Performance Lever 1: Strategy and Goals

All organizations exist for a specific reason providing “something” of value to someone willing to pay for it.  All organizations achieve this “something” of value by expending energy and resources.

This customer value and the resources used to achieve it are defined in the organizational strategy and goals.

The organizational strategy and goals tell the entire organization, but more importantly the manager, what is most important and where to focus. Without strategy and goals managers would lack a compass for everyday work. The strategy and goals provides a target that communicates critical messages to the manager: What is most important?  Where to focus?

When this map and target are undefined or ambiguous they cannot guide everyday actions. The result is work, but work in the wrong direction – fruitless efforts that do not meet objectives. In other words, performance is deterred not driven.

If the organizational strategy and goals are to guide, unite, and focus managers and employees on business performance, then a number of behavioral characteristics must be present. Some of these are as follows:

  • The organization has one to three goals that measure their success.
  • The goals are clear and easy to understand.
  • The organization has a clear plan by which to reach the goals.
  • Leader’s often reference and talk about the goals and strategy.
  • Managers and employees are frequently informed about progress or lack of progress toward the strategy and goals.

Clear strategy and goals create everyday work that is aligned with what is most important: the external customer. Clear strategy and goals resolve and expedite the contradicting priorities and difficult decisions managers face everyday. Clear strategy and goals give managers and employees a uniting “battle cry.”

What are the key points to take away?

  1. Focus on what is most important.
  2. See number 1.

Although clear strategy and goals are necessary to drive performance they are not sufficient.  Next Thursday, I will present Performance Lever 2: Workflow or Processes.

Timothy E. LaMacchio, Business Performance Engineer, Red Book Solutions


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