Wednesday, March 8, 2017

6 Steps to Setting Business Goals and Objectives

Business goals set the tone on what is important to the business so that work is directed to achieving what is important. Goals help businesses reach new levels and advancing in the marketplace, plus help motivate the workforce and give employees direction in their decision making.

Short-terms goals should be achievable in less than one year, while long-term goals take over a year to accomplish. Long-term goals should be adjusted annually for changes in the competitive landscape, technical innovations, and societal trends.

Steps to Set Business Goals and Objectives

1. Review the mission and vision statements. If the business does not already have a mission or vision statement, then take the time to develop them. These statements should clearly state what the business hopes to achieve. For example, Nike’s mission statement is “To be the world’s leading sports and fitness company.”

2. Brainstorm ideas. Brainstorming ideas on how to achieve the mission and vision statements, do not focus on the specifics or if certain ideas or realistic. The key here is to write down as many ideas as possible without stopping. If you have a management team, then set a meeting for everyone to brainstorm ideas together.

3. Select the top 1 to 3 ideas. Sort through all of the ideas and look for the ones that clearly are linked to the mission and vision statements, realistic and profitable. The strongest ideas will become your business goals. Do not select more than three goals, as if you divide up your resources to achieving too many goals then you are more likely to not achieve any. Both long-term and short-term goals can be chosen in this step.

4. Make these goals S.M.A.R.T. For a goal to be S.M.A.R.T, is should specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely. For instance, instead saying the goal is to “reduce inventory costs”, state that the goal is to “reduce costs by 10% before April 31, 20xx.” Goals that are S.M.A.R.T are easier to measure progress and helps keep everyone on track for success.

5. Set milestones and progress measurements. Break the goals up into milestones with deadlines. This serves as a way to measure progress, keep employees on track, and ensure that the goal will be met in the desired timeframe. These milestones should also be S.M.A.R.T.

6. Assign responsibility to each goal. John C. Maxwell, an expert in leadership, once said, “A pessimist complains about the wind. An optimist expects it to change. A leader adjusts the sails.” Find leaders in the organization to take responsibility that each goal gets fulfilled. Provide the leader with the overall big picture of what the business hopes to accomplish, as well as what their specific responsibilities and deadlines are.

Achieving Business Goals and Objectives

It is not only important to set business goals and objectives, but employees should be motivated in order for a higher level of success. Employees should be involved as much as possible in developing the goals so that they feel a personal involvement.

After the goals are set, make sure that everyone in the organization clearly understands what the goals are and what their roles are on achieving the new goals. If the business created a new vision and mission statement, or revised the previous one, then communicate these with employees so that they understand where the company is heading. The more employees that are on board with the company’s mission and the new goals, the more likely the business will see success.

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