A goal is defined in the Oxford English Dictionary as “The object of a person’s ambition or effort; an aim or desired result”. We hear it all the time, we must identify goals or we will lack direction.
A strategy is defined as “A plan of action/s designed to achieve a long-term or overall aim / goal”. This makes sense and we can all relate to the need for planned actions in achieving our goals.
A system is “A set of principles or procedures according to which something is done; an organised scheme or method”. For me, the only thing I would add to this would be to ensure that all other people involved in helping you to achieve your goals needs to fully understand the system you have chosen that will strategically help you to achieve those goals.
In businesses I work with in my role as a hospitality consultant, I find that we often focus on the long term goals. Goals are important, but what impact will you see by trying to ensure that TODAY every person in your team that is helping you to achieve that goal is sticking to the plan (Strategy) and carrying out every task or process (System) in accordance with your standards? Will it improve performance, results, consistency?
A widely over-used phrase would be that running a business is not a sprint, but a marathon and I understand why that holds water. I can relate immediately to the stamina requirements. However, we all know the importance of getting a good start, right? Your goal should have milestones along the way. In the early stages you need to be able to display to your team that you are meeting those milestones. That builds confidence in the systems and strategy that have been chosen by you (Either independently or collectively with your team) to achieve that goal. It builds credibility but more importantly, it creates a winning attitude and winning is a habit.
If you are not measuring the results of your planned systems / procedures, if you are not measuring results at milestones then there is a risk that you will miss opportunities to adapt and change for the better. What I mean is, if your system and strategy are being executed perfectly but you find that you are slipping further away from your goal – who is going to take responsibility for changing the systems, evaluating the strategy or indeed re-assessing the realistic likelihood of achieving the goal?
Equally important: Without measurement, how do you intend to track progress towards achieving your business goals?
In a Five Minute Friday it’s impossible to unwind this any further but hopefully it is a timely mind check as we start a new calendar year.