And where do the objectives fit in?
A simple overview is that the business strategy is what connects goals with objectives. Organisational leaders will work towards conceiving the strategies, identifying the supporting objectives that will direct the business to the principal company goal. This strategy is required at the SME business unit level in order to successfully compete in individual markets. It addresses the question, “how do we win in this market?”
Let’s work through an example:
In order to understand the thought process and logic, it’s easier to look at a real life example.
So imagine that I decided to run a marathon…
The first thing I’d need to identify is a goal. This will be a statement of the desired end target:
Goal – In 12 months I’m going to run a marathon in under 4 hours & 16 minutes.
Secondly, I’d need to look at how I approach achieving this goal. Simply turning up on the day with a new pair of running shoes will probably leave me in the gutter after about two miles. I need a strategy that identifies the approach required to run the marathon. My strategy statement needs to identify the major actions, but should not list the details describing specifically how those actions will be implemented.
Strategy – In 12 months I’m going to run a marathon in under 4 hours & 16 minutes. I will implement a phased training schedule to develop my running endurance, enlist a running coach to focus on cardio vascular fitness whilst diversifying my diet to promote healthy eating.
I now need to look at making the strategy work to achieve my goal. I need objectives (actions). Each objective needs to be a specific and measurable action that leads directly to the broader goal. I will need to formulate separate objectives to meet all requirements of the strategy. Those objectives can be expanded on to include greater levels of detail and measurement.
Objective (1) – As part of my goal to achieve running a marathon in 12 months time and in under 4hours & 16 minutes, starting at month 1 I will complete an acclimatising phase of road training for 3 months. These sessions will consist of a walk (30 minutes) to jogging (30 minutes) interval training, building endurance to complete a 40 minute none stop jog at the end of the 3-month period.
Objective (2) – As part of my goal to achieve running a marathon in 12 months time and in under 4hours & 16 minutes, starting at month 4 I will complete a building-up phase of road training for the next 3 months, working towards completing a 12 Mile run, to increase both endurance and distance.
I can continue formulating specific objectives until I have completed the needs for the strategy. If we were to take this a step further, each objective can be developed into a series of tactics. Tactics would include things such as running routes, measuring devices, dietary ingredients etc. They’re essentially all of the specifics that make up the objectives.
The above example has defined my goal, given me a strategy to reach it and started to formulate my objectives. Hopefully this has helped you understand these three commonly misunderstood terms and how they work together. When used correctly, it’s a very simple yet effective way of completing goals and achieving ambitions, both in business and day-to-day life.
All I need now is the running shoes!
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