In the realm of organizational change and agility training, facilitation, and consulting, we often encounter two terms that are crucial to understand (and apply!) yet seem to be thrown about like corporate buzzwords; their value diluted, their meaning lost. These are Goals and Strategy.
We talked about goals last week, and the importance of them - this week we will go a step further and discuss the differences between goals and strategy. What exactly do these terms mean? And how are they related?
What is a Goal?
Picture this: You're about to embark on a journey. You have your suitcase packed, your tickets in hand... but where are you going? That destination you envision, that's your goal. In an organizational context, a goal is the desired outcome or destination that you want your organization to reach. It's a clear, concise statement of what success looks like for your business. For example, increasing market share by 15% within the next fiscal year could be a goal for a company looking to expand its business.
Pretty simple right?
What is a Strategy?
So, you know your destination, but how will you get there? Will you take a flight, a train, or perhaps drive there? The method you choose to get to your destination, that's your strategy. In an organization, a strategy can also be seen as the roadmap or plan that outlines how to achieve your goals. It involves making deliberate decisions and taking calculated actions and making trade-offs to navigate the complexities of the business environment. Having a clear strategy means having intentionality and not trying to be everything to everyone.
If we continue with our previous example, the strategy might involve expanding into untapped markets, launching new products, or enhancing marketing efforts to increase market share. But too often, what we see is a clear goal and a sound strategy on paper, but in practice, a business that is trying to do everything, and ends up doing nothing well.
Why does it matter?
Let’s use an example of financial institution X who wants to grow their market share (goal) by tapping into a younger audience and being supremely customer centric (strategy). They want to shift away from a stodgy old-world presence that they are known for and are investing heavily into young fun branding… but at the same time, scared they will alienate the bread and butter of generational wealth, they pull back on making some decisions that would surely catapult them into being the bank of choice by younger people. They decide they will both cater to the original demographic and will also try to win the younger one.
What happens? The people in the organization double their workload, they can’t say no and lose morale. What often looks like a prioritization problem at the surface, is actually a strategy confidence problem.
We’re going to keep digging into this next week, so stay tuned. In the meantime, connect with us if you’d like any help navigating the charged waters of the new year in goal setting and or strategic alignment. As a training, facilitation and consulting company who puts people first and focuses on results, we can build any workshop (or create any platform you need) to help get your team aligned and performing better together –it happens to be our superpower.