Running an effective offsite – Part 4: Set the goals

In my previous post in this series about our experiences running an offsite, I talked about how we reviewed the company vision and values. In this article, I talk about the next step you might want to think about, which is breaking the vision down into goals.

Our experience is that goals should be shared by the C-level team, in that the team achieves them and helps each other in their role in doing so. Each goal has a champion, that helps drive it forward, and an owner (or shared ownership), that tells us who else is working on it.

What makes a good Goal? There are a number of things to look for when setting a goal. We’ve found that a goal should have the following:

  • Be a largely indivisible component of the Vision. If you say something generic like ‘the best, biggest and most profitable’ all in one goal, it’s going to be too big to know when you’re there. Break it down into smaller parts that can each be measured.
  • A measurable outcome or test. If you say you’re going to be the biggest, how will that be measured? By revenue? By profit? By employees, customers, services, what?
  • A target timeframe. Having determined a measurable outcome, put a timeframe on it, without being too specific. ‘In the next 1-2 years’ is good; ‘On May 23, 2021’ is probably a bit too specific.
  • Be a stretch. Not unattainable, or dreaming, but think big and make your goal something large enough to really get your teeth into.
  • Able to be articulated simply. We want all our staff to be able to understand our goals, so that they know why they come to work! If a goal sounds motherhood, management-speak or wishy-washy, it won’t get much attention or buy-in.
  • Have a good number of goals. How many goals you make is up to you, but ideally keeping the number of goals between 3 and 10 would end you up with something you can measure against. The goals should involve all departments of the business – some goals will be core to some departments, others, not so much.

Having got our Vision, Values & Attributes, and Goals together, and agreed on how they will be articulated, we are ready to go forth and make all this magic happen!

In my final post of this series, I talk about what we got out of going through the process and give some ideas on where to go from here.

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