Creating Company Goals
Most companies spend time developing a mission statement, corporate goals and objectives. This is certainly commendable and necessary. However, few companies take time to develop a company strategy that helps them reach those goals. Most will go about business as usual and hope they reach the finish line. Developing a strategic plan to reach those goals must be something management dedicates time and energy towards; otherwise, eventually it may not make much difference what the goals are. Companies set goals, obviously, to improve areas within the company they are struggling with. Goals are also set to continue improving areas the company is doing well in.
When thinking about areas of your business that you would like to improve it can be helpful to get and outside perspective. Here is a fun exercise that you can use to look at your business from a different perspective.
Let’s pretend for a moment that your company decided to enter the Olympic Games as a competitor. Yes, as a competitor or an athlete of sorts. What if those you had to compete against where other businesses just like yours. Think for a moment about the different events you would compete in. Here are some questions for you ask yourself:
- Where would you compete against?
- Would you compete in the new business development event?
- Would you compete in the production efficiency or product quality event?
- How about the customer service event? Would you compete there?
- What events would you compete in to win?
You should select at least five “Olympic Events” that your company would compete in.
Gold, Silver and Bronze
Once you have selected the five events that your company would compete in, next is to determine what you would need to do in order to earn a Gold Medal. Ask yourself the following questions:
- What does a Gold Medal performance look like?
- What does a Silver Medal performance look like?
- What does a Bronze Medal performance look like?
When you can clearly define what a Gold Medal looks like and what it takes to win a gold medal, you and your team will be more likely to achieve that goal. Before moving onto the next stage of things, do a little self evaluation on how your company is currently performing in those Olympic Evens you picked out. Ask yourself, “Where does my team rank right now? Are we currently winning a medal, or is there some work to be done to get to this level? If you are not at a medal level, what are the areas that need to be improved in order for your team to win a medal in the “Olympic Games?”
The areas that you need to improve your team’s performance represent excellent opportunities for specific goals. Most everyone knows the SMART acronym for goal setting (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely). Using this formula managers can set specific goals that will help them improve their performance and better prepare them to compete in the market place (Olympic Games).
Determine your Strategy
Now that you have some specific goals in place, it is time to turn your attention to developing a corporate strategy to achieve those goals. As an example let’s talk about Men’s Gymnastic for a minute. There are six Olympic events in men’s gymnastics. Gymnasts compete individually on each event and they also compete collectively as a team. As with many sports, gymnasts win medals when the judges award them with a higher score than their competitor. Gymnasts will score the highest points in one of two ways:
- Performing tricks and routines better than anyone else.
- Successfully performing a new trick or skill that no one has seen before (the judges love that sort of thing!).
These are the two main strategies Olympic gymnasts use. Business owners can use these same strategies in their business to beat their competition. You know where your company currently stands with regard to the five “events” that you would like to compete in. Now you need to decide what strategy best fits your company’s abilities and what will help them stand out above the competition. Here are some questions to ask yourself:
- What can I perform ten times better than my competitor?
- What is something new that I can do that my competitors have not even thought of yet?
- What matters most to the “judges” (customers) and how can score the most points with them?
If you have a new, innovative idea that will benefit your company, you may want to put the majority of your focus in that area. Focusing on just one “Olympic event” can still win you a Goal Medal. If your company can successfully compete in multiple areas this may be the best strategy to use. Whatever strategy you adopt, plan what you will need in each of your five areas to make your company succeed. Continually think: “How can I score higher than my competitor?” Determine what support you will need from the management team. What do you need to do to get employees on-board and motivated to accomplish these goals? What are the other important details that need to be accounted for to make your goals and strategies succeed?
Practice and Stay Motivated
As a manager you must always keep your “gold medal” and strategic plan in front of your employees. Use visual reminders such as posters and signs to keep the goals and plans fresh in your mind as well as the mind of your team. Talk often about your goals during meetings. Understand the goal and the strategy well enough that you can teach the basics of this plan to someone in thirty seconds.
Go for the Gold
Like the Olympics you should have a reward for winning. When you succeed and win in your events that you are competing in, it is fair to “win a medal”. Many companies offer special recognitions, certificates or awards to honor the achievements of their team. Don’t wait until the year end party. Do it now! When your team has put forth their best efforts to make your plan succeed, congratulate them on their success. No matter what your successes are, if you and your team have reached your goals and made a difference in the company, let your team know they did a great job. Reward and recognize them. Nothing feels as good as a gold medal.