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Goal setting versus strategy setting

Goal setting versus strategy setting

Posted on 26/06/2019 by Breeanna Noske


We at Entrée Recruitment have always held an annual 'goal-setting' meeting in the lead up to the End Of Financial Year. Within this meeting, staff usually discuss both their personal and team work goals for the coming financial year. Regular assessments throughout the year enable us to track our performance against these goals and re-align them upon completion.

This year (2019), however, we approached our EOFY meeting from different perspective. Still in an attempt to grow, develop and further both ourselves and our business in the year ahead, we held what we called a 'strategy' meeting.

The difference you ask? Where a goal-setting meeting focused on the measurable actions we could achieve, the strategy meeting focused on the broader outcomes of those actions. Essentially we focused on the 'why' as opposed to just the 'how'.

Let’s look at an example. And no, I won’t be sharing our own strategies for the purpose of explanation – we’re keeping those exciting cards close to our chest! Let’s consider an accounting practice. An EOFY goal-setting meeting for this accounting practice might bring about the following goals:

  • Increase active client base by thirty percent
  • Increase profit margin by x amount
  • Encourage all staff members to attend at least one professional networking event monthly
  • Periodically re-market to past clients

Now, if the same accounting practice were to hold an EOFY strategy meeting, they might decide upon the following strategies:

  • Branch into business accounting in addition to just personal accounting
  • Partner with a financial planning firm to facilitate cross promotion and referral
  • Position and brand practice as a leader within the market
  • Move to a bigger and better office location

Following either one of these viewpoints could result in the same outcomes for the accounting practice. Increasing your profit margin would facilitate the procurement of a new office location. But focusing merely on the goals and actions themselves could risk the bigger picture getting lost. Your team could focus solely on the achieving of day-to-day goals and targets and lose sight of the broader outcomes. Focusing on the strategy and ultimate outcomes from the get go gives you the 'why'. It paints a picture for your team, providing them with purpose and motivation. And the required goals and actions required to achieve these strategies will flow resultingly.

And not only does KNOWING the strategy and desired outcomes assist in motivating a team, but participation in CREATING and crafting the strategy can also add a sense of ownership and belonging within your team. The team goal becomes the personal goal.

And even in much larger businesses where you might not be privy to the organisation’s ultimate strategies and planned outcomes, you can implement strategies within your team, division or office. Look collectively at what you want your team to achieve, and work backwards together to uncover the actions that will get you all there.

What does your annual goal setting process look like? Certainly our experience with a more strategy focused planning session motivated and invigorated our team. You may find, like we did, that the sense of strategic purpose provides additional motivation heading into the new financial year.