Guiding principles communicate behavioral expectations to employees. Goals are metrics for success. Learn how to create both so you can more clearly articulate your expectations for the future.
- The last two elements of setting direction for your organization are articulating your guiding principles and your goals. Guiding principles dictate how you want the organization to behave, especially when your leaders aren't around. You're setting out a principle that an associate can use when they're confronted with a situation where they don't know what to do. What lenses do you want them looking through as they're evaluating those decisions? Because if you have clear guiding principles, the actions they're going to take will be consistent with the direction of the organization, which ultimately helps you achieve that vision and mission. In terms of your goals, you're going to set out those metrics, those things that after a year, two years, five years, you'll look back and say, we achieved those goals. Try to make them as measurable as possible. It can be a dollar, how much revenue, how much profit. It can be a number of new customers that you add. Those guiding principles and goals need to be clear enough that they guide behavior, help people behave in a manner that's consistent with the organization's mission, and those goals should be driving you to achieving your vision over time. They need to be aggressive and pragmatic so you get that balance of I know I can achieve this, but I'm not really quite sure how I can get there so I need to innovate and push to be able to do so. Let me share some ideas around what guiding principles can be. I've worked with many organizations around the world to define what they want in terms of behavior from their associates. Some guiding principles I've heard that are great are things like, "Would I give this to my family?" The organization was in the consumer packaged goods industry and when people were trying to figure out whether they make an ingredient change to a product or a packaging change to the product, they asked their people to step back and say, if you made that change, would you be comfortable giving that product to your family? If the answer was yes, go ahead and make the change. If the answer's no, stop immediately. Other guiding principles I've heard. "Be net exporters of talent." This is how we want our managers in the organization to behave. Being a net exporter of talent means bringing people in, helping them develop, helping them grow, challenging them, and building their skills and then, once they've reached that next level, push them off to the next team. Send them to the next great opportunity in front of them. And then, bring in more people behind them, and the net effect of that is you're generating more talent for the organization than you're bringing in. Now, think of the behaviors that this can lead managers to take. They won't hoard talent anymore. The notion that I've build somebody and they're a high performer, but you know what, I'm going to discourage them from going to the great new role, would run counter to this guiding principle. So, by putting this principle in place, that organization is going to achieve that goal of having a more talented organization. So, think about what you want your organization to look like in the future, how do you want your associates to behave, and then be able to put in place a principle that they can understand when they're faced with a decision. Now, in terms of goals, laying those out very clearly and then sharing them across the organization, but letting the organization figure out how to get there. I've been in organizations where we had revenue targets or retention targets. My organization today, I lay out a goal for myself. Every year, I want this many more client logos on our website, so I want to force us to get out of the comfort zone of serving clients that we currently serve, which is great and we love doing, but we need to continue to grow so I want new logos on the website. When we land a new client, we add a logo to the website, and that's a metric that I track because it helps me achieve my vision for our organization down the road. So, think about what the goals are of your organization. What's the vision, where are you trying to go, and what set of goals will help you get there? And by articulating them clearly, the organization is going to drive in the right direction.
- Define the principles of strategic planning.
- Identify forces used to assess the market.
- Explain how to conduct a SWOT analysis.
- Articulate how to establish guiding principles and set goals.
- Explain what strategic filters are used for.
- Describe the steps of a strategic planning process.