Goals: the road map for success

Goals: the road map for success

“The new year stands before us, like a chapter in a book, waiting to be written. We can help write that story by setting goals.” Melody Beattie

Without goals an organisation has no motivation to move forward. If at all it will be operating aimlessly, without any direction. There are certain principles we need to put in place in organisations if they have to be successful. First and foremost leaders need to set goals for their organisations.

What does the organisation need to achieve? What the organisation has to achieve will excite the employees to work towards. The leader, as discussed in the last article, should draw up a vision/mission statement from which other company goals are derived.
From the mission statement the executives will come up with goals on how much profit the organisation should make, how much market share to achieve and how much growth to aim at.
A company that has written goals has a lot to benefit, namely:
•    Written goals help in ensuring focus. Management and employees will focus on areas that are of priority. Management will therefore only approve projects that will help in attaining the set goals.
•    Employees are motivated when they work towards a target. They are excited when they meet that target, that goal. So it is very critical that the employees know what the organisation intends to achieve in the future.
•    Goals help team work. They foster cohesion within management and other employees as everyone knows what he is working towards and how his contribution will aid in meeting the goals.

The goal setting process should involve employees. Employees will feel that their contributions are valued and thus there will be buy-in from them. The employees will own the goals and therefore will ensure that these goals are met. It will no longer be “them and us” but it will be “our” goals.

Setting goals on its own will not guarantee success for an organisation. The goals should be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound. They should be vivid and detailed and future focused.

•    Specific goals are specific in what is to be achieved and also spell out the actions and activities that need to be done towards the achievement of that goal.
•    Each goal should have a means of measuring it. One needs to know whether the goal has been met. We should be able to track the progress of each goal.
If my annual goal is to sell 10 laptops I should be able to monitor my progress on a monthly basis because my goal is measurable. A company should set up a performance measurement system that will be used to measure if company goals are being met.
•    Goals should be achievable. One should ask if the organisation will be able to achieve its goal with the current resources. If not then you either re-look at the goal or source for more resources to ensure the goal is attainable. It would be demotivational if the employees know that the goal that has been set is unattainable.
On the other hand a goal that is too easy to attain will not give the required motivation. You need a goal that gives a sense of achievement to the employees.
•    A company should ensure that the goals are realistic, that is, they are within the capabilities of an organisation. Such goals will spur everyone involved into action to achieve them.
•    Goals should have timeliness. They should have deadlines. When setting goals make sure that there is a starting time, review time, key milestones and the time when the goal should have been attained. Never set open-ended goals because employees will not be motivated as they will not be working to a deadline.

Goal setting will give an organisation a road map for successfully achieving its mission. Organisations should include written goals in their corporate plans. To succeed leaders should maintain a positive focus regardless of what is happening around them. Focus on what made you succeed in the past and not on your past failures unless it’s to learn from them. Most importantly focus on the next action steps you need to take to get closer to the fulfilment of your goal rather than to distractions that present themselves within the environment. Remember that the world was not made in a day so don’t expect to achieve all your goals in a day. You need patience, perseverance and endurance.

You and your team are responsible for achieving your organisation’s goals, so you need to maintain the energy. Develop a sense of urgency by taking action now that will move you and the organisation towards your goals.  To maintain the momentum towards achieving your goals you need to set great and stretching goals that will make you put more effort to achieve them. Don’t stop until you have achieved your goals. These principles apply to both individuals and organisations so individuals need to set their own personal goals. “The basic goal-reaching principle is to understand that you go as far as you can see, and when you get there you will always be able to see further.” Zig Ziglar.

Stewart Jakarasi is a business & financial strategist and a lecturer in business strategy and performance management. He provides advisory and guidance on leadership, strategy and execution, preparation of business plans and on how to build and sustain high-performing organisations.

l For assistance in implementing some of the concepts discussed in these articles please contact him on the following contacts: sjakarasi@gmail.com or +266 58881062 or on WhatsApp +266 62110062

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