In our previous blog post, Kick off 2019 with a Strategic Plan, we reviewed some of the steps for launching a strategic planning effort, namely those related to reviewing the Vision and the Mission statements with your colleagues and staff. As a reminder, the key to success at this stage is to start small, gather momentum, and expand your efforts and activities until you solidify the strategic plan for your organization.
Next up in the strategic planning process is identifying strategic goals that represent mileposts in meeting the Mission and achieving the Vision.
If your organization already has strategic goals in place, now is a good time to review those goals with staff. Are the goals still appropriate? Has the organization, the competitive environment, or the customer base changed in such a way that you need to revisit the goals for better alignment with the current and anticipated future circumstances? Such an effort may involve reworking goals or even removing goals that are outdated.
If you need to establish strategic goals, start by identifying goal categories that are significant to the organization's Vision, such as potential mergers or acquisitions; expansion of product lines, territories, or customer base; internal; external; and financial. Again, be sure to engage staff in this exercise through mechanisms such as a survey, in-person forums, and an internal email address along the lines of Strategy@yourcompany.com.
In establishing the strategic goals themselves, ensure that they are challenging, provide value to the overall organization, and meet the SMART criteria – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timebound. Doing so provides for meaningful tracking and monitoring of strategy progress through the year(s) and contributes to the likelihood of successfully executing on your strategic plan. And, yes, contributions from staff are key to goal identification, so be sure to solicit their input at this stage as well.
If the goal identification exercise yields a large number of meaningful, thoughtful potential goals – fantastic! In such an event, we suggest prioritizing the goals and selecting 3 to 5 for inclusion in your strategic plan. But don’t let the valuable contributions of staff go to waste. Instead, create a strategic goal queue for the remaining goals and consider incorporating them in a 1-year plan, a 3-year plan, or a 5-year plan, depending on the overall strategy for your organization.
So, to recap the recommendations for setting your strategic goals:
1) If you already have goals, review them with staff to ensure that the goals are still appropriate for the organization.
2) If you need to create new goals, engage staff in establishing goal categories meaningful to your organization, and provide one or more ways for staff to contribute.
3) Establish the goals themselves, being sure to capture all staff input and prioritize the goals using the SMART criteria.
4) Keep all goal contributions for future reference and inclusion in other efforts and discussions.
Congratulations! After completing this process, you will have meaningful strategic goals in place. In the next blog posting, we will be reviewing the various methods available for achieving those goals.