In any industry, goals are necessary to provide employees with direction. When your team members know exactly what management expects from them; when they’re aware of the overall objectives that you’re working towards, they can focus their attention on achieving the desired outcome.
To that end, it’s very likely that you’ve already specified intended goals for your team. But did you know that only a third of senior managers can correctly identify their firms’ top three priorities? In which case, it’s fair to say that there’s always room for improvement.
With that in mind, here’s a step-by-step guide to set better business goals.
Before mapping out objectives
#1. Always start with a SWOT Analysis
A SWOT—Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats—analysis is a high-level strategic planning model to help you clearly identify areas of improvement in your company.
#2. Benchmark your performance against the competition
Find out where you stand against other companies that offer the same product or service. This can help identify which areas you need more focus on.
#3. Review your past performance
Take a step back and evaluate your past performance—did you do as well as you thought you did? What areas can you improve on? What needs more work?
#4. Consult your team
As leaders, we often have such a clear vision of what we want our company to achieve that we fail to solicit insight from the very members of the team who will make it happen—our employees.
Talking to your team though means you gain very valuable insight from the trenches. You want feedback and input from team members who will actually be doing the legwork. This is the only way to know if your goals and plans are actually feasible and executable.
Mapping out these key points allows you to really assess what potential challenges you have to prepare for and what opportunities you can leverage on. Only then can you set really actionable and insightful targets for your organization.
During your goal-setting exercise
#1. Tie it all back to your company’s mission and vision
At the end of the day, better business goals should always circle back to your overall company mission and vision. Taking this big picture approach means you’re setting goals for the long-term.
#2. Be specific and descriptive
Once you start putting your goals on paper, try to be as descriptive and specific as possible. For instance, simply saying that you want to “grow company revenue in the next year” isn’t enough. Instead, think about what it will it take to achieve this goal and say, “sign 10 new clients during the first quarter of the year.”
#3. Make sure your goals are measurable
Remember, you cannot track what you cannot measure. So, be sure that you’re actually setting goals that are quantifiable.
Start by thinking about what you want to accomplish and then consider it in the context of your business actually being able to achieve them. How do you plan to go about determining its success? Asking this question and finding the answer should help give you a clear idea on how you can quantify your goals.
#4. Identify the resources needed to achieve your goals
Sometimes, you tend to get carried away by the potential of your objectives that you forget to plan and map out the steps needed to achieve them. Make sure you consider and identify what specific actions and resources you need to get them done. Be realistic about them too. If you have any goals that seem too big or large, break them down. Set smaller, achievable targets that lead to your main objective.
After, follow-up on your goals
#1. Check on your progress regularly
It’s important that your team stays focused on achieving the goals that you’ve set—especially if you’re setting long-term, better business goals. No matter how much planning went into it, prepare for the possibility that some adjustments may have to be made as you work towards it. Be flexible.
#2. Share your goals with the whole team
Share your better business goals with everyone in the organization and get them on board. You want the whole company to work towards your objectives and understand how achieving, or not achieving them, will impact the business.
#3. Reward your team for a job well done
Working towards and achieving your better business goals requires diligence and patience. It may seem difficult at times, but realizing your goals is a rewarding and fulfilling experience. To that end, be sure to acknowledge achievements and milestones along the way to help motivate your employees to keep going.
Take note of these goal-setting tips and combine it with these business communication guidelines from our exclusive ebook on the basics of office communication.