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Setting Strategic Goals: Everything You Need To Know

Setting strategic goals is essential for keeping your team and organisation on the right path. By establishing aims that align with wider objectives, you create a ‘guiding north star’ that will keep you and your teams on track. 

Today we’re exploring the purpose and benefits of strategic goals, and how you can set the right goals for your project.  

What is a Strategic Goal?

A strategic goal is an objective that an organisation strives to achieve. It can be specific, such as increasing production of a specific product by 50%, or broad, such as increasing market share over a competitor.

Strategic goals come in many forms, with each one being measured in a unique way. It’s essential that your strategic goals can be measured to gauge the progress being made. 

Why are Strategic Goals Important?

Strategic goals are often the goalposts by which the success of your project or company is measured. Using pre-defined metrics to measure the progress of your goals helps to evidence whether or not they are being achieved. 

Setting goals without hard metrics to measure them against means it’ll be harder to determine whether you are achieving them. Specific metrics also help to narrow down areas that need attention, assisting you in planning the appropriate actions.

Common metrics used to measure the success of your strategy goals include:

  • Revenue – The total amount of revenue that is earned by the business in a set time. Typically segmented per product, sector, range, etc.
  • Rate of growth – The rate at which your incoming revenue increases. Typically measured by percentage growth against time.
  • Website conversions – The number of specific actions taken on a website, such as contact-form submissions or incoming inquiries.
  • Social media followers – The number of followers your organisation (or another associated account) has on social media.
  • Employee retention – The number of employees that leave the organisation vs. the number that stay, typically measured as percentage churn.
  • Production – The rate at which a specific product is being manufactured and put to market, can be measured by the total number or rate of production increase.

Types of Strategic Goal

As we’ve established, strategic goals can be set against any area that requires improvement. Specific goals typically break down into the following types.

Financial

Financial strategic goals relate to a range of money-focused metrics and are perhaps the most easily measured of goals. These include:

  • Increasing revenue
  • Maintaining or growing profit
  • Reducing expenditure
  • Creating new revenue streams
  • Revenue or profit targets for specific products or areas
  • Saving money on reducing budgets
  • Diversifying your customer base
  • Future-proofing your product range

An example of common financial strategic goals could be:

  • Increase product A revenue by 20% as demand for project B decreases.
  • Reduce costs of producing product B by 30%.
  • Increase the profitability of total product range by 15%.

Growth

Growth strategic goals refer to how the overall business develops. These include:

  • Business growth in specific areas
  • Increasing personnel 
  • Becoming a market leader
  • Gaining a share of a new market
  • Opening new branches or offices
  • Increasing social visibility 
  • Increasing total product offering

Examples of growth-based strategic goals include:

  • Increase market share in sector A by 15% in 3 years.
  • Open 2 new branches in another country.
  • Gain more than 50% of total market share in 5 years.

Employees

Employee-centred strategic goals relate to how your employees complete their work and engage with the organisation. These include:

  • Reducing employee turnover
  • Increasing employee happiness
  • Improving employee engagement
  • Increasing employee productivity
  • Reducing general employee stress
  • Attracting more top talent
  • Streamlining department structure
  • Improving the rate of employee development
  • Standardising cross-department collaboration

Examples of employee-focused strategic goals could be:

  • Reduce employee turnover by 30% next year.
  • Increase productivity of department B by 10%.
  • Increasing the rate at which departments collaborate with each other by 50%.

Customers

Customer-focused strategic goals are based around your customers, from total number and retention to satisfaction and value perception.

  • Increasing total customer base
  • Improving customer satisfaction
  • Reducing customer churn
  • Improving customer value delivery
  • Increasing customer outreach
  • Increase the number of returning customers
  • Targeting new customer demographics

Examples of customer-focused strategic goals include:

  • Increase customer retention by 40% in the next quarter.
  • Increase the number of returning customers by 20%.
  • Grow revenue across 3 new demographics in 6 months.

Products / Services

Strategic goals centred around products or services can relate to a wide range of areas, from revenue and efficiency to customer satisfaction and value. These include:

  • Improving efficiency of service delivery
  • Developing new services to meet an emerging need
  • Developing a new product
  • Relaunching a product line
  • Increasing profitability of a particular service
  • Reduce number of complaints relating to a particular service

Examples of strategic goals focused on products or services include:

  • Develop and launch new product A by end of year
  • Increase revenue generated from service A by 20%
  • Improve customer satisfaction from product B by 30%

Technology

Strategic goals centred around technology can vary in scope and requirement and often relate to the adoption of new technologies. These include:

  • Implementing new internal HR software
  • Improving the efficiency of a piece of market technology
  • Transitioning from outdated hardware or software
  • Investing in new technologies to improve productivity
  • Reducing expenditure on R&D
  • Successfully patent a new technology

Examples of technology-focused strategic goals include:

  • Successfully transition entire organisation onto Mac software
  • Reduce R&D expenditure by 10% this year
  • Implement internal project management software to improve efficiency

Capabilities / Productivity

Setting strategic goals around internal capability or productivity are essential for becoming more effective as an organisation. These could include:

