What is a Strategic Goal?
Strategic goals describe what the organisation wants to accomplish in the longer-term. They provide a sense of direction, motivation, a clear focus, and clarify importance.
Strategic goals drill down to a level below the vision and they are desirable outcomes for the business in themselves. In addition, strategic goals link directly to achieving the organisation’s long-term Vision. They are usually set three to five years into the future and should act as a focal point for all of the activities defined in the business plan.
Strategic goals should also be deconstructed into operational goals that relate to the organisation as a whole, including departments, employees, customers and other stakeholders. Operational goals will normally be more short-term in nature and will be organised into specific areas that require focus. This includes operating efficiency, profit, production, service delivery, customer satisfaction, marketing, growth, sustainability, etc.
Management must effectively communicate both the operational and strategic goals to the entire organisation. This should be done in a way that encourages and empowers people to work towards achieving them.
Strategic goals provide direction to both the management team and to employees. Consequently, they set expectations and help decision making in the organisation.
Strategic goals will tend to be fairly broad in scope. For example, a strategic goal may be to improve profitability. This will be supported by operational goals that relate to how the company intends to improve profitability. In this example, profit is driven by a combination of revenue and costs. We may then set goals to increase revenue and reduce costs.
Goals are also internal. Departments such as sales and marketing have individual goals to meet. For instance, the company decides how many units need to be sold by each salesperson to meet its profit expectations. In turn, the salespeople are encouraged to meet sales quotas.
Examples of strategic goals:
“To increase our market share in the sustainable energy industry from 10% to 20% within the next three years through the development and launch of innovative new products and services.”.
“Increase profit by 10% over the next three years by expanding into new international markets and launching a new line of innovative products.”
“To increase market share in the European market by 15% within the next three years by expanding our distribution network and launching new product lines in key markets.”
All of the above goals conform to the SMART criteria which means that they are quantifiable so that their progress can be monitored and their attainment (or non-attainment) can be clearly measured at the end of the specified period.