How to redefine your business goals in uncertain times.

How to Redefine your Business goals in Uncertain Times

Woman participating in virtual facilitation session

How to Redefine your Business Goals in Uncertain Times

Several months into the year, and New Year resolutions and business goals can sometimes be quickly forgotten. As I write this, we are navigating through a complex tapestry of global challenges and opportunities that necessitate adaptability and resilience.

The world is grappling with significant economic