Posts tagged "objective"

The Difference Between Goals, Strategic Objectives, and Tactical Objectives

August 28th, 2018 Posted by Blog Post, Goal, Uncategorized 1 thought on “The Difference Between Goals, Strategic Objectives, and Tactical Objectives”

There’s rarely ONE correct answer. Ask 10 different experts and you will get 10 different answers. That seems to be true of many things – and so it goes with terms like goals, objectives, strategic objectives, and tactical objectives.

Here is our take on these particular terms.

Goals are big, lofty things

Goals are big, lofty things that look out into the future, in support of the overall vision. If they lean 1 way or the other, it would be slightly more toward the idealistic rather than the realistic (although there should be a healthy dose of each in every defined goal).

Goals are more of a destination and are, therefore, largely immeasurable in-and-of themselves beyond answering the question, “Are we there yet?”

There are 4 major categories of goals. Pretty much anything you can imagine as a goal for your business will fit neatly into at least one of them. They are:

  1. Goals relative to social responsibility
  2. Goals relative to employee engagement
  3. Goals relative to customer/client engagement
  4. Goals relative to profitability

Goals are a foundational component of a long-term strategic plan. They are defined right after you define your vision, mission, and purpose.

Objectives help you measure progress

If goals are largely immeasurable beyond the destination, how do you know what progress you are making toward them? Objectives. They represent specific outcomes you need to achieve in order to move closer to your goals. One objective can support multiple goals.

Objectives have 5 primary characteristics that are easily remembered using the SMART acronym. A well-defined objective is:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Realistic
  • Time-bound

Start defining and tracking YOUR goals, strategic objectives, and tactical objectives today with Plan Canvas.

Select “Plan Canvas for SMB”

Strategic versus tactical objectives

Generally speaking, if it is in direct support of how you are measuring business outcomes within a single fiscal year, it is a tactical objective that should be included in your business plan. If it is in direct support of a strategic goal or has a due-date that is beyond the 12-month financial cycle, it is a strategic objective and should be included in your strategic plan.

Some objectives are clearly strategic, some are clearly tactical, but often, it is a judgment call when deciding to label an objective as a long-term strategic objective, or a shorter-term tactical (business plan) objective.

Objectives, whether strategic or tactical, fall into one of 6 categories:

  1. Social responsibility
  2. Employee
  3. Customer/client
  4. Operations
  5. Sales/Marketing
  6. Financial

If you do nothing else, do this

There is so much more to strategic business planning and management, but, if you do nothing else, define your vision, mission, purpose, goals, strategic objectives and tactical objectives – whether just starting a business or running one that has been around for a long time. You will be miles ahead of the competition if you do.

The good news is you can do this and more with Plan Canvas – simply and effectively. Contact us for a demo or assistance.

If You Know Better Do Better

January 10th, 2018 Posted by Behavior, Blog Post, Goal, Objective 0 thoughts on “If You Know Better Do Better”

We recently heard the story of a hard-working retail cashier, stressed from the holidays, managing to keep her cool in the face of rude customers.

One particularly disrespectful customer reflected on his actions, returned to the store, and fell just short of an apology by saying, “That wasn’t your fault. I know better.”

A genuine apology for his behavior would have been better, and perhaps would not have resulted in this response from the cashier, “If you know better, do better.”

That’s really some great advice for all of us. If we know better, lets do better.

Not another list!

We don’t need to give you yet another list of the things you can be doing better on, be they professional, personal or societal things. There’s no shortage, so pick a few that are most important to you and run with them.

An article at the New York Times entitled How to Do Things Better in 2018 lists and describes 10 things you can focus on (and why), but then goes on to provide links to unique pieces that actually get in to HOW to do better on that particular item.

The article focuses mostly on personal, but also on a few professional areas, such as “How to Build a Successful team.”

Guess what the first step is?

If you guessed, “Make a Plan,” you guessed correctly.

More to the point, the article says, “You need a clear and measurable goal for what you want to accomplish.”

We agree with the intent of that statement, but we are also a little nerdy when it comes to using terminology. You really need clear and measurable OBJECTIVES that support your loftier GOALS. Goals in and of themselves are more of a destination, otherwise, not really measurable beyond “Are we there yet?’

But all nerdiness aside, make a plan and make things measurable. But to that point, make it actionable.

Keep it Simple…Seriously (we object to calling anyone “stupid” so “seriously” is a good substitute)

Meanwhile, Inc. has posted an article entitled 3 Simple Habits I’m Making in 2018 to Drive Better Results. In it, the author’s 3rd simple habit is “Discipline through simplicity,” and, again, we couldn’t agree more.

Plan Canvas is built on the “KISS” model – Keep it Simple, Seriously. So often we just make things too complicated. Take a look at the things you do and ask yourself how you can simplify. Challenge yourself and your team. Make a game of it. There is always a way.

As the new year gets going….

We all know we CAN do better. And as the cashier said, “If you know better, do better.”

That’s the kind of simplicity we can live with.

How to Set Goals and Actually Achieve Them

March 22nd, 2017 Posted by Business is ART 0 thoughts on “How to Set Goals and Actually Achieve Them”

GoalWhen done right, setting goals is a great way to motivate you towards success and track progress. Done poorly, however, and goals become a burden. A list of dreams you’ll never achieve.

That’s why it’s not enough to blindly set goals. You must be strategic about it. You need to be intentional if you want to create goals you can actually achieve.

For starters, you should…

Write Them Down. Make Them Visual.

