Andrew_Stein, MBA, Chief_Marketing_Officer, Global_CMO, VP, Marketing_Strategy, Operations, Outside_Director, Board_Member, Technology, Services, Energy, Oil_&_Gas, Geologist, Mining, SteinVox‘Tis the season to set and align goals – make sure they contribute to achieving your company’s vision and mission. Don’t just ask people to set goals, give them real leadership guidance to ensure you are getting every ounce of traction behind the company’s vision and mission, and the CEO’s agenda.

Corporate goals for 2013 were probably set back in October at the beginning of the budget cycle. Following that, all around the company, individual and team goals are being generated for 2013 at this time of year.

Often, in the inevitable iteration of the budget process, the final corporate goals are not fully evangelized to all leaders, manager and employees.

Why is this important?

Increasing the focus of the organization on its primary mission is the single most effective thing to cut cost, reduce waste, and ensure stakeholder expectations are met.

Individual goals support team goals, which in term support divisional goals, and so on. Ultimately every organizational structure’s goals need to roll-up in support of the corporate goals of an enterprise.

What to cut cost this year? Evaluate what goals don’t need to be done – which ones are superfluous, at every level. Which ones do not align with the corporate mission and vision? Which ones don’t directly support corporate goals set out by the CEO?

Performance Dependency

We know that company values and its core strategy are fundamentally dependent on its vision and mission. More importantly, setting effective annual goals of individuals and teams is dependent on its vision and mission. These are also the very goals against which individuals and teams will have their performance evaluated (and compensation adjusted, based on performance contribution). Likewise, the company’s performance is measured on the aggregate of team and individual performance in achieving their respective goals.

For individuals and teams, goals are the realistic measurable objectives they should achieve that create and capture value for their employer. Many times, these are the things that should be included in performance reviews, and which have regular conversations and check points with their manager about. If you are reading this and thinking about your own goals, don’t wait to be told. It’s your responsibility to ensure that everyone knows how they (YOU) support the CEO’s agenda.

Public Goals

Public companies will be formalizing the high-level goals into the CEO’s letter to shareholders in the annual report in a few weeks. A worthwhile objective for individuals is to develop goals to achieve in the coming year and align them with what the CEO is setting out in the coming earnings call.

For public and private companies, executive teams need to evangelize the corporation’s goals pervasively throughout the organization. Doing so ensures individuals and teams can set their goals aligned with the corporate goals for the year, which in turn align with the current vision and mission.

Align Goals with Vision and Mission

Often missed is the step to articulate, evangelize and ensure that everyone is thinking how their individual or team goals support the directives found in the CEO’s agenda and the corporation’s goals at the highest level – its vision and mission.

It’s easy to set goals that are merely doable, and even set believable S.M.A.R.T. goals. But, how often do you, or does your manager, review these to ensure goals are aligned with your company’s vision and mission?

Your CEO and you CMO have already (re)published your company’s corporate goals in the context of it’s current vision and mission. They had to back in October, to be effective at the budget process. Your team or personal goals should align under those broader goals. If you don’t know what they are, ask. I’m sure your CMO or VP of Marketing would be happy to share them again with you.

Turbulent Times

In today’s fast paced environment of change and under tough economic times, it is a given that corporate vision and mission have adjusted, and new goals have been set, year over year.

Imagine, for example, if you are in Sales, and you intend to set your 2013 goals by selling more of the same product you sold to achieve your goals in the prior year? But, you missed the strategic change in the company that would end the life of that product? If your goal is to sustain it, and the rest of the company is working toward the success of its replacement, you will not be aligned.

Check Alignment Often

Granted, this is an extreme case, but goals set only for the sake of setting goals as an annual ritual can lead to trouble. Always review the vision and mission of your company, or the goals the CEO has laid out as the corporate agenda. Once you understand this input to your own goal setting, then you can set meaningful goals for yourself that help fulfill the greater vision and mission of the company.

However, it doesn’t stop in January. During the course of the year, be sure to ask your manager if the vision, mission, or goals of the corporation have changed – and be willing and proactive in revising your own to keep up. Working with your manager on this is a winning strategy for success.

Leave a comment and share your story about aligning goals with corporate agendas.

Inage credit: Todd Huffman via photopin cc

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