In business unless there are definite, precise and clearly set goals, there is no way a business will realize the maximum potential that lies within it. Without set goals all businesses no matter what size remain a wandering generality and will never make it. By setting goals an organization moves towards being a meaningful specific. The challenge however for most organizations is having the acumen ship needed to set better goals. With goals companies are saying we cannot predict the future, but we certainly can plan for it.
In the world of sport, it has been established that an athlete will perform better against tough competition than against mediocre competition. Effective goals by their nature should be big because it takes a big goal to create the excitement necessary for accomplishment. Goals have to be powerful statements which focus attention on achieving the desirable outcomes. Business goals require you starting with questions such as sitting here in five/ten years what you would love to see.
The human brain has amazing problem-solving abilities and goals channel brain power towards finding a solution. BHAGs (Big Hairy, Audacious Goals – as they are commonly known) are a powerful way to stimulate progress. Companies have goals but there is a difference between merely having a goal and becoming committed to huge, daunting challenges. True, BHAGs that are clear and compelling serve as a unifying focal point while acting as catalyst for team spirit. No matter how much power, brilliance and energy businesses exude, without harnessing the people’s power to specific targets and holding them accountable will not yield desired results.
BHAGs engage people- they reach out and grip them hence the need for tangible, energizing and highly focused goals. Setting BHAGs that are far into the future require thinking beyond current capabilities of the organization and the current environment. Be always guided by your mission and vision to ensure every goal is oriented on the long term focus.
Whatever goals leaders choose, utmost care is needed not to confuse core purpose and inspiring goals. The envisioned future should be so exciting to continue to keep the organization motivated even if the leaders who set the goal disappear. Core purpose is the reason for existence and this is not completed like long range goals which have timelines. When implementing goals never bite off more than you can chew as well as aiming to challenge the champs of the industry at the outset. Work only on wanting to challenge that other player directly in front of you.
Once goals have been set, organizational leadership need vivid descriptions that are vibrant, engaging and specific, defining what it will be like to achieve the big goals. Clear finishing lines are necessary so that the organization knows when it has achieved. Employees like all people like to shoot to finish lines. Statements like ‘selling more, better’ -are not specific enough. Goals should be spelt out in minute detail.
In this game failure is a reality, but the answer lies in learning and at times reviewing the set goals. Success lies in building a clear common direction for an organization to create the future. Once these long-range exciting goals are in place, constantly look out for the stepping or stopping stones. Make use of those stepping stones to take you to the desired end or to amend certain wishful thinking you might have had. List all the obstacles that are likely to stand between the business and the set goals. Confidence remains the handmaiden of success. Then always act as if a business only has few days/months to work on the goals. Doing so will force all people to put on their thinking caps.
While many economies are undergoing rapid changes, long range goals are the best because without them, businesses are likely to be frustrated by short range goals and may lose focus. For a business setting, employees’ daily objectives are key, these become the best indicators and the builders of characters. With these in place, dedication, discipline and determination will always be the order of the day. As you reach daily objectives, you will be getting closer to the long-range ones.
‘Can goals be negative?’ Emphatically yes, especially if an employee does not accept that they are the architects of those goals. Also, if set goals are not in tandem with one‘s field of interest and one is working on them to please someone else. Those Leaders, who have a tendency of directing subordinates’ goals setting, are likely to experience a lot of resistance which hampers their efforts.
Finally, be aware of the We have Arrived Syndrome -a complacent lethargy that arises once an organization has achieved one long range goal and fails to replace it with another.
In conclusion always remember to complete your SWOT analysis, run internal and external competitive performance benchmarking, analyse and understand the market. Review your past performance to know where you are coming from otherwise your organization will be akin to a world map – it will not take you anywhere unless you know where you are.
Emmanuel Jinda is the Managing Consultant of PROSERVE Consulting Group, a leading supplier of Professional Human Resources and Management services locally, regionally and internationally. He can be contacted at Tel: 263 773004143 or 263 242 772778 or visit our website at www.proservehr.com