You probably have some vague idea of your goals in your head. But that’s not enough. You need to write down your goals. Even if you’re a solo operation. Writing them down will not only work as a reminder, but it will help you to analyze them differently.

Something that sounded great in your head might not make sense once you see it written out. Or it may inspire another idea. If it helps, you can try creating a visual to track your goals – perhaps display an image to serve as a reminder of a goal you’ve set.

Whatever it takes to keep your goals in mind.

Break Goals Up. Start Small.

When setting goals, you should write them down in their most basic forms. A sentence, no more. Goals are rarely accomplished in one fell-swoop. Instead, it takes many smaller actions and achievements that lead up to the big end-goals – these are measurable objectives.

Start with the small, simple action steps. If you can’t achieve those first, you’ll never achieve your larger goals.

Focus on What You Can Do and Control

Entrepreneurs sometimes get hung up on what they can’t control. If you sell a product, you can’t force someone to buy it. But you can make sure that product is perfected. You can create excellent marketing material for it. You can reach out to marketplaces and publications to see if they will feature it.

When planning your goals, don’t set action steps that you can’t actually do. Instead, focus on the areas over which you have control. Save those things outside of your control for developing a risk mitigation plan.

Establish Rewards

Everyone loves to be rewarded. It’s a simple fact. In sports, the players always have the trophy or medal to chase. While you’re obviously going after success, “success” is a very vague, shapeless word. You have to define what it means for you. Then to better motivate yourself to achieve success (as you define it), try implementing rewards into your goal setting.

They don’t have to be anything complex. You’ll be surprised by just how motivating a little reward can be, whether it’s for you or your employees.

Be Prepared for Change

Life changes. Market places change. Yet, some have this idea that goals should never change. Maybe the overarching plan stays the same, but the smaller goals need to change along the way sometimes.

Look at a company like Facebook. When they started, they allowed American college students to see each other’s pictures and leave funny comments. Now, they provide news, social-platforms, marketplaces, digital communities, and more to people of all ages around the world.

Their overarching goal of connecting people has remained the same, but you can bet the focus of their smaller goals has changed dramatically.

Don’t stick with the same, stagnant goals over and over again. Be flexible.

But Always Remember the Reason

Even as you change and strive towards success, don’t forget the reason you started on your path in the first place. That’s going to be different for everyone, but it’s equally important for all. One of the most fundamental basic business principles is to simply remember your purpose.

Your goals will help you fulfill that purpose. Set them accordingly.

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Do Have Actionable Plans – Don’t Waste Your Time with Plans

March 16th, 2017 Posted by Business is ART 0 thoughts on “Do Have Actionable Plans – Don’t Waste Your Time with Plans”

Slide1I really wanted to simply call this “Don’t Waste Your Time with Plans” but was afraid you’d get the wrong idea.

I don’t mean “Don’t develop plans.” I mean, if you are going to develop and manage plans, do it in a productive manner.

You can do better…like by a lot

One of the reasons I think so many business owners and leaders don’t have business plans is that someone gave them some bad advice, or set a bad example, somewhere along the way…and now they just can’t see the value – even though the data supports the notion that business plans increase your odds of success – like by a lot.

But one sure way to waste your time with a plan is to fail to do the foundational work that becomes a litmus test for everything you do going forward.

Build a foundation

Before you spend any time developing a plan, first build the foundation for your business. What’s the foundation consist of? Simple. 3 key ingredients, including:

  1. Your Vision Statement. This is how you see things, ideally, out in to the future. See Amazon’s vision statement for a good example.
  2. Your Mission Statement. This states in simple terms what you do. A sentence. Two at most. What you do.
  3. Your Purpose Statement. This is why you do what you do. The emotional hook that gets you and your stakeholders excited.

Many people struggle with defining these three statements. At first, it sounds easy. But then you realize it really requires some deep, critical thinking and often requires a lot of inner reflection. It may also require a lot of discussion with your friends, family and advisors.

But a key to remember…these are yours. No one else’s. Don’t let anyone define them for you.

Frame It

Next, build the frame. The frame is made up of your long term goals and objectives. Goals support the vision, but in and of themselves are immeasurable. They are simply big lofty things you want to achieve.

Muhammad Ali famously declared “I am the greatest!”

That’s a perfect example of a goal. How do you know you are the greatest? Through measurable objectives like: winning the title a number of times, holding the title a number of years, scoring a number of knock-outs by a certain round in each fight (on average).

You have to do the same for your business. Define the measurable objectives that support your big lofty goals.

Now Get Busy

Once you have laid the foundation and the frame, you are ready to get down to some serious business planning and you are far less likely to waste your time.

One last bit of advice – make your plans actionable. That means, define actual initiatives and action steps you will take to tackle your plan. Track and update things as you go. Plan to manage, but manage the plan.

Don’t stop game planning when the game begins

I hate it when people say they only need to develop a plan once, then they get the loan or start the business and throw the plan away. That is a way to ensure you do not maximize the benefits of planning.

Think of it this way. A football coach walks in to a game with a game plan. With the first snap of the ball, the coaching staff makes adjustments to the game plan, and continues to do so throughout the game, until the last second ticks off the clock.

We wouldn’t think of coaching a game any other way. So why do we think it’s a good idea to start a business with a plan, then toss it aside on opening day – or ever?

As with sports, keep adjusting the plan until the day you shut the doors for good.

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Never miss a podcast, blog post or newsletter by signing up here. I don’t spam and try very hard to bring you informative and entertaining content as well as useful tools to increase your odds of success.

Plan Canvas is a community and a powerful software for improving your odds of business success and personal fulfillment.

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