‘Tis the season for resolutions and goal-setting. Setting solid company goals is one of the most important–and one of the most difficult–things that a business leader must do.
Truth is, world-class businesses don’t get that way merely because they are great at setting goals. Goal-setting can, in fact, be an exercise in futility when those goals are later abandoned or unmet, resulting in frustration and false-starts.
There are plenty of helpful strategies for goal setting including the classic SMART acronym (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound) but even the smartest goals will only be achieved when there is a system in place which serves as an infrastructure to support them.
The vast majority of businesses will never be sold or passed down to the next generation. This may be because they spend their energies mired in the day-to-day business tasks and set short-sighted goals which focus on the commodities and services that are produced by the business such as selling more widgets, open more locations, gain more followers, and so on.
How do you know if your business infrastructure is ready for taking on goal-setting? Consider how completely and easily you’re able to address the following three questions:
1. What is the timeline of the completion of this goal? Setting a timeline involves far more than just identifying a completion date. A smart goal must include a schedule that has benchmarks of progress along the way and touch-base meetings with stakeholders.
2. What core business objective does this goal address? It’s easy to get distracted by things that we feel we should do because of market conditions, competitor pressures, or other circumstances. Before we set an organizational goal in place, however, we must be sure that we identify the ‘why’ behind it and include measurable data that we can use to determine the success of the efforts towards the completion of the goal.
3. Who is accountable for the outcomes? If something is everyone’s job then it’s really no one’s job. Clear accountability is one of the most essential pieces of effective goal-setting. Accountability must address the parts as well as the whole. Who will be responsible for meeting the benchmarks of the timeline? Who is responsible for measuring and reporting results? What are the expectations of outcomes along the way to the completion of the overall goal?
Without straightforward answers to these questions, your business may not be ready to take on goal-setting. Instead, let 2019 be the year that you break the mold from setting goals. Instead, resolve to take an honest look at your existing business infrastructure and focus on building a systematic approach to your operations that will bridge the gap between being a business that is successful day-to-day and becoming one that is truly world class.