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Understand the difference between tasks, objectives, goals and how to achieve them

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Every business knows it must reach its quarterly or yearly goals and objectives. However, is it always clear for everyone what are goals and how to set and achieve them? Before getting started, it’s important for us to understand what tasks, objectives and targets mean in order to understand their differences.

What are Goals? And The Difference Between Goals, Tasks and Objectives 

Goals in general are used to provide a direction for management. Let’s look at an example: You want to increase your sales. This is your main objective. But how will you achieve it?

Goals are used in this situation because they quantify the objective. Going back to our example, your goal for this hypothetical situation could be to increase sales by X% by December 2020. But it doesn’t finish there.

You need to figure out how you will achieve your goal to reach the ultimate objective. This is where tasks come into the picture. Tasks are the actions you need to do in order to reach your goal, That is:

  • Objective: What you want to do
  • Goal: How much you intend to do and when to do it.
  • Tasks: What you need to do to get there.

But how do we set a goal in business?

In order to set proper goals in a business, focus, dedication and discipline is needed. We also must know the latest deadline and how our objectives will be measured.

It is important not to leave everything to the last minute. A thorough study is needed for setting the targets for the following year, so that the results are not jeopardized. Goals need to be tangible and clear, since it’s essential that everyone in the company understands the goals they are pursuing and the benefits they will bring.

When developing an action plan for achieving the company’s goals, it is vital that all issues that may come up are documented. By doing this we are able to properly deal with any deviations, therefore allowing the company to achieve its objectives.

Last but not least, everyone needs to be involved in this process. This can mean setting goals for individuals or for sectors in larger companies. Everyone has to know their role in relation to the company’s objective.

Meet SMART Goals

Be it by setting up a strategic plan or by using action plans to address the deviations in your business, success starts with setting good objectives and goals.

This is why having methodologies helps in management, because they are based on the knowledge and experience of those who worked to develop them. They’re also widely used in bringing results in other companies.

One of the most widely applied target setting methodologies is SMART, which sets 5 simple criteria that you must consider when designing your business goals and objectives.

S – Specific

Goals should be formulated specifically and precisely so that they do not cause doubt or have broad interpretations.

M – Measurable

Goals should be set so that they can be properly measured and analysed. It is imperative to have at least one indicator that shows the progress of the goal.

A – Achievable

It is important that your goals are attainable, it’s pointless having a utopian goal and spending the whole year in red due to it being impossible to achieve.

R – Realistic

As stated above, it’s essential that goals do not aim for results that strain the company’s resources.

T – Time-bound

Your goals should have a well-defined time frame and duration.

What would be a SMART goal?

Given the above tips and the SMART methodology, your goals should follow the example below:

Obtain a 20% increase in sales, reaching $ X million revenue by December 2017.

This goal is specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound. It’s clearly described and takes into account the company’s historical values and has metrics that can be measured. Another important point is to have adequate investments and strategic planning to make the goal happen and to have a date for its completion.

Concluding: what goals mean in business management

Now that you know what are and how to set goals and objectives for your business, be sure to consider your business values when creating your goals. Keep track of your targets on a regular basis and make necessary adjustments to your tasks so that your organization can continue to grow toward its desired results.

If you are starting to create your goals now, Corporate Performance Management (CPM) is an excellent management methodology to begin with. It’s simple and helps from planning to execution, ensuring improved results. Learn more about CPM in our Corporate Performance Management guide and get started now. Click here and download for free!

Siteware develops STRATWs One, a corporate performance management software that among many other features allows you to set goals and track in real time, generating more transparency, alignment and engagement in your business.

Revolutionize your business management with STRATWs One.

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