Many people confuse these two strategic initiatives. Goals are high level in content such as, where we want the business to be in a specified timeframe. An example of a goal could be “to reduce capital spend by 10% by December 31st, 2015”. The “objectives” are how tasks will be delivered in order to attain the goal that has been identified.
This is not an exercise that is done in a vacuum. The objective of goal setting is to improve performance within your company or business unit which will have numerous stakeholders. Additionally, you may find other business units that can leverage your goals and help pay for or provide additional resources or assistance to help achieve your goals faster. Sometimes you find that support of your ideas come from the strangest places within your organization. One of the benefits of having key stakeholders participate in the strategy discussions and development is that it builds commitment.
The idea of the strategy session to identify and prioritize organizational goals is to be able to feel safe when submitting new thoughts and ideas. The manager’s involvement will offer more information regarding these new ideas that can add support to the business case, and this also promotes team building within the management team.
Objectives are designed using SMART criteria. (Specific, Measurable,Attainable/ Assignable, Relevant and Time-bound) As the objectives are developed during the strategy sessions it is these criteria that the objectives should be agreed to by all stakeholders. Strategy sessions can be accomplished in a number of ways. Managers can develop objectives for their specific area and communicate through email but a better idea is to schedule a one day off site strategy day. We have participated in both methods and the latter is much more effective for two reasons. First, the email method becomes mundane. Managers respond to the request just to get the task off their desks. Secondly, the staff isn’t always included in the strategy and objectives and therefore it is not well understood by all.
When key stakeholders are present and working together to develop goals and objectives, creativity is enhanced and the results are of higher quality. Objectives that are attainable are developed because the team was involved as part of the development process and therefore feel more responsible for success, making the expectation of success much higher. Our next blog will detail a case study illustrating an off-site strategy day.
When the management team has collectively bought into the goals and objectives, specific tactics and ultimately projects may need to be initiated to deliver these objectives. The projects should be managed out of the Project Management Office, as a program, that can be monitored and reported, in order to identify and monitor the business benefits the projects are having on the organization. The results of these projects can then be brought back into the strategy session in subsequent years and clear performance improvement metrics can be developed. This can identify weaknesses in the organization
that need support, or enterprise changes that need to be implemented in order to improve competitive advantage.
For more on Strategic Planning for Goals and Objectives and consultation contact Heather Cartwright or Scott Savage at Logixsource today.