Conceiving, planning, setting, communicating and achieving organization goals are essential for a business to succeed. Goals are not only the organization’s driving force but also are the measurement of success. Without goals an organization loses both direction and motivation which usually results in unexpected wind-down of operations and possibly bankruptcy. We recommend and help organizations carefully plan to conceive, set, communicate and achieve organization goals. This makes our clients successful which in turn makes us successful.
Organizations have a huge variety of goals that are as widespread as personal goals. Religious organizations may have goals to evangelize and reach out to as many people as possible without earning any profits. Many organizations set profit and earning goals as defined by shareholders who have invested their cash into the business and wish to see a return on their investment over a specified period of time. Goals cannot be set by an organization’s second or third parties they must be set by people within. Goals are best placed into one of three categories: social, environmental and financial. Think about people, their surroundings and viability. Some people think of financial goals as greed driven but the reality is without financial sustainability a non-profit organization may cease to exist because it cannot pay for their basic needs. Viability includes financial sustainability.
Financial sustainability may come from a parent organization which sustains the business and as such the parent organizations financial sustainability comes into play and its financial sustainability. Sustainable financial goals need to be present in all organizations including non-profits. The only time that long term sustainable financial goals are not required is if the organization’s goals are to liquidate assets, wind-down operations and cease to exist within a specified period of time but even in this case the organization must pay for its basic needs while it is operating. The organization still needs financial goals over a certain period of time. Financial goals should not be seen as greed but required for sustainability of the organization. An organization’s healthy finances enable the organization to perform greater and loftier social and environmental goals. This is why all three categories of goals are important.
Environmental goals include not only the environment outside of the organization but also within. It also includes the soft skills and interactions among the personnel within the business and the business culture. Think of the five senses when thinking of the environment. What do you see, hear, smell, feel and taste both within the organization and outside. The internal environment of a business can make or break it. See our article on corporate culture: "Developing a Business Culture" for more information. The sustainability of environmental goals is also of paramount importance. If a business has a corporate culture of back stabbing and cutting fellow personnel down then it will diminish over time. Sometimes the business appears to operate smoothly through the revolving door by repeatedly replacing personnel with new recruits but over time and among an entire industry this will diminish an organization’s effectiveness.
Further, tight cramped, noisy, poorly lit and uncomfortable work environments also will contribute to poor productivity. Again, five senses apply. The outside environment is important to an organization too. An organization that continually pollutes the environment can be subject to government restrictions and shut downs which can negatively affect the remainder of its goals and cause a cease of existence. This gets a little controversial in the petroleum and mining industries where organizations are faced with limited environmental resources which are not sustainable over an infinite period of time. Again, the period of time that the business is sustainable applies here similar to organizations intending to wind-down operations. These organizations should either plan to engage in new locations to produce petroleum or mining products or enter into a new industry to remain viable over the longer term.
Social goals are some of the most important goals an organization can set. People are the most important resource an organization has. The people outside an organization are of paramount importance too. The difficulty with setting social goals usually stems from defining some people as more important than others. This form of definition is a slippery slope that is usually destined for disaster. It would be an unacceptable practice for shareholders to profit from an organization at the expense of the employees of the business or customers. The same would be true that it would be wrong for customers or employees to profit from an organization at the expense of the shareholders. The best scenario is for all entities to benefit as equally as possible. This is the challenge to rise up to. It is not easy but it is the correct and true path. Improving the social wellbeing of individuals is a great place to start and this may not always involve financial gain alone. The social wellbeing of people includes being content if not happy, feeling useful, socially engaged and productive. Healthy and strong career growth may be important to some individuals but may not be to others. Building a community that supports individuals that are struggling is also important. Family and life/work balances are extremely important and employers need to facilitate these. Health care and exercise are also important for all individuals and most companies handle these areas very effectively through health care insurance plans and work out areas. There are also personal financial needs that individuals and families have which must be met to ensure social sustainability of a community. Hiring employees burning them out with high performance demands and stresses then firing them when they tire out and hire new ones does not help the industry or the community. This is a practice that may benefit a business short term but will have long term negative personnel effects on the industry and community. The long term effects of a socially unsustainable organization are devastating. Keep people in mind when setting goals.
We help our clients conceive, plan, set, communicate and achieve their organization goals. Not planning is forecasting failure.
Again, our goal is for our clients to achieve theirs. Then we are all successful. Call us.
Let’s Build a Better Business!
Tom, The Business Planners