Every organisation I’ve ever known or worked with has had a myriad of goals, objectives and targets. The trouble with too many competing objectives, however, is that it results in unnecessary confusion and complexity.
When I work with my clients we determine their #1 goal and use that goal to drive the company’s strategy and agenda. The advantages of this approach are that it gives you and your team a clear focus, aids communication across the organisation, helps you make better and quicker strategic decisions and accelerates organisational momentum.
When I first worked with Topps Tiles, for instance, the company did not have a clear goal – so we immediately set about developing one together. The company’s goal became to grow its share of the UK tile market from 25% to 33%.
As a result of this goal, the organisation’s actions and behaviours changed. Non-core product categories – including wooden flooring and decorating materials – were removed from the offer, as they were irrelevant to the goal. Conversely, a greater focus was placed on relationships with local traders and installers, as these customers were critical to the achieving a 3% share.
Here are some of the behaviours and actions that change as a result of a clear and compelling goal:
- Managers think more broadly about the strategic options available to the business –which creates new growth opportunities – rather than just trying to fix or improve the current business;
- The leadership team are able to set a clearer strategy for the business. As Ian Filby, the CEO of DFS, once put it to me, “A strategy has to meet a clear goal. Without agreement about the goal, you can’t settle on the strategy.”
- The strategic agenda changes. New initiatives are launched and some existing projects are stopped or amended;
- Leaders are able to talk about their decisions in light of the overarching goal they’re working towards, enabling everyone across the organisation to feel part of a collective effort;
- Successes along the way to the goal are celebrated, bringing the organisation closer together and building the confidence for further initiatives and actions;
- On a day-to-day basis, managers are able to make better decisions by asking which possible course of action would take the business closer to its goal;
- Managers and colleagues reach out more across functional boundaries to work with other teams on issues that will help the company achieve its goal more rapidly;
- The organisation is able to deliver its projects more quickly, as the organisation gets rid of initiatives competing for scarce resources in pursuit of different goals.
At Topps Tiles, management gave the business a 5-year challenge to deliver its goal of 33% market share. In the end, however, the benefits of greater focus, alignment and speed enabled the company to achieve its goal a year early. As CEO, Matt Williams, put it at the time, “A specific and clear goal galvanised the entire organisation and has been a key part of our success!”
Do you have a clear and compelling #1 goal for your business? And, if not, what steps could you take today to develop one and use it to focus and accelerate the growth and success of your organisation?
© Stuart Cross 2018. All rights reserved.