Goals and Targets

For many of us year end is the time of year when we ask ourselves if we achieved our business goals.  Were sales in line with forecasts?  Did expenses come in on budget?  Are margins up or down compared to last year?

Setting goals and targets are an important aspect of everything we do, be it in business or our personal lives.  It is possible to be dejected if the numbers don’t come in favourably.  To regret the past year’s lost opportunities, the missed sales, the cost overruns, and all the little things that added up to the numbers staring back at you.

Even if the numbers are good, the question still lingers how do we beat these next year.  How do I push the team further?

When it comes to setting goals and targets, the journey travelled to achieve results is just as important as the results themselves.  It’s the lessons learned along the way that when leveraged begin to add up and have a material impact on overall success.   As they say, the definition of a fool is to do the same thing twice and expect a different result.

As well, the targets for the year should be viewed in the context of the long term plan and the business strategy.  Even if the numbers were short this year, is the business still on course to hit the five year plan?  Perhaps the foundation for growth was laid this year and next year is a breakthrough year.  Of course, if at this point you’re asking yourself… 5 year plan, what 5 year plan???  Remember what Alice said in Wonderland, “If you don’t know where you want to go, then it doesn’t matter which path you take”.

The point is to see the silver lining and rally the team around the good news.  Emphasize what worked well and what can be built upon, while ensuring what didn’t is being reviewed.