Many organizations set goals that are not realistic and are in the habit of not meeting their objectives. Others achieve some of their goals by accident, and some could achieve a lot more. The first questions is, “Are your goals mandatory, or are they something you set out to try?” If they are mandatory, then I suggest you make sure that you are planning for success instead of failure. Many organizations set their goals without considering the obvious reasons they may not be achievable. By addressing these reasons up front, an organization can dramatically increase the likelihood of success or know that they must adjust them to something more realistic.
Here is a common list of possible circumstances that cause organizations not to achieve their goals:
- Has consideration been given to the capacity of the target market (growing-shrinking) and what a realistic share of the market can be?
- If revenue levels were achieved, considering seasonality effects, what is the ability of the organization to deliver the products and services at the optimum level while keeping its brand promises?
- Can the company finance growth; should it grow faster than its ability to self-fund?
- What advertising or marketing support will be needed to support the goals, and are there finances in place to support it?
- How will competition respond to your strategic moves, and are your marketing and sales forces well prepared to properly differentiate the company?
- What is the performance track record of the people that need to deliver, and will your new goals require a significant increase in performance?
- Are there enough sales and sales support people based on: the amount of time to make the appropriate amount of sales calls; the number of meetings it will take to close a deal; how many proposals one has to write; the time it takes to process a deal, given the normal sales cycle, based on the average close ratio, the average size of deals closed, and travel time?
- Will you need to introduce new products, by when, and how much of your sales volume depends on it?
Lofty goals require a regular regimen of adjusting your resources (time, people and money). As an organization answers the above questions, inevitably they should be considering upgrading some people, increasing some resources, moving some around, refocusing time, etc. Significant goals, those that require growth rates and increases in profit margins that are large improvements over prior years, need refinement on a monthly and quarterly basis. As we are trying things, we will make mistakes and/or see more opportunities for growth. The great leaders are the ones that are making these adjustments.
Howard Shore is a business growth expert that works with companies that want to maximize their growth potential by improving strategy, enhancing their knowledge, and improving motivation. To learn more about him or his firm please contact Howard Shore at [phone link=”true”] or firstname.lastname@example.org.