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Guest Blog: Four Goals or Forty?



How many goals do you and your senior managers have versus what is listed in the strategic plan? I once was given 4 brand new goals by the board of directors to start building a new strategic plan for the company. To start the process I set out to interview the 10 senior managers about their plans for the future. What the interviews revealed was that the company didn’t have 4 Goals….it had 40 Goals.

Each manager had put their own interpretation on each goal. This was accomplished by having loose goals.

Let’s look at an example of a loose goal.

“To expand geographically in order to increase sales”

Most people are familiar with the acronym “SMART” for the characteristics of goals. Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely. Does the above goal meet SMART? No!

When the goal gets modified with SMART characteristics we gain clarity for the direction of the company.

“To expand geographically into region ‘X’ in order to increase sales by $500,000 by Jan 20XX”

Now let’s use 2 test questions. The questions are 1) “How will you know when you have reached the goal?” and 2) “How will you prove that you have reached the goal?”.

The answers are 1) the company has gained $500,000 in sales before Jan 20XX; and 2) region ‘X’ has gained $500,000 in sales before Jan 20XX. Looking at the answers there is still some ambiguity between the answers…..Is the sales increase for the company or the region?

Now let’s modify the goal based on the test question answers:

“To increase sales from region ‘X’ by $500,000 before Jan 20XX”

Now it is easier to see the connection between the strategic goal and the performance expected of the company.

The end of the story above is the 4 goals got modified to align with SMART and the 2 test questions. This created clarity for the direction of the company, performance measures and reduced the goals back to 4.

If you would like to review the connection between your company goals and performance, please contact me on LinkedIn, or email