Strategies, aims, goals, objectives, targets, outcomes, outputs, deliverables…
We all use these terms at work, so in sharing the common language of business, we must be sharing a common understanding of what they mean, right? Wrong.
These words are often used interchangeably, and in doing so, there’s a real risk that leadership teams and employees, and ultimately businesses, lose focus and efficiency.
Here we define business objectives and business goals — two of the most misused terms — so you can be sure your business is planning for success.
Let’s start with the big picture.
These are a company’s aspirations. They are visionary, long-term and broad. They give a business focus and are built around ‘the art of the possible’. If communicated effectively, they can build pride and a unified purpose amongst employees.
Examples of business goals are:
– Be the number one Italian restaurant in central Sydney
– Increase market share
– Open two new offices in the U.S.
For a simple business objectives definition, if business goals are the what, business objectives are the how. These are the concrete deliverables that will make the goal a reality. They are individual, challenging but achievable and, importantly, have actionable steps and measurable outcomes.
If the goal is the creative, emotional sibling, then the objective is the practical, studious one.
Objectives need to be SMART to be worth setting.
Specific: They should be detailed and focused. Avoid being vague.
Measurable: They can be quantifiable or qualitative. Everyone needs to know what success looks like.
Achievable and Agreed: Without ‘buy in’, objectives won’t be set or met. There should be a golden thread starting at the goal-setting at the top of the organisation, running down through every level and function, informing what objectives are set. Objectives have to be achievable for employees to keep their momentum and focus.
Realistic and Relevant: It’s okay to have ambitious objectives, but employees can become demotivated if they’re working towards objectives that just can’t be met. Objectives need to be tailored for a company’s functions, teams and individual roles.
Time-bound: This gives a sense of urgency and helps evaluate progress towards the goal at milestone points.
Be the number one Italian restaurant in central Sydney
Achieve 80% 5-star reviews on Tripadvisor by Aug. 2021.
Increase patronage by 5% on Friday and Saturday nights by Aug. 2021.
Increase market share
Achieve a 25% market share of product X within 2 years of launch.
Increase 5-star satisfaction survey results for product X from 85% to 90% within 12 months.
Open two new offices in the U.S.
Identify and secure office locations by Aug. 2021.
Recruit director and support team for each location by Oct 2021.
Ultimately, business goals and business objectives complement and build on each other. The goal is the framework all business ideas have to sit within. The objectives are the road map to the end destination — detailed and incremental.
Setting business goals and business objectives helps your employees understand that what they do really makes a difference. A common purpose breeds an engaged and satisfied workforce and a healthy organisational culture. This not only helps your bottom line but also makes you an employer people want to work for.
It’s a virtuous circle. It comes back to the famous example of the cleaner at the NASA space centre. When President John F. Kennedy asked what he was doing, he said: ‘I’m helping put a man on the moon’.
(c) Copyright 2021 The Milestone Academy
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