Tag Archive for: #goalsetting

Getting clear on goals and strategies.

Let’s review what a typical goal setting list might look like and where strategies may be hiding in the list.

Most initial goal setting lists will contain a mixture of measurable outcomes along with future action items, our “to do” list, which we call strategies. We tend to think first about the things we need to get done. That’s natural and a good place to start your list. Once you have a list, ask “Is this something we need to get done, or is it a measurable outcome?

An initial goal list might look something like this:
1) Revenue growth of 30% per year. Target revenue three years = $X
2) Improved profit margins (gross profit) from x to y
3) Net profits (EBTDA) established and sustained at 10% +
4) Fully re-designed web site, with effective social media components
5) Core products available for on-line purchase
6) 3 new product lines launched
7) Full time sales manager
8) H R manual, updated on a scheduled basis
9) New branch opened in (location)
10) Succession plan in place for all senior positions in the company

Let’s refine this list with this perspective:
“Is this something we need to get done, or is it a measurable outcome?”
1) Revenue growth of 30% per year. Target revenue three years = $X. This is clearly a
measurable outcome. It stays as a goal
2) Improved profit margins (gross profit) from x to y. This seems to be related to goals #3.
let’s combine the two, see below.
3) Another goal, part of our improved revenue/profit picture
4) This is an action step. It looks like a marketing strategy we need to pursue in order to
achieve our revenue goal
5) Another action step, move to the Strategy section of our plan
6) Another strategy
7) Strategy
8) Strategy
9) Could be labelled either a goal or strategy
10) This looks like a big job with significant impact. Let’s leave in the Destination/Goals area of our plan

Here’s the revised version for your 3 Year Goals (Destination)

1. Revenue
We expect to achieve a 30% per year revenue growth over the next 3 years. This will
put our revenue at the end of 20__ at $XXX
(suggest you insert a chart to show prior two years revenue and next 3-year

2. Profit
We need to improve our net profit from the current 6.3% to a sustainable level at
10% or greater. This will be achieved in part by improved profit margins (gross
profit) from x% to y%.
(show prior two years and next three years projections in a chart)

3. We see a clear opportunity for growth in (new territory). This could be either a
company office, or an acquisition.

4.  In order to ensure the long term sustainability of our company, we need to instill a
process of succession planning, particularly at the senior level. It is important that
we have this in place within the next three years.

We now have four major goals to keep our focus for the next three years. It will be
easy to refine and update these at your regularly scheduled planning meetings in the

Business Plan Summary: Today’s tip is on Goal Setting

Once you’ve drafted your company Purpose and Unique Business Proposition, it’s time to turn our attention to goal setting.

There is something magical about goal setting. Most of us have experienced this at various times in our lives. We’ve set a personal or business goal, shared it with people around us, and we find that most, or all, of the things we wanted to achieve have actually shown up in our lives six months or a year later.

A resource speaker in my CEO peer group, Mary Lore, taught us about the power of our thoughts. In summary, her message was this:

  • When you change your thought, it leads you to:
  1. Change your behaviour, which creates
  2. Different results

Expressed another way, it’s about the power of positive thinking (vs. negative thinking = self limiting goals).

How to Get Started?

Thinking about goals is the starting point, but it is when we write our goals down that things start to happen. When we write our goals down, we are required to convert a vague notion bouncing around in our brain to a more tangible, concrete and specific result we aspire to achieve.

In this action, we make a conscious thought change that starts to automatically change our behaviour.

As the leader of your enterprise, goal setting starts with you. Once you get clear about your 3 year (we call your Destination) and one year goals. It’s important to get these same thoughts firmly imbedded in the minds of the leadership team, and in due course, throughout the company. This leads to changing behaviours throughout the company, and, before long, better results.

Goal setting sounds like an easy task and in many ways it is. In it’s simplest form, it is a list of outcomes, or results for our business at a future date. In business, we have so many ideas and options to consider, it can be a challenge to create a short list that is clear, concise, specific (quantifiable) and realistic.

One of the nice things about plans is that we are free to make changes as we move along into the future. So, go ahead and make a list.

Try this approach: Write a date down a point three* years in the future, then describe 5 to 10 results that would make you happy, your definition of success at that time in the future. Be liberal in your thinking. At this stage quantity is more important than quality. Please include your financial goals, both income and balance sheet outcomes.

Our next step is to cull the list down to a more manageable 3-5 solid outcomes and start to distinguish between a goal vs an action step, which we label Strategies in our Business Plan Summary.

  • Why three years?

For most companies, three years is about as far into the future for our goals to remain somewhat tangible. Beyond that horizon, our vision tends to become a little too blurry to be useful. It is also enough time to do the work, execute on the major strategies to achieve significant change. Every business is different and you may prefer a longer or shorter time horizon.

Additional Resources:

Mary Lore has excellent resources to further pursue this work of changing your thoughts. Link to her website: https://managingthought.com/

Chuck Reaves, TEC Speaker, shared a great message and reminder of an old message that still has impact. Have a listen to interview from the past which highlights where we find ourselves at the moment, approx 6 minute recording.
Link here on power of viral communication: What we think Impacts What we Experience: https://www.chuckreaves.info/ed%20foreman.m4a