Step 4 - Establish Objectives

Step 4 in strategic planning is to establish objectives. Objectives are specific results an organization seeks to achieve in pursuing its basic mission. Objectives need to be established at the corporate, divisional, and departmental levels if an organization is structured in that manner. A corporate or divisional objective could be to achieve a 10% annual increase in revenues.

It is hard to imagine an organization or individual being successful without having clear objectives. Objectives can be compared to a compass by which a ship navigates. A compass bearing is firm, but in actual navigation, a ship may veer off its course for many miles. Without a compass, a ship would never find its port.

Objectives need to be challenging, understandable, obtainable, clear, reasonable, quantitative, specify a time element, prioritized, and consistent across departments. Consistent across departments means for example that if a marketing objective is to increase sales by 10%, then production must have a similar objective to increase output by 10%.

Objectives are important in strategic planning because they provide direction and purpose. They establish priorities, allow coordination, reduce uncertainty, aid in evaluation, stimulate exertion, minimize conflicts, are used to allocate resources, and to design jobs. For example as an aid in evaluation, a department or division should know up front what the objective or expectation is for the quarter or year.

On the next page, list ten objectives that you feel your organization, division, and/or department should try to obtain. Consider your mission statement, external audit, and internal audit in devising your objectives. Follow guidelines described above in establishing your objectives. Be as specific as possible in stating each objective.
 

Establish Objectives Worksheet
 
 

Objective 1 ____________________________________________________________________________  _____________________________________________________________________________________

Objective 2 ____________________________________________________________________________  _____________________________________________________________________________________

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Objective 4 ____________________________________________________________________________
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Objective 5 ____________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________

Objective 6 ____________________________________________________________________________
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Objective 7 ____________________________________________________________________________
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Objective 8 ____________________________________________________________________________
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Objective 9 ____________________________________________________________________________
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Objective 10 ___________________________________________________________________________
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