Understanding the Relationship between Goals and Strategies

Is it a Goal or a Strategy
Understanding the difference between a strategy and a goal

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
projections)

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
future.

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