It’s one thing to announce that you’d like to achieve a million dollars in sales for your company. It’s another thing to achieve it. This right here gets to the heart of goals and objectives. Many company managers do not understand the difference between goals and objectives and therefore, never meet their goals.

Understanding the difference between these two elements is critical to the process. If you want to be more effective with goal-setting for your company, there are some principles you should keep in mind.

What are Goals? What about Objectives?

The difference between goals and objectives is slight. They both play a role in goal-setting. According to Chron:

  • Goals are wishes or projections for your future.
  • Objectives are the milestones you must reach in order to reach your goals. You can also quantify your objectives by using statistics, numbers or markers.

For example, your company’s goal might be to gain the regional market share for your niche. The objectives that you have in order to reach that goal might be to increase the sales in your company’s Washington-Idaho-Oregon regional offices by four percent util the end of the year. You could break the objectives down even further by giving each branch office some similar ones.

Who Needs to Set the Difference Between Goals and Objectives the Most?

All members of a team within a company need goals and objectives. However, that statement alone is pretty generic. It may be better to say that those who have trouble seeing the role that they play in the company’s overall plan could use some assistance in defining their objectives. Here’s how a company might explain to them the difference between goals and objectives and how each person fits into the overall goal-setting process.

Goal: Our company will get the regional market share of the business for our industry by the end of the year.

Objectives: 

  • Branch offices: We must increase our sales by four percent.
  • Sales teams within each office: We must increase the number of sales calls we make per week by 25%.
  • Individual salesperson: I will make 10 sales calls a day instead of six.

As an article on the Tulane University website suggests, goals are broad. Objectives are narrow. It might even be more accurate to say that objectives narrow as you go further down the chain. Using tools like charts and bar graphs may make it easier for team members to see how their work fits into the company’s goals.

How Can Companies Implement Goal-Setting?

According to Forbes, it’s important for company managers to set goals and then to move quickly to achieve them or rather the objectives necessary to achieve them. Then, once these company managers have taken a small step toward their goals. Now they should look for feedback. Did the step they took put them closer to their goals? Do they need to adjust the steps they’re taking? It’s also important to keep the difference between goals and objectives in mind. Otherwise, company members could become too vague when it comes to setting their day-to-day objectives.

Additionally, the feedback stage could come at different times for each part of the team. Maybe a salesperson needs to remind herself daily what his/her objectives are. On the flip side, maybe the team manager needs to keep track of the team’s goals and objectives by the week.

5 Ways You Can Achieve Your Company’s Goals

  1. Once company managers set goals, they should meet with middle managers to talk about implementing them. Middle managers, branch managers, and others in similar roles should then pass the information about company goals onto the teams in their offices.
  2. Develop a system for honest feedback. It’s not enough to learn the difference between goals and objectives. Nor is it enough to implement objectives without checking to see if they’re working. Implement a system of fail-forward-fast, meaning that if an objective isn’t working, examine it and do it as quickly as possible. Once you determine that it is working, keep doing it. If it’s not, then modify objectives, keeping in mind what you hope to achieve in the long run.
  3. Talk about milestones. What do those look like? If you achieve them, what do they tell you about your company’s goals and objectives.
  4. Set up a system of rewards for objectives that are achieved. Keep company employees in the loop. Make the rewards that you give your employees something worth working for. These rewards don’t have to cost a lot. It could be that you take your sales team out for breakfast if they hit an office milestone.
  5. Be willing to scrap objectives if they don’t work. It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day work necessary to achieve goals. It’s also easy to get blinded by achievement. To be effective you and your team must be willing to try something new if what you’re doing isn’t working.

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Planning Up

Learning the difference between goals and objectives is important. Goals always look at the big picture. Objectives focus on the details. Both elements are important when it comes to meeting your goals. Goals without objectives turn into fantasy. They’re difficult to implement because you don’t know what it takes to get from one step to the next. Additionally, let all team members know how they fit into the overall plan of the company’s goals. This gives them ownership. Finally, be sure to reward team members when they do meet their objectives and milestones along the way. This will keep them motivated.

How have you explained to your team what the difference between goals and objectives is? Was it helpful? Leave your comments below.

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