Setting organizational goals sounds straightforward enough, doesn’t it? After all, you simply think through what the organizational goals are for the organization, then you put them in place, right? How difficult is that? Well in reality, the setting of organizational goals is actually a complex issue, but one that you need to get right, if the goals are to be really worth striving for and achieving.
The first thing that you need to think about is that these are goals for the organization. They are not goals for the management, or goals for the staff, but rather goals for the overall business, so it is important not to get too caught up in thinking about certain individuals or functions.
Goals need to be realistic. It is good to aim high, but you need to base the goals on past experience. For example, if you are a small producer who has only been making plastic bowls for 3 years, then it is not realistic to set a goal of being the market leader on a global basis within the next two years. Clearly it is not wrong to aim to be the world leader in terms of your market, but you do need to be conscious of staying realistic. What could you realistically achieve within the next 5 years?
Goals should not be plucked from the air, but be some aims that will benefit the organization as a whole, not just one section or department. Everyone will be affected by these goals, so they need to benefit everyone in the company.
It is important to think about this with your management team, after all they need to be involved in identifying the four or five strategic goals that you will be setting for the next year or so. If you don’t involve them then they may not have ‘ownership’ of the goals and it may be harder to achieve them.
One key thing to bear in mind is that you need to set specific targets in terms of improvements, if the goals are to be really effective. Don’t just say that you will improve levels of customer satisfaction; instead you should look to be specific and say that you will increase customer satisfaction from 84% up to 94% at least, over the next year or so.
The goal should also have some indication of how this will be achieved. Whilst you don’t need to develop detailed plans at this stage, consider how the goal will be met. For example it would be unrealistic to develop a goal to “change our ERP system in two weeks”. Consider a schedule or other planning tool
Be inclusive, discuss issues and objectives with the work-force. The workforce can start to influence the goals and also be involved in planning how the goals can be met. This fosters a feeling of ownership and the more that staff feel that they ‘own’ the goals, then the more likely they will be to work hard and ensure that they are achieved rather than merely being dictated “from high” and being unrelated to day-to-day activities.
Thus the process of setting organizational goals is not one that is easy to undertake and it does require a significant amount of time. But when done properly having a clear set of organizational goals can unite and bond each and every member of the workforce to radically improve both performance and the morale of a company.