Tuesday, February 14, 2012

strategy v. goals

Achieving your goals

Strategy: a plan of action designed to achieve a long-term or overall aim.
Goal: the object of a person’s ambition or effort; an aim or desired result.
(Oxford Dictionary)

It is not uncommon advice - and many people follow it when the New Year dawns - to set yourself some goals. The resolutions for the New Year are meant to invigorate your resolve and give you a definite destination towards which you can direct your self-discipline and efforts. Sad to say, when the goals aren’t reached, the whole enterprise just seems de-motivating. 

But there’s another reason why goal-setting can subtly sabotage success: goals can be self-limiting. Say you decide to set a goal to improve your income by $10,000 in the next year. You may well improve your income by $10,000 in the next year; but with less limits on your horizon it could have been $20,000. The $10,000 became a self-limiting prophecy. 

Alan Weiss has said: “The worst thing about having a plan is that you hit it.”

A goal could be defined as your ultimate objective, while strategy is about how you are going to get to that objective. Try making some “strategic objectives” that will lead you in the right direction, towards an open-ended and non-limiting goal. Here’s an example:

"Our strategy is to increase our client base in X-country by translating our materials, attending conferences in X-country, forming strategic alliances there, training our people in  local cultural understanding; with a goal of increasing our profits from business in X-country by a larger percentage every year."

Sounds good to me. 

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