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5 Crucial Elements You Shouldn’t Overlook When Planning Objectives

Posted by Jeshua Zapata on Jun 25, 2014 2:33:00 PM

planning objectives“How can you get somewhere if you don't know where you are going?” I’m sure you’ve come across this question when planning your objectives. But do you really know where you are going? At Xzito, we are surprised by the number of companies that do not have clear, strategic, defined objectives. What's interesting is that everyone is busy executing strategies from upper management to sales staff to marketing teams to front line staff... What are they working on? How do they know they are impacting the business metrics that REALLY matter? What are these important metrics? Could they be working toward creating a recipe for disaster?

What is a clear, strategic, defined objective?

According to the BusinessDictionary.com, an objective is “a specific result that a person... aims to achieve within a timeframe and with available resources. Objectives are basic tools that underlie all planning and strategic activities.” When an organization has well-defined objectives, everyone works toward the same goal. Each person or department knows what is expected and can develop realistic strategies to meet their objectives.

In this blog article, we are going to share with you five crucial elements you shouldn't overlook when planning your objectives. We highly recommend that you share your answers with your staff and consultants to work as a team. Lets get started! 

Element #1: Identify the business function/department

Your objectives should align with the company's vision, mission, business model, and overall future direction. Define how each department can contribute to reaching your overall objectives. We typically recommend establishing no more than three objectives per business department or function. Most organizations separate their objectives by department or business function as follows:

  • Production/Operation

  • Sales and Marketing

  • Customer Service

  • Administration

Element #2: Identify the WHAT and WHEN

To accomplish your objectives, you must be clear on what you want, both in the current “as is” state and in a desired “should be” future condition. In addition, clearly state timeframes or nothing will be completed. For example: "We want to grow sales from $10 million to $15 million by Dec. 31, 2016." This is a logical objective with a clear target date, which shows what is to be achieved and the deadline for achieving it.

Element #3: Identify the WHY

You must have powerful reasons or motivations for why you are investing resources in a particular direction. The WHY will motivate your staff and partners. Without the why, there is no EXCITEMENT and no motivation to move forward. For example, "We want to be able to build a new plant to produce widget X, and "Y. This will allow us to grow further and maintain market domination."

Element#4:  Identify the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

It may seem obvious, but there must be some way to determine when you have achieved an objective. This means you must have clear Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that align with the objective and a company scorecard to measure results. You can read more of our blog posts for additional information about Marketing KPIs and Company Scorecards.

Element #5: Identify the HOW 

The last part is to plan the strategies that will help you reach your objectives. You should also create a scorecard with your KPIs to keep track of your progress.  It is important to work with partners who can help you take shortcuts and help you focus on the top 20% to work toward your objectives.

Example of a well clear, strategic, defined objective

BUSINESS DPT./ FUNCTION

List of departments can help you reach your objectives

OBJECTIVE (WHAT/WHEN)

Specific objective(s) for that department

MOTIVATION (WHY)

Powerful reason(s) to invest in your resources

MEASUREMENT (KPI)

Metric(s) to track progress and success

STRATEGIES (HOW)

Strategies to reach your objective(s)

Sales

We want to grow sales from $10 million to $15 million by Dec 31, 2016.

We want to be able to build a new plant to produce widget X and Y, which will allow us to grow further and maintain market domination.

Sales Revenue on Product X

Run X promotion

 

As part of our ONLINE MARKETING program at Xzito, we work with clients to define company objectives, establish KPIs, monitor a company scorecard, and plan the strategies needed to help bridge the gap from the company's current “as is” to its desired “should be."  Contact Xzito now to learn more about setting achievable objectives and taking your company to the next level.

What have been your challenges when planning objectives? We welcome your comments below!

 

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