How to actually achieve your company's goals in five easy steps

Heather Townsend
Director
The Excedia Group
Columnist
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Every January, it seems like the coaching and training world gets really excited about the importance of setting meaningful and achievable goals. Whilst, I’m not going to disagree with the importance of goal-setting, I believe that it is more important to actually achieve your goals. Take a moment to reflect, how many times have you set business or personal goals which you lose interest or focus in, after a couple of months have passed? As a business owner, it is your role to keep your organisation focused and energised on working towards your vision.

My question is, how do you make sure your organisation actually achieves the goals, it has set itself?

Firstly, you have to have some goals set to achieve. Now you are going to look at me and say, ‘yes, stupid, of course we have them’. What I want you to honestly answer is whether your goals for the organisation have been cascaded down your organisation. I.e. is everyone within your business is targeted to working towards the goals of the organisation? If I were to talk with your employees could they tell me what their personal goals are, and how these will help the company achieve its goals?

For goals to be achieved, they need to be visible for everyone within your company. I’m not talking about the big fanfare that you may have started when you set the annual goals for the organisation. I’m talking about the day-in-day-out visibility that these goals need. Do you have visual reminders for staff about the organisation’s goals? Are your line managers regularly sitting down with their team and direct reports and talking about the individual, team, departmental and company progress against these goals? In your regular updates to your staff are you talking about company progress against these goals? More often than not, team and individual goals and objectives get written on a piece of paper and stuck in a drawer getting dusty, until the next annual performance review. (And, that’s if your organisation actually does them!)

The only thing you can rely on in this funny old business world is uncertainty. Far too many companies go through an annual goal-setting process, and then tenaciously stick to these goals for the next twelve months, regardless of market or trading conditions. Goals are made to be re-set and re-assessed as you go through the year. Whilst, I’m not advocating resetting your goals every week, it’s worth looking at your company’s goals quarterly and when your results and evidence suggests it, re-adjusting these goals. Many a company has gone under by spending to a sales forecast level which they are never going to meet.

I’m going to suggest something rather controversial... You have more chance of achieving your company’s goals if your staff feel some attachment or ownership of these goals. To get this feeling of attachment, how about involving them in the decision making process of ‘how’ the company is going to achieve its goals? Or, and this is the slightly controversial part, how about setting up a bonus pot to be distributed amongst all staff if the company achieves it’s goals?

Many individuals and companies are forever looking and driving forward. Whilst this is a very positive attitude, it is worth looking back to learn, and to take time out to celebrate successes. This reflect and review time is vital to help your company achieve its next set of goals.

What are you going to do slightly different this financial year to increase your odds of achieving both your personal and business goals?
 

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