You're bound to have come across those businesses that seem to be powering ahead at a pace which makes you wonder exactly what they put in their drinking water. But it's highly likely that they are on a path, following a clear plan to achieve a specific goal or business objective. Many businesses claim to have clear objectives, yet fail to crystallise exactly what those objectives are and communicate them throughout their organisation. This can result in staff being unclear about where the business is heading, or possibly harbouring uncertainty about their own role within the company. In turn, this can hamper the likelihood of your organisation achieving its goals (I'll focus on goal setting here and write about the significance of clear vision and mission in a separate post).
The importance of goal setting
Setting goals is usually mentioned by senior management within the context of strategy. We often hear something along the lines of "oh yes, we have a strategy for growth and improvement set out in our corporate ...", or similar. The word 'strategy' is used with somewhat carefree abandon these days, with everyone from the social channel administrators to HR dropping it into conversation with a regularity which diminishes the true meaning of the word. But usually, there isn't a strategy, and more often than not there aren't even any strategic objectives for the workforce to align with.
But why is workforce alignment important?
Imagine going to work unsure what lies ahead, not knowing quite which path the business is taking, which products you're going develop for which sector, or even how business growth might affect you. If the team isn't on board with your objectives, the task to achieve those objectives increases in size, timescale, and probably cost too. This not only impacts your profitability, but brings about a slightly hazy approach to the day-to-day running of your operation. Would you set of on a road trip with no map or sat nav to guide you? Seriously, no, you wouldn't!
How can strategy help?
Setting a clear vision and mission can help to summarise where your business 'fits' within the marketplace to all stakeholders - those that work for you and those that buy from you - adding impetus and a better understanding of your strategic intent. Improving the clarity of your objectives will help everyone that encounters your business appreciate the essence of your organisation and where it's going.
Strategy to accelerate growth and improve culture
A truly strategic approach to goal setting can ensure the company-wide adoption of your goals and accelerate the journey to achieving them. Through better understanding of the marketplace, your competitors, your own products or services, you to can strategically position your organisation in the best possible place to move forwards, grow and achieve profitability.
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