How to Set Organization-Wide Goals

September 12, 2023
manager setting organizational goals

Setting both long and short term objectives for individuals, departments, and the business as a whole  keep a company on-track and moving forward. And the knowledge of how to set goals is a critical implement that every enterprise leader should have in their tool kit. 

In this article we’ll broadly cover organizational goals, what they are, how they work, and what you can do to create successful objectives for your company. 

What Are Organizational Goals?

Organizational goals are strategic in nature and typically are designed to support business growth and advancement. 

They usually are defined within the parameters of an organization’s general purpose, brand or ideology. With this in mind, organizational goals may exist as exclusively internal objectives, or as projected external accomplishments which may involve and affect the wider community in which a business operates. 

Example: A brand ideology is centered around making quality programming software highly accessible. An objective with effects in the community would be to deliver an excellent, affordable and user-friendly product. An internal objective would be expanding or upskilling your design team to make the previous goal happen. 

As we mentioned in the introduction, organizational goals range from the business-level, to the departmental, to the individual. In all cases, the goals set should be leveraged to the advantage of the organization by aligning minor goals to wider business objectives. This includes personal goals made by employees at all levels within a company. 

Organizational goals should also include a comprehensive step-by-step plan as to how those goals are going to be achieved. 

Steps for Organizational Goal-Setting

Having projected targets for your organization is always the first order of goal setting. Next, you need to get everyone on board and figure out how to make it happen. Here’s what to do next. 

  • Collaborate with your employees. Involve direct reports in the decision making process, get their feedback, and engage them in the process of accelerating your business. Having cross-level cooperation in goal setting ensures that everyone feels a sense of responsibility and ownership for the work ahead.
  • Take stock of your resources. Be audacious with your goal setting, but make sure you are remaining realistic. Ask yourself if the resources you have available to you are sufficient for helping you reach objectives? What resources or training needs to happen for you to be properly equipped?
  • Define KPIs. It is important to understand each step you will need to take towards reaching your goals, and this is what KPIs are for. Define organizational KPIs, as well as departmental and  individual.
  • Set deadlines. It can be easy for plans to fall off the rails if there is no timescale in which they are being measured. Having deadlines for every aspect of a project helps to keep everyone focused and on-task.

Strategies for organizational goal setting

There are a number of goal setting strategies which your organization can employ depending on its needs. 

 

The SMART goal method is a versatile strategy designed to help you understand as clearly as possible the pathway between where you are now and your ultimate objective. The SMART acronym stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-based, and provides you with questions you will need to answer when plotting the course to your objective. This can be used to define individual employee goals, departmental goals, or greater enterprise objectives.

 

The MBO strategy is typically used to improve employee productivity and performance. Using this method, managers and direct-reports decide on a set of goals which the employee will then work towards. The goals set can either be in service of a broader company or departmental goal, or may be entirely personal. 

 

The OKR method (Objectives and Key Results) is designed to engage smaller departments, teams and individuals with the wider goals of the company overall. An organization is encouraged to set ambitious goals (Objectives) then outline what individual and departmental achievements (Key Results) need to be reached in order to support said ambitious goals. This method is made with the intention of engaging the entire company in the acceleration of the larger business. 

In all methods, you may engage KPIs or Key Performance Indicators to measure your progress. KPIs define targets you will set that act as the stepping stones towards larger objectives. 

Examples of organizational goals

Here are some examples of how you might engage the above strategies to organize your goals.

SMART goals

Objective: improve response time to customer complaints and feedback.

 

Specific – Decrease average response time by expanding the customer service department and hiring 5 – 10 additional CS representatives.
Measurable – Improve average customer review after CS engagement, decrease average time spent in queue, improve user-friendliness of self-service tools.

Attainable – An increased staffing budget and newly adopted CS solution allows our organization to support a greater CS workforce.

Relevant – As our organization expands, it is necessary for us to accommodate a greater number of customer complaints within a reasonable timeframe.

Time-bound – Hires will be completed by the end of the fiscal year. 

MBO goals. 

Objective: Achieve Fortune 500 status.

 

KPI: Expand business operations into 5 new locations.

KPI: Average yearly revenue increase of 10%.

KPI: Expand global sales by 20%.

OKR goals. 

Objective: Reduce employee turnover.

 

Key result: Increase awareness of employee education and benefits programs.

Key result: Improve DEI through improved inclusivity training and hiring measures. 

Key result: Engage workforce and gather employee feedback to create and maintain a supportive work environment. 

Organizational goal setting: final thoughts

Setting goals for your organization can give you a competitive edge by making sure your business is always moving forward. And strategizing every aspect of your organization to help you reach these goals can offer you a strong foundation that makes reaching your objectives even easier.

Ronny Cheng

By Ronny Cheng

Ronny Cheng is a digital marketing consultant helps businesses of all sizes build high-performing digital marketing strategies that drive revenue.

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