Posts tagged "objectives"

Quit Calling Objectives “Goals” – Just Quit It

January 22nd, 2018 Posted by Behavior, Blog Post, Business is ART, Goal, Objective 0 thoughts on “Quit Calling Objectives “Goals” – Just Quit It”

This might be a little nit-picky, but, there is a difference between goals and objectives. Goals, by nature, are not particularly SMART…you know:

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

These are actually the characteristics of well-defined objectives. You measure your progress toward achievement of goals through objectives. Objectives support goals.

We said that goals are not particularly SMART. That is more than just a cute play on words and acronyms. Goals are more of a destination – more like an “Are we there yet?”

SMART objectives invite you to be realistic and in a hurry. Goals invite you to dream big and be more concerned with the getting there than the speed with which you do.

That’s why we take a little bit of umbrage with this article at Entrepreneur entitled Set Goals for Your Employees. Don’t get us wrong, we completely agree with setting goals for employees.

And at the risk of sounding a little Sheldon Cooper-ish, we actually do agree with the content of the article – as long as you substitute the word “objective” in 95% of the instances the article actually uses the word “goal.”

With that in mind, here are a few comments on the main points/recommendations of the article:

  1. “Set goals with employees” – Yes! We love it. This is part of including your employees in developing the strategy. It adds buy-in and promotes an environment in which employees are engaged.
  2. “Reevaluate goals frequently” – No! Not unless you frequently change your mind about where you want to go (a goal is a destination). But do frequently evaluate objectives.
  3. “Make goals specific and measurable” – No! Goals are decidedly grandiose and not measurable in themselves. Make supporting objectives SMART which includes their being specific and measurable.
  4. “Goals don’t have to be tied to sales” – Correct! Nor profits. We like value-based goals as opposed to profit and sales driven goals. Focus on the types of goals that will really get employees engaged in the business on an emotional level.
  5. “Make sure employees goals are attainable” – No! Goals are big and lofty. Never measure an employee’s performance based on big, lofty goals. Rather, do it on objectives, which, yes, should be attainable.
  6. “Be consistent” – Absolutely. And you can start by consistently not misusing the word “goal” in place of the word “objective.”
  7. “Watch your timing” – Wrong! Not for goals. They are long term. Objectives are time-bound.
  8. “Avoid rivalry” – Ehhhh….this one feels a little like “everyone gets a participation trophy.” A little FRIENDLY rivalry in-house can be healthy. Just don’t allow it to create clicks and jerks.
  9. “Set goals that tie employees into the success of your company” – Correct! Set objectives that tie employees into the success of your company.

This might all sound a little nit-picky, but it is important to remember the distinction between goals and objectives. Know the difference and plan accordingly.

PUT IT TO USE!

Reach Your Goals with Measurable Objectives

Now that you know the difference between “Goals” and “Objectives”, let’s put that knowledge to use! Plan Canvas helps you identify, communicate and track goals, objectives, initiatives, action items and more in one convenient, easy to access, easy to use tool.

Great Ideas for 2018 – A Resolution Revolution

December 19th, 2017 Posted by Behavior, Blog Post, Business Plan, Entrepreneur, Goal, Inspiration, Strategic Planning 0 thoughts on “Great Ideas for 2018 – A Resolution Revolution”

Let’s make 2018 the year of the resolution revolution. No more empty promises that fizzle out within the first 2 to 6 weeks. Let’s get serious this time.

An article at The Balance entitled Top New Year’s Resolutions for Business Success has some easy, actionable ideas that we really like a lot, particularly:

  • Make business planning a weekly event
  • Set realistic goals
  • Join a new business organization or networking group
  • Give something back to your community

Of course we like them because they are essentially some of the basic premises on which Plan Canvas is built. Let’s take a look at them a little more closely.

Resolution 1 – Business planning as a weekly event

Honestly, as much as we love business planning, doing it weekly may be a bit of an over-reach. But there are some things relative to the business plan that really should be done weekly. Namely:

  • Review progress against both the strategic and the business plan on a weekly basis. Note, some objectives may only require monthly or quarterly progress checks.
  • Review progress against assigned action items, internal initiatives, and client projects.

Whatever you do, do not write a business plan that is never referred to, tracked against, or updated. Otherwise, you are missing out on the primary benefits of strategically managing a plan – greater results.

Resolution 2 – Set realistic goals

Again, if we are being completely honest, we are OK with setting goals that might seem a little “out there.” Goals should be big, lofty things. Add a dose of reality but think and dream big when setting goals.

