Goal setting for business success: A post Covid-19 need | Sunday Observer

Goal setting for business success: A post Covid-19 need

3 May, 2020

Almost all business entities in Sri Lanka are provided with an opportunity to revitalize, reinvent or renew the business strategy in order to treat the new world order as an opening to expand their existing businesses. As everyone knows, with the global crisis of coronavirus impact on business activities, many existing doors will be closed but many more other doors will be opened for positive thinking and clever entrepreneurs. 

Goal setting is defined as the process of deciding what you need to accomplish and devising a strategy to achieve desired results. Therefore, ‘Goal Setting’ is treated as an extremely important part of business management. For this process to be effective the entrepreneur has to concentrate on more than a mere decision on a target, but he or she also has to plan and work relentlessly on accomplishing the goal. 

Although almost all large and established organisations practice this all important exercise, many of the Sri Lankan SMEs don not seriously ponder on the process. Obviously, these small and medium business owners usually know what they want to do and they earnestly work on it. Nevertheless, their problem is creating a plan to get there. Therefore, now is a good time to critically look at it, study it and put it into action as many avenues will be available for small and medium enterprises due to the new situation created by coronavirus. It must be noted that the actual plan must be long term but it must be broken into several short term targets covering a suitable period of time for it to be most effective.  

When an organization sets a goal, the priorities of each individual member becomes clear and shows them what they need to focus on during a specified period of time. This practice creates a sense of direction, boosts morale, promotes teamwork, provides motivation and finally allows the entrepreneur to measure the success reasonably accurately.  Therefore, there is no question that it will help increase the productivity, thereby the success of the business. 

In my long experience in the private sector, I have found that the best guide for goal setting and to ensure its success is to peruse the acronym ‘SMART’. It says that the goal must be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound. This is a simple guideline anyone can follow based on criteria attributed to Peter Drucker’s theory of ‘management by objective’ concept. The ellipsis explains that the goal must have a specific indication of the monetary value and that the end result of the effort can be measurable. 

It also states that the goal must be realistic but it must be challenging as well. No company set targets to be achieved with ease. Usually, when the target is set at a demanding height, the team works extra hard to achieve and this should be the objective of the company. Moreover, the set goal must align with your long term plan and be relevant to the ultimate financial and marketing objectives. Without a specific time frame, the success cannot be measured. Hence, long and short term goals essentially should contain a time limit.   

Incentivising the goals is a vital practice many successful organizations perform to motivate the staff. Incentive schemes not only strengthen the enthusiasm of the team, but also promote favourable behaviours in the workplace.  Usually, this practice guarantees positive and consistent development in predetermined targets. However, the entrepreneur must be cautious about the organizational culture and make sure that a toxic work environment is not created by high targets and tailor the incentive schemes accordingly. It also is very effective if the entire staff can be involved in the scheme.         

As discussed, whatever possible incentive scheme is significant to hold your team accountable. So as to manage and direct the team toward the goal, you must create a system to keep track and monitor individual tasks. By way of a simple tracking technique with ideally a daily reporting method, all intended tasks can be monitored closely to keep team members on the correct path. This practice is dual supportive to the achievement of the goal in promoting the team spirit on one hand and providing precise and important management information on the other.

Constantly reminding the larger picture and the impact of the short term goals to achieve that is another routine you must perform with the staff. It enhances the staff member’s ownership to the overall goal. The intention is to show them the rationale of the setting of the goal and to ensure that it is a win-win situation with mutual benefits.

This action can also create a performance-focused culture in the organisation irrespective of the size of business.   

Most often the goal setting is done along with a marketing plan. Therefore, an action plan is vitally important for the set goal to achieve the desired result. The action plan can be made with the team participation to inculcate more pragmatic approaches to the task. A collective effort to the action plan assures and motivates the ownership feeling among the participating team members. 

Let us analyse a few amazing benefits, among many, an organisation can obtain by setting clear business goals. First and foremost you can achieve much better results in a much faster period. When you start achieving the planned result, you and your team are more motivated and committed to the task and work harder for the rest of the outcome.

The effort of setting a goal creates a sense of purpose in you and your team.  When your goal is specific and precise, it persistently reminds you of the objective and avoids or minimises distractions. 

Once you are adapted to the clear sense of achievement through the process and more organized through a plan, you have a clear vision of the future. You know what your priorities as well as your teams and the progress at any given moment. The immediate benefit is that the tasks for the accomplishments are known to you. Having this information out of your own brain will reduce the stress and it will allow you to focus more on business and make clearer decisions. 

Finally, do not forget to celebrate and reward your organisation on progress as realising the business goal is harder than setting the goal. Therefore, take time to acknowledge the improvement and encourage the stakeholders at any and every possible occasion.

Team celebrations always bring renewed motivation to everyone involved and bring you closer to your ultimate goal. 

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