Regardless of whether you’re just starting up your business, or you’ve been in the game for a number of years, it’s important to have a vision for what you want to achieve in a specific amount of time. Setting goals can help you lead your business to new levels of success.
Traditional goal setting is a planning strategy that helps businesses to achieve their objectives. There are many benefits to planning for the future for your organization, including:
- Prioritization and focus: Setting goals can help you to clearly outline what you want to achieve and when you want to achieve it.
- Efficient use of resources: Planning helps your business to optimize your use of money, time and employees, improving your productivity and profitability.
- Measurement of progress: By having a stated goal, you can track how your organization is progressing toward it.
In traditional goal setting, all objectives are set by the leaders of the organization. The employees at the top of the hierarchy have a clear understanding of the big picture of the business and are able to outline where they want to see the company go. The main goals are then broken down into subgoals for each section of the business by the organization’s leaders. As the goals travel down the hierarchy, they become more specific and tactical, whereas the goals at the top are more visionary.
Take caution when using the traditional goal-setting approach and creating specific goals in the lower levels of the organization. Sometimes, the more specific goals can lack unity with the overarching goals of the business, which can cause a disconnect in the operations of the company. In addition, since employees don’t have a say in their objectives, they may not be motivated to achieve those goals.
Traditional goal setting is effective when the goals throughout each level of the organization are unified in their stated objectives. When there is clarification and unity, the business as a whole can work together to reach its goals. This is commonly effective in small organizations or ones where there are not many levels of management. The leaders of the company need to be intimately familiar with all areas of the company in order for traditional goal setting to be effective.
In many organizations, traditional goal setting is ineffective because the leaders of the organization don’t have the ability to clearly define the goals for all levels of the organization. In this case, it’s important to review other goal-setting methods to find one that enables your organization to succeed. Management by objectives is a common alternative to traditional goal setting, and in this process, the goals for the organization are set by both the leaders and the employees. By enabling employees to have a voice in the objectives they are working toward, businesses ensure higher levels of engagement and participation.
Other approaches to goal setting and planning include agile SMART goals. Unlike traditional goals, which are rigid in their planning, SMART goals allow for flexibility so the organization can adjust and pivot based on factors such as market conditions and internal capabilities. Sprint goals are perfect for organizations that need to complete several short-term goals. A sprint is a short period of time, usually two weeks to a month, where the organization becomes hyperfocused on completing one specific task. Once that is accomplished, they can move on to the next one.
BHAG goals look into the distant future. Instead of creating annual objectives, BHAG goals require the business to develop a driving force that guides them for the next 10 to 30 years. For some businesses, it’s difficult to articulate goals in words. In this case, a vision board can help to clarify the goals using images, graphics and photographs.