Understanding the relationship between goals and strategies

Now, let’s  prioritize and scrub our list.

Most initial goal setting lists will contain a mixture of measurable outcomes along with future executed action items, our “to do” list, which we call strategies. Most of us 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. Current 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

Now, 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
  3. Another goal, part of our improved revenue/profit picture
  4. This is an action step. It looks like a 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

3 Year Goals (Destination)

  • Revenue/Profit

We expect to achieve a 30% per year revenue growth over the next 3 years. This will put our revenue at the end if 20__ at $XXX

(show prior two years revenue and next 3 year projections in a chart)

  • We need to improve our net profit from the current 6.3% to a sustainable level at 10% or greater

(show prior two years and next three years projections in a chart)

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

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