Strategic Objectives

Do you have strategic 3 – 5 year objectives for your business?
A. No.
B. We know where we are going, but nothing’s on paper.
C. We have vague objectives for the next 3 – 5 years.
D. We have documented strategic 3 – 5 year objectives for our business.
E. We have detailed, documented strategic 3 – 5 year objectives, with appropriate targets and measures, for our business.
[Score:  A=0, B=1, C=2, D=3 and E=4]

Why is this question important?

The difference between where we are (Reality) and where we want to be (Clarity) is what we do (Activity).

Objectives or goals (the purists will of course argue that goals and objectives are different; theoretically they are different, but here in the real world they are used interchangeably) are simply a clearer statement of the visions, specifying the accomplishments to be achieved if the vision is to become real.   The target objectives are clearer statements of the specific activities required to achieve our vision, starting from the current status.

Objectives or goals are declarations that clearly help identify tasks to be achieved by a company.  A business should set various goals, each setting out a desired future situation to work towards.  The reasons for setting goals is to establish a method of monitoring the development and success of your business and setting priorities and tasks for everybody involved in your company, who are responsible for reaching the goals.  They promote focus.

Goals clarify what it is you are trying to accomplish in specific, measureable, documented terms.  To be effective they need to have well defined targets with quantifiable elements that are measureable.

Zig Zagler states that in order to achieve the goals that are important, you must become a ‘meaningful specific’.  ‘Meaningful specifics’ are those who know what they want to achieve in very specific terms and have targets and timeframes written down to help them get there.  People who have vague ideas, with no target dates, never get to the finish line.  Zagler refers to these people as ‘wandering generalities’

The purpose of a well-defined objective, goal or target is to cause ‘meaningful action’.  If goals are not specific and clear then how can they be effectively realised?  A vague goal can never be said to be achieved with authority whereas there can be no doubt when a clear, concise, specific goal is reached.

Setting specific objectives and goals encourages a mind-set focused on success.  It positively focuses energy and resources in a pre-determined direction.   Achieving objectives will boost morale and consequently enhance motivation.

Goals should be based on your mission statement, when setting goals it should be considered, “what do we need to do to accomplish our mission?”

Language can be important in setting effective objectives or goals; ‘action-oriented’ verbs such as deliver, implement, establish, and supply will lay out clearly what needs to be done; weak words such as “facilitate” and “analyse” are vague and allow too much room for mediocrity.

Objectives are frequently written to meet the so-called SMART rules. SMART stands for

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Realistic
  • Time defined.

The more well-defined an objective is, the easier it will be to understand what is required and to measure successful achievement.  Business goals should provide a challenge to those people who are assigned the tasks involved, but should nonetheless be achievable and realistic.