Planning a hiking trip can teach us something about setting a business goal. When hiking, for instance, the goal may be a clearly defined destination, but there can be many trails to choose from to get there. The business analogy would replace the summit with a project deadline as the goal...and there are plenty of tools available to represent the paths to get there. In either case, it is important to make sure our efforts are oriented in line with our goals. That is to say, it pays to define the reasons behind why one path or tool should be chosen over the others.
Does your team have a clearly defined process to help choose which paths to take? Is that process informed by current data? If not, it might be time for a goal-oriented strategy assessment.
Instincts and education will only take entrepreneurs or solo business owners so far. In order to grow effectively, there comes a time in any business when tools are needed to honestly assess not only their achievements, but also the paths taken to reach them.Advantages Beyond Competition
The core of a goal-oriented strategy is to define your goals upfront and orient the reasoning behind your efforts accordingly.
In terms of the hiking analogy, the thought process would be: Given a particular summit, which trail is best suited to get there while taking into consideration your own capabilities and what the weather will permit? There are external and internal influences that will ultimately determine the best route to reach any goal.
In business, the tendency is to think of a pre-defined “Competitive Advantage” as insulation against those external factors we can't control. But what about after the sales pitch? When a project deadline is set and the only competition is within a single company, what is that company's Internal Advantage to reaching that particular goal?The Process is the Advantage
When pursuing goals, instincts and education will only take business owners so far. In order to grow effectively, there comes a time for any team when tools are needed to honestly assess not only their achievements, but also the paths taken to reach them.
This doesn't have to be as daunting as it sounds. In fact, most businesses probably already use assessment tools without actually realizing their full potential. A timeclock, for example, can provide useful project management insights beyond just how many hours to bill a customer. And using an email client to sort messages by categories or flags can help identify avoidable timesinks that sneak into daily operations.
The point is that in 2020, the tools to help inform a goal-orientation strategy are everywhere...but without a process to fully utilize these tools--to build an internal advantage--a company is selling itself and its capabilities short.Tools to Inform Process Decisions
The smaller the company, the more valuable it is to institute a process for identifying any opportunities or lapses in productivity early on. When that process requires a tech assist, we offer a number of solutions that can help.
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For Established Businesses