Strategic goal are understood colloquially as what we would like to achieve in the future, so we can also define them as our intentions. They give, and determine, the sense of existence of each unit, system etc. By referring this definition specifically to enterprises, we can define goals as planned undertakings that are the result of the specific needs of the given organization, as well as its surroundings. The main principle of determining goals is their clear and transparent determination, so that they leave no doubt as to compliance with the mission of the company. In addition, they should be strictly formulated, measurable, ambitious, realistic and timely (SMART principle ).
The practice of defining goals
A well-defined strategic goal must answer the following questions:
- What? What we do?
- Where? In which area we make changes?
- When? What is our deadline?
- How? What we need to achieve the goal?
Strategic goals in the hierarchy
Objectives are subject to prioritization and are determined at the following three levels:
Of the above-mentioned stages, the strategic stage is the first and the most important in the hierarchy. The strategic goals set therein are numerically small and very general, so they mostly concern the global policy of the company, which in turn follows closely from its mission. It can therefore be stated that proper and careful definition of the vision that the organization will implement is crucial to formulating correctly the strategic goals. It is also worth noting that due to the very wide range of activities and long-term nature, strategic goals are subject to the most flexible time frames in the hierarchy.
A statement of the strategic goal and company mission
These are extremely different definitions, although the mission of the company does not exclude the purpose or purpose of the mission. The company's mission can be understood as broadly defined directions of enterprise development. This is the state to which the organization is heading. On the other hand, the goal of the organization is a set of intentions that leads to the achievement of a given state. The formulated goals are specific tasks that can be completed within a certain time interval. What distinguishes the goal from the mission is that the goals are more detailed and are, in a way, a "way" to accomplish the mission that we can understand as the final state.
Differences between the strategic goal and strategy
- mission - the state of the target, the enterprise's intentions
- action domains - markets
- strategic advantage - the leader's position
- strategic goals - specific actions to be implemented in the future within a strictly defined time horizon
- functional action program - implementation of the plan
Setting strategic goals
Strategic goals are defined as already mentioned, mainly considering the vision that the company intends to pursue. This is the most important criterion, however, one should not forget about taking into account other factors, such as analyzing the macro - environment of the organization, its competition, internal situation at the moment of formulating it, or finally the needs of the environment. Importantly, these goals can not be in any way contradictory.
In every major organization, managers are responsible for setting goals, at the appropriate level to make such decisions. In the case of strategic goals, they are most often responsible for the appointment of a given organization, successively management and top managers.
The role of strategic goals
Well-formulated strategic goals become the basis for the next development of strategic plans. Strategic plans, in turn, have the task of setting priorities for actions and making a series of decisions at various levels, enabling the implementation of previously assumed strategic objectives. These, in turn, will allow later development of tactical goals by top and middle level managers. This goal classification is presented in the form of a goal tree (or a goal classifier). In the light of the aforementioned role of strategic goals, it is worth noting that in the case of incorrect definition, all minor objectives will also be wrong, which may negatively affect all plans of the company.
- Aaltonen, P. (2007). Adoption of strategic goals: exploring the success of strategy implementation through organizational activities.
- Sagie, A., & Koslowsky, M. (1994). Organizational attitudes and behaviors as a function of participation in strategic and tactical change decisions: an application of path–goal theory. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 15(1), 37-47.