Strange coincidence that just when I was to set off writing about objectives I enrolled into a week-end training on personal development where a big chunk of it was about setting objectives; of course personal objectives, but let’s face it, what’s really different in the process of setting a company objectives than when setting personal objectives?
So why do you need objectives? And I mean in any area, why do you need objectives? Some of the answers to this inquiry may be: it’s definitely easier to shoot at a target that you identified, rather to just shoot and hope something will fall out of the sky.
Plus, once you identified the aim, your actions and your team/ your company’s actions have a sense… that is to get the target in site and shoot for it. And there are many more reasons why it’s important…
Before setting your company objectives, it’s best if you seat together with your team and actually identify why it’s important for you and your team to set objectives for the company or for certain activities and processes? Do not proceed further until you have identified about three to five reasons why you need to set up objectives, so that you will understand why is this important for you and your team, and so that you and your team will be motivated and involved into this process.
Now that you know why you’re doing this, it appropriate to choose a method for setting objectives, in accordance to your needs. My soon to be ex favorite method was the SMART (you can Google it if you’re not familiar with the acronym; there’s too much good literature on this one). Although I always had a „sweet tooth” for the SMART method of setting objectives, there was something about the “Attainable” and the accountability or “measurable” attributes in the SMART method that did not fully justified how some people or companies realize so much more than what would be realistic, achievable and timely for them in a given timeframe. Today it just hit me, you have to perform a goal setting process similar to a personal goal setting system.
For example personal goals need to be positive and in your control; you cannot wish for the competition to die or vanquish from the market :)… because that is not in your reach, in other words you cannot control it… whatever objective you shoot for it must be within your control, you have to own it and it’s accomplishment. So, you could set a goal to be better at this game, by going onto a new market, developing the next product, making your customers loyal, having a better management of your finances etc; yes, on the long run this strategy will put some competitors of the market, but it’s not your goal; your goal is that you will be “better”.
Identifying those elements that will make your company and your team “better” is the basis of your objective setting. If we’re to take a real case scenario, your goal it’s a certain turnover but your final objectives needs to be in terms of what change you need to make within the company, so that you can achieve that financial objectives. How is the company now and how does it “needs to be”, what are the resources you can use to perform the change and could you assume as the actual “price/cost” of the change? Will your company still function in the same business environment, and how will this environment perceive and react to these changes? And that technique is actually borrowed from a personal development technique.
Unlike the limitations of the SMART model, in this model, make the objectives relevant to your own company following the above steps. When completing this, you also need to perform it with your team and make sure it’s a collective result. You need them to understand, agree and commit to the accomplishment of these objectives, because otherwise we have often seen wrong in execution due to the lack or mis- understanding of the objectives. It’s also your team that will be responsible for execution so you need them very motivated when they need to “get going”.
Never set objectives without making them relevant for each of your management staff. Brake down the company objectives at their individual level, clarifying what each has to achieve, but also making sure that in the process they will support each other, ‘cause corporate cannibalism can really affect your final result.This process would take very little time and effort and a lot of creativity or innovation.
What I am proposing here is a more flexible way of setting objectives rather than the rigid traditional ones. Your company is unique, you team is too, who’s to say you can’t be the first to land on the “moon” with corporate services or solutions, whatever this “moon” means for you. If you and your team are up to it…
Since our focus is on marketing in this blog, we’ll explore further in a future post, how to set marketing objectives in b2b.