about doing it and follow a systematic process.
Goal setting comes in many varieties and can range from 5-year strategic plans covering all aspects of company operations to short term goals that address a few key areas.
Following are some guidelines and tips from industry gurus on the task of setting and achieving goals:
1. Have Goals. Simple to state but often the hardest part of any exercise is to recognize the need to set goals. Most companies think they have one goal: to generate revenue which results in profit. However, once you put your mind to it, there are many other components that may be just as important: having a stable workforce, providing excellent goods and services, creating a loyal customer base, identifying successors. Setting goals is a way to measure success as you grow. Without it, an organization becomes tactical, a day-to-day operation with no end in sight.
2. Include the Leadership Team. Setting goals that everyone has been part of formulating ensures success. A top down agenda may be easier to pull together but harder, if not impossible, to implement. Plus, management and supervisors are often closer to the issues being addressed and usually much more knowledgeable about what needs to be achieved. Coming up with the goals is also a great team building exercise. It reminds everyone that this is a journey that you are on together. Setting goals can also help weed out the non-believers. One consultant described the process of setting up a strategic plan like getting on a bus; planning together ensures that you have all agreed to, first, get on the bus, and, second, head in the same direction.
3. Get Help. There are people that make their living doing this. Consultants can be key in many aspects of planning. They can help facilitate the initial discussions, articulate the goals and help you formulate the process for achieving the goals that have been set. They will also bring the extra eyes and ears that an organization may need to hear what everyone is saying and making sure that all viewpoints are taken into consideration.
4. Share the Goals and the Results. Employees like certainty. If management starts implementing goals that they don’t understand or even know about, it could create a chaotic environment. Knowing the end results that the company is trying to achieve, and their role in the process, could be empowering. It may even re-energize a workforce. Especially if those goals include improvements that directly affect them or their salaries.
5. Measure your Goals. One of the most important things to consider when goal setting is its measurability. What metric will confirm your progress? A measureable goal broken down to clear, specific, daily tasks has a greater chance of success. The exhilaration of continued progress is a tremendous motivator.
6. Reassess Goals Midway. Or more often. Markets change. Customers and employees may come and go. Review the goals, progress made and adjust as necessary to make sure the goals are still clear and achievable. Revenue projections may need to be modified based on how financials are trending. Don’t be afraid to switch course if that’s what is needed.
Setting goals by itself is not what leads to a successful organization. However, having goals establishes an orderly and intentional process for achieving results.
Business Insights is hosted by the Law Firm of Kumar, Prabhu, Patel & Banerjee, LLC (KPPB). Sonjui L. Kumar is a founding partner of KPPB Law, and a corporate transactional lawyer representing companies in all aspects of corporate law, including cross-border transactions. Disclaimer: This article is for general information purposes only, and does not constitute legal, tax, or other professional advice.
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