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 a level below the vision and while they are desirable outcomes in themselves, they also link directly to achieving the organisation’s long-term Vision. They are usually set for three to five years into the future and should act as a focal point for all of the activities defined in the business plan.
They should also be deconstructed into objectives that relate to the organisation as a whole, including departments, employees, customers and other stakeholders. These objectives will normally be more short-term in nature and will be organised into specific areas that require focus, such as operating efficiency, profit, production, service delivery, customer satisfaction, marketing, growth, sustainability, etc.
Management must effectively communicate the goals to the entire organisation in a way that encourages and empowers people to work towards achieving them.
These goals and objectives should provide direction to both the management team and to employees, thereby setting expectations and assisting with the decision making process in the organisation.
Goals can be broad or narrow in scope. For example, profitability will include sub-goals relating to how the company intends to achieve the desired profitability, which may include increasing sales, reducing costs, etc.
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 corporate goals may include:
“To increase profitability by 10% in 3 years”.
“To be carbon-neutral by …”
“To have a 95% customer satisfaction rating by …”.
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.