Setting & Reaching Goals

Businessman holding red dart push on target. Business strategy planning success target goals. Business development concept

What are objectives?

Objectives are the result of choosing and concretizing the goals set for a person or a team. They are directly determined by the needs of a particular group and its circumstances. Formulating goals, especially overall ones, is a must in order to draw up a development strategy that becomes the basis for effective planning and setting tactical goals.

When setting goals for business operations, you start from a few key factors:

The company's operations
Resources that can be spent on development
Built-in analysis to keep track of the starting point and follow progress during different stages.

The most common key objectives for businesses:

Maintain existing level. When the company has made some concrete progress and must remain at the new level.
Development. You must increase your sales or market presence.
Cutbacks. You must liquidate a failed or poorly functioning venture with as little loss as possible or roll out a new one with maximum utilization of existing resources.
Attack or defense. Your relationships with your competitors require determination and therefore the goals and the chosen strategy must match your attitude.

The overall goal must be as concrete as possible and there must also be a clearly stated time limit for when it must be reached. In addition, you must state which criteria are to be used to assess whether the goal has been achieved or not.

Methods of setting goals

There are several established techniques that help in formulating goals. To some extent they overlap, but in part they touch on different aspects of goal formulation. We’ve looked at some of the most popular, choose the one that suits you best.

SMART

SMART is an abbreviation where each letter stands for a criterion for how effectively the set goals can be reached. It is one of the most famous techniques and it is used both for personal development and for business development.

Let’s take a closer look at what the letters stand for:

S – concrete (specific). When you formulate the goal, you should describe it as concretely as possible and also include the small details.

M – measurable You can select and follow criteria to understand how you are moving towards the goal.

A – achievable. There are sufficient means to achieve the goal.

R – relevant. Working towards and achieving this goal leads to an improvement in the situation.

T – time frames. There must be a deadline for when the goal must be achieved.

PURE

The name of this method is also an abbreviation, but unlike SMART which has a more practical focus, PURE is based on values.

This PURE consists of:

P – positive. No negative wording, we only work towards what is good for us.

U – comprehensible (understandable). The task must be formulated as concretely as possible so that it does not leave room for different interpretations.

R – relevant. Same criteria as in SMART.

E-ethical. Achieving your goals should not negatively affect anyone else. If the goals are about asserting yourself against competitors, this approach can be counterproductive.

CLEAR

Another method whose name is an abbreviation.

This is what the letters stand for:

C – joint (collaborative). Every goal should be a challenge, a next step to conquer the next level of opportunity, and every team member should achieve it.

L – limited. Everything should be strictly regulated: resources, time frames and measurement criteria.

E – emotional (emotional). The goal must arouse emotions both in the person who formulates the goal and the employees who contribute to achieving it.

A – successive (appreciable). Divide the path towards the goal into sub-goals.

R – flexible (refinable). During the work process, you have to keep an eye on what is happening around you and adjust the goals accordingly.

You can combine SMART, PURE, CLEAR because the criteria in the different methods work together and in some cases are the same.

Target tree

Charles W. Churchman and Russell L. Ackoff developed a method which means that the goals are formulated in the form of tasks that are subordinate to each other at different levels.

The data is divided into the following levels:

  1. main goal
  2. primary and secondary targets
  3. sub-tasks or sub-goals
  4. problems that need to be solved
  5. concrete tasks that can be assigned to a contractor and control how they are carried out.

Each level is connected to all the others, and the arrangement of the tasks looks graphically like a tree with different branches. When creating the tree, you must stick to the algorithm to create a picture of how the tasks relate to each other, which makes it easier to carry them out.

There are a variety of methods and if you look closely at them, you will see that the common denominator is that throughout the process you have to follow how the implementation of the goals is going. In order to succeed in this, you need to have access to relevant numbers and data, and for that you need programs that specialize in just this.

Mistakes when setting goals

It is often the same things that cause it on the way to the goal and the expected result. Let’s take a look at them.

The overall goals are ignored

If we focus on the tactical tasks without taking into account the strategic development plan, we cannot fully assess progress.

Increasing profit is not a strategic goal, because it does not bring development, but improving the reputation of the brand and raising the quality of service are excellent examples of aspects that you profit from working with.

Goals are formulated from a negative perspective

It is not about avoiding loss, but about improving production, one should not ignore risks, but manage them. Don’t run away from problems, but find concrete solutions.

Unclear wording

The goal must be understandable. Otherwise, it will never be achieved or fulfilled in the way one wanted.

The goal does not match reality

When the manager sets a certain goal, but does nothing himself to move the work forward, everyone loses inspiration.

Setting goals is a central aspect of business. But for the objectives to work effectively, the results must be controlled.

There are 4 ingredients to succeed in achieving each individual goal:

  • Put it on paper. It is the only way to make everyone aware of what expectations exist. Everything must be written down in detail. It doesn’t help that you have the details in your head, because your co-workers can’t read your mind.
  • Adjust the plans. Take internal and external factors into account and make operational changes to existing plans.
  • Control. The goal must be measurable and you must know exactly what stage the work is in right now.
  • Delegate. Don’t try to take care of everything yourself, but give each team member a concrete role in working on the task.

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