Achieving Business Goals

Goals. In business planning you set goals, assess how far you are from your goals, come up with strategies to reach your goals and set up mechanisms to measure how much progress you’ve made towards achieving your goals. Then, you periodically review your goals to see if they need to be revised. It’s a straight forward process that, if implemented, will go a long way towards making your business successful.

But setting goals is one thing, achieving them is quite another. A captain can point the boat in a certain direction, but if each of the crew members is rowing in a different direction, then the boat isn’t going to go anywhere. It’s the same in business. You can set a goal for your company, but if your employees, vendors and customers don’t support that goal, then your business will be dead in the water, too. And while increasing profits, for example, may be a goal that motivates you, it may just mean increased work and stress to some of your employees. To increase the chance of obtaining your goal, you need to communicate that goal to your crew in terms they can understand and that will motivate them.

As an employee, a vendor or a customer, my goal is to look out for my welfare first. Increasing the profits of your company may or may not make my life better. And if I don’t perceive it as making my life better, I am not likely to put much energy into helping you achieve your goal. Worse yet, if I perceive it as making my life worse, I may try and keep you from achieving your goal! What you need to do is to communicate your goal, increasing profits, to me in a way that it becomes a goal that I can really sink my teeth into. Ask yourself, what do I need others to do that will result in increased profits for my company? How can I motivate them to do these things? How can I communicate it to them in a way they will understand?

For example, sales people will be receptive to increasing sales if they feel the added effort is within reason and the increased sales are possible. Start by asking your salespeople “what would help increase sales?” and work with them to develop a strategy. You have now translated your goal of “increasing profits” into a goal of “increasing sales” that the salespeople can get into (assuming it increases their income).

Similarly, operations people will often be receptive to streamlining processes and costs if they feel their input is considered and if they feel it makes their work-life easier. Ask your operations people “how could we do things more efficiently?” and you will be creating a goal of “efficient operations” that supports your goal of “increasing profits”.

Customers? Vendors? The approach is no different. Work with your customers to find ways of creating additional value for them and you will driving your own profits. Work with your vendors, let them know what you need and listen to what they need and you can work towards a relationship which benefits everyone’s bottom line.

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