  • Increasing productivity of a specific department
  • Increasing interoperability of different departments
  • Improving the productive capabilities of a facility
  • Streamlining internal data management to reduce research times
  • Improving efficiency of service delivery
  • Reducing reliance on third parties in service delivery
  • Increase the rate at which new starters are trained
  • Implement a hybrid working policy

Examples of specific strategic goals relating to productivity include:

  • Increase productivity of marketing department by 10%
  • Reduce research and planning times by 30% by streamlining data management
  • Speed up new starter training and induction process by 20%

Innovation

Innovation-centred strategic goals relate to how your organisation is developing new, better methods of working and delivering your service or products. These can include:

  • Developing a new piece of software for internal use
  • Hire one new research specialist
  • Create a team dedicated to developing a new product
  • Increase collaboration with external organisations
  • Develop a new product to be put to market
  • Reduce the time it takes to put products to market

Some specific examples of innovation-based goals include:

  • Research and develop a new product to be put to market in Q4
  • Reduce time to market for all new products by 10%
  • Develop an internal software solution for task management

Strategic Goals vs…

Before we go any further, let’s clear up the terminology around strategic goals.

Strategic Planning

Strategic planning is the process of formulating and defining your strategic goals. It involves the implementation and measurement of your goals and the processes you put in place to achieve them.

OKRs

OKRs (Objectives & Key Results) are usually shorter-term, more specific targets than strategic goals. For example, ‘increase product A revenue by 30%’ could be an OKR, while ‘increase total business revenue by 50%’ could be your strategic goal.

Strategic Objectives

The difference between strategic objectives and goals is primarily semantic, with the terms often being used interchangeably. However, the term ‘objective’ is usually more specific than ‘goals’, so it’s up to your organisation to determine the terminology that suits you.

KPIs

KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) are typically metrics that are constantly measured and compared to determine performance. While your strategic goal might be to increase revenue, the KPI could be the percentage of time that daily revenue exceeds a particular threshold. 

How to Set a Strategic Goal

Follow these steps to set the right strategic goals for your organisation. 

1) Consider your business goals

Firstly, you need to be aware of what your organisation wants to achieve in broad terms. What is the overall vision? How do you want the organisation to develop or change in the near future? Once you know that, the path to your strategic goals becomes clearer.

2) Identify the best opportunities

Based on your overall aims, it’s time to distill these down into a set of goals that are achievable, measurable, and present the best opportunity for improvement. For example, if two potential goals exist, and one is more likely than the other to generate positive change, prioritise that one. 

3) Use the SMART method

The SMART method is a tried-and-tested way of defining goals that achieve the desired results. SMART goals are:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Relevant
  • Time-bound

For example: Improve the operational efficiency of our R&D department by 20% in the next 6 months through the adoption of new technologies and training.

4) Communicate your goals to your teams

When communicating your strategic goals to your organisation, consider the level of buy-in they are likely to get. If you can demonstrate the value of these goals for everyone involved, your teams will be more likely to accept the changes involved in achieving these goals. Everyone needs to know their role and the importance of the overall objective.

5) Measure progress & adapt as required

Measuring your progress consistently is the best way to determine how effective your goals are, and subsequently, the methods by which they are being pursued. Check your KPIs on a regular basis, book reviews at key milestones, and don’t be afraid to make changes if the desired progress isn’t being made. 

Tactics to Keep Your Goals on Track

Now you know how to set your goals, it’s time to determine how to keep them, and everyone involved, on track. 

Measure them regularly

Firstly, regular measurement of goals is essential for judging performance. Choose the most appropriate method of tracking progress, whether it be by work completed or changes implemented. Determine the right KPIs for your goals and check on them often. 

Break goals down into actions

Each strategic goal will require some specific actions to achieve it. For example, if your goal is to develop a new product, the specific actions will involve research, design, manufacturing, marketing, and more. Map out each action required to achieve your strategic goal and plan out the best way to tackle each one. 

Create a schedule

Based on the actions you define for each goal, you can create a schedule by which the strategic goal is worked on. For example, if a strategic goal is set to be completed in a year, plan out how long each action will take before the deadline and build your schedule around that. 

Read our blog on How to Create a Project Management Schedule to learn more.

Empower your people

The best way of keeping strategic goals on track is to increase the ability of everyone involved to move the needle. By empowering your teams in the right way, you can make them more efficient, more effective, and more engaged with the project they’re working on. 

Empowering your teams is a formidable method of keeping your goals on track. Learn more about it here: Employee Empowerment: Everything You Need To Know

Learning From Your Progress

As you work towards the fulfillment of your strategic goals, you’ll begin to get a sense of what works and what doesn’t. You’ll gain an understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of your teams and processes, and be able to adjust them for future projects. This is what Verto can help you with. 

Verto is a cloud-based work management solution designed to keep you and your teams on track. It offers a wide range of tools that you can use to manage the fulfillment of your strategic goals, including:

If you think these tools can help you achieve your strategic goals, get in touch with the Verto team today, or book a demo to test how Verto can help you.

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About the author – Laura Watts

Laura is the Marketing Manager at TMI Systems Ltd., working predominantly on Verto 365 and closely on the Microsoft partnership enabling the platform to be used in its entirety from Microsoft Teams. Laura and her family moved from London in 2021 and now live and work in Gloucestershire.