Goal setting. For any business, this is a particularly important topic. Goals are ways to define where we want to be in the future. They give us an aiming point on the horizon and keep us focused on the task at hand. However, when it comes to down to it, goal setting can be a fairly overwhelming task to complete. How do you set attainable and achievable goals that stretch you and your company to get there? You may have heard of SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time Bound), but most of the time these goals are quantitative in nature. I believe, by setting qualitative goals, we can more easily achieve the proper outcomes for our businesses.
As stated earlier, most businesses tend to focus on quantitative goals. For example, “Grow revenues by 20% over three years or open six new locations over the next twelve months.” While those goals are fine (they meet the SMART goal standards), focusing on qualitative goals creates better focus on outcomes that drive your business forward. A qualitative goal might be, “Implement employee ownership in the company over the next five years or, have all employees become flextime in three years.” These still fit the SMART goal framework, but have a significantly different focus. The examples given focus on employee work/life improvements, which can only be done if a business is profitable and growing. By laying out these qualitative goals, we are setting our sights on building a business that allows for these outcomes. It doesn’t necessarily matter if we grow revenues by 20 or 25% when we focus on qualitative measures are. When we meet qualitative goals, we will meet the quantitative targets that fuel the business forward.
Qualitative goals also have the ability to get company employees behind company goals. Increasing revenue by 20% sounds great to investors, but does not allow the entire company to participate in that goal. If you aren’t in sales, you have no ability to help achieve that goal, nor would the average employee care about growing revenues 20%. Having qualitative goals encourages everyone to participate to achieve the goal while still achieving the quantitative targets.
Moving forward, what are some qualitative goals that your company can implement that allow everyone in the company to participate and in turn allows the business to meet its quantitative growth objectives?