Now objectives are another story. Objectives let you know how you are progressing toward goals. One objective may support many goals and one goal is likely to be supported by many objectives. By nature, objectives should be realistic.

In fact that is one of 5 characteristics of a well defined SMART objective:

  • S – Specific
  • M – Measurable
  • A – Achievable
  • R – Realistic
  • T – Time-bound

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Resolution 3 – Join a new business organization or networking group

There are two primary types of groups we highly encourage you to join. One is a business networking group. The other is a peer mastermind group.

Networking groups are focused on growing your business through referrals. In these types of groups you get to know others on a more personal level, building relationships to the point that you mutually, genuinely refer each others’ business, products or services to others – key because it is also your reputation on the line when you refer others to people in your own network.

Peer mastermind groups, are not networking groups at all. They are work groups designed to help members resolve business and personal issues that affect the business. A well run mastermind group “rolls up the sleeves and gets to work.” It is not about socializing over cocktails and business referrals.

Resolution 4 – Give something back to your community

We saved the best for last. Giving back through your business is called “Corporate Social Responsibility” or CSR. Formally defining a CSR program for your business, no matter what size, actually increases your odds of success.

We call it setting value-based goals as opposed to profit-driven goals. When you focus CSR goals, then employee goals, then customer goals, your profit goals will naturally follow and you will feel much more fulfilled.

Resolution 5 – Be intentional in 2018

The year 2018. Here it comes. What will you do? Will you wait and see what happens, or will you intentionally lay out a plan and go after it?

What Performance Metrics Should You Track?

September 12th, 2017 Posted by Blog Post, Key Performance Indicator, KPI 0 thoughts on “What Performance Metrics Should You Track?”

Most businesses and organizations naturally pay attention to 2 critical performance metrics – revenue and profit. Some may refer to “revenue” as sales, income, fees, etc. However it is labeled, it means the same thing – how much money you are bringing in.

The word “profit” might mean different things to different people/businesses. For examples, there is profit after direct costs, commonly referred to as gross profit, and there is profit after direct costs, sales costs, and general/administrative costs, commonly referred to as net profit.

Unquestionably, these are vital metrics. But they aren’t everything.


6 categories of metrics

There are 6 commonly referenced categories of performance metrics, as follows:

  1. Financial
  2. Sales & Marketing
  3. Customer
  4. Employees
  5. Operational
  6. Social Responsibility

Revenue and Profit are good examples of financial metrics. But there are any number of additional metrics that you might be concerned with, like Cash on Hand, Accounts Receivable and Accounts Payable. Each of these can have an impact on the other, so don’t look at any of them in a vacuum.

New Customers and Website Visitors are examples of sales and marketing metrics. Customer Retention Rate and Customer Complaints are examples of customer metrics. Employee metrics might include things like Average Employee Tenure and Time to Hire.

Examples of operational metrics include things like Quality and First Time Resolution (of customer issues). Volunteer Hours and Energy Consumptions are examples of social responsibility metrics.


2 Rules of Thumb

It can be a bit challenging to identify the metrics that are important to you. When you look at a pre-defined list of potential metrics, it’s tempting to say, “This one makes sense,” over and over again until you suddenly have a long, unmanageable list of them.

So a good rule of thumb is to identify 1 to 3 metrics in each of the 6 categories. That will keep you well beyond the narrow view of simply tracking revenue and profit, but will keep your list of metrics to a manageable few.

A second rule of thumb is, once you have identified which metrics to track, set targets for each of them. Measuring without a target is an exercise in futility. What is the end game? What are you trying to achieve? Not only does setting targets add meaning to your metrics, it helps you to focus on the tasks, energy and resources needed to achieve the targets.


What metrics should I track?

The answer to that lies with you and your stakeholders. What is important to you? What does success look like to you? If you are unsure, sit down with your trusted advisors, team, and customers. Ask them. Compare their answers to yours. Then set your metrics.

The good news is you can change them any time it makes sense to do so.


We have you covered

The Plan Canvas software comes pre-loaded with over 50 common key performance metrics (KPI). If we don’t have metrics that are important to you, you can add as many of your own as you’d like.

For a demo of Plan Canvas, click here.

So what metrics are important to you? We would love to hear from you.

10 Tips for Your Business or Startup

September 5th, 2017 Posted by Blog Post, Strategy 0 thoughts on “10 Tips for Your Business or Startup”

It’s not enough to formally plan your business. Strategically managing it can make the difference between wild success and running your business into the ground. But it all may seem overwhelming at first brush. Here are a few tips for tackling it in chunks.

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

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