Sunday, June 19, 2016

List of goals ≠ Strategy or is it?

What is the role of goals in the strategy process? I read an HBR article [1] that talks about the strategic planning process where managers come out with a list of things (goals) they need to achieve but that in itself is not a strategy.

If list of goals are not strategy then what are strategic goals? As we break down strategy into objectives, scope and means, I look at it as – “What, Where and the How”. To go one step further, ‘The what’ is the goal. As part of the strategy we want to achieve a set of objectives and these may be set up as your goals. Every goal has to be measureable and be a statement to achieve a desired state or output. Often generic purpose statements are confused with goals. Measureable goals are possible by defining them within the boundaries of operation for existing markets or a red ocean. Measurable goals for a blue ocean strategy lean more towards a qualitative desired state. Just as it is challenging to manage what you cannot measure, objectives that are not succinct and quantifiable pose a challenge to the balanced scoreboard.

Goals need to be embedded within strategic planning process to enable the balanced scorecard. Goals feed into the metrics set up and metrics monitor progress against implementation eventually measuring the success criterion of the strategy.

Why do we do strategic planning? It ranges from beating competition, new market entry or just to stay competitive and survive. It is imperative that a successful planning process be outcome driven. To restate, strategic planning needs to establish goal(s) to justify “The Why” of the strategic planning process.







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