I was once approached by a consumer finance company with a request to hold a strategic goal-setting session for them. In short, the essence of the request was as follows:
“We are set a goal to grow by 5–10% annually, but there is no common understanding of how to come to this. Therefore, each department does what it can. We are not happy with the result, we want to invite someone from outside to help us figure out what we are doing wrong. ”
Looking ahead, I will say that the strategy session did not take place, because the owner was not aware of the team’s plans and in the process of briefing they could not decide on the person who made the final decision🤯 However, in my experience there was a vivid example of the substitution of concepts in setting goals …
🤔 “Grow 10% in 12 months” — is that a lot or a little? Good or so-so? Why not 12% or 35%? By giving the team such a supposedly “specific goal with a deadline”, the leaders think that everyone understands everything and they just need to go and do it. But in fact, people are waiting for step-by-step instructions on how to come to this and the rationale for each step.
Simply setting a goal is not enough. It is necessary to build a system consisting of small but regular actions. And do it consciously, and not because “the leader said so and asked not to ask unnecessary questions.”
For example, these guys could take the following steps:
✅ All stakeholders of the project get together and formulate the desired state of the company, presenting their business in detail in a year.
✅ Analyze the resources that are available and find the bottleneck. Determine ways to replenish the shortage of resources (people, money, space, time, etc.) or take the situation for granted. The main thing is without complaints about “lack of personnel” or “daring competitors”.
✅ Mentally rewind the desired state of the business until today and build a roadmap that employees can walk along. Break a big goal into hundreds of small ones.
✅ Simply and clearly convey the logic of your actions to the team and show them the cause-and-effect relationships between daily actions and the desired result. People should feel that every call to a client, letter to a partner, or participation in a tender is not a routine, but a step forward.
✅ Celebrate small and big wins. It motivates and prevents burnout in case of failure.
“Grow by 10%” does not sound sexy and does not drive anyone except the owner. The leader needs to visualize the desired state of the company and give the team a route that can be followed to get closer to the desired one.