Part 8: Strategic Planning – The Meeting:Setting Goals and Objectives
By: Jonny Baker, Senior Manager, Strategic Management Consulting Services
The following is part eight of a nine-part series on strategic planning. This blog series includes identifying the need for strategic planning, setting a level playing field, defining the organization and its purpose, and selecting the initiatives, goals, and actions that will make the organization successful.
We cannot stop at strategy. This is where many organizations falter; they have great strategy, but there is no execution. To execute a strategy there need to be clearly delineated goals that people at all levels of the organization understand. These goals must be achievable, and buy-in must be obtained.
The goal is the organizational outcome or desired result at different points in time of your strategic plan.
Once your pillars and initiatives have been identified, we take them and define the ideal outcomes both for your organization, as well as for specific areas of your business. We do this in order to define your plan for success. As an example, if one pillar of yours was customer engagement with the associated initiative of utilization of a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system, the ideal outcome might be to produce quality touch points with key customers four times per year.
Using our CRM system example from above, we may have the following goals:
- End of Q1, CRM implemented and live (being used daily by everyone in your organization).
- End of Q2, CRM system has initiated first quality touch point with top 100 customers.
- End of Q3, CRM system has initiated second quality touch point with top 100 customers.
- October Q4, CRM system has initiated third quality touch point with top 100 customers.
- December Q4, CRM system has initiated fourth quality touch point with top 100 customers.
- In the early portion of Q1 in the next year, measure results of your first year of activity and make specific recommendations for using the CRM system in the following year.
Note that each of your goals should be actionable and specific. Ideally, the leaders and employees in your strategic planning room should come to these conclusions as a group and agree that the top 100 customers should be contacted four times in the upcoming year. Additionally, your definition of a quality touch point must be rather specific. There is a big difference between mass emailing the top 100 customers versus calling, mailing a handwritten note, or even sending a small gift to that contact.
The key is that your goals should be specific and defined while also being agreed upon by those in the room. If your goals are not, you should anticipate an unaccomplished initiative, a wobbly pillar, and your ultimate strategy being halfway carried out by your management team. For goal setting, you should use a framework, such as SMART goals, to help both those responsible for your goals and those monitoring their achievement. In order to take goal responsibility to the next level, your strategically planned goals should also show up as individual employee goals for the coinciding periods of time. Stay on the lookout for more on performance management to come in a later series.
This can be a good time for leaders participating in the macro strategic planning to break away; they can work within teams on the microanalysis of your organization’s potential actions/tasks and then come back together at a later meeting to discuss those results and how the goals will be achieved.
At KHA Management Consultants, we have experience working with organizations on Strategic Planning. We facilitate the process with the organization’s key constituents to ensure buy-in, ownership, and a new way of thinking about the organization and its stakeholders among all levels of employees. From a resource perspective, we primarily use our experience but also tap into the top-level resources such as those provided by Harvard Business Review and MentorPlus. Some of those materials, frameworks, and lessons have been used in writing this blog.
KHA Management Consultants, the consulting wing of KHA Accountants, PLLC, based in Flower Mound, Texas, is always looking for key clients ready to take their business to the next level. If you have a desire to improve, take the first step toward success with the strategic planning experts, and contact us at 972-221-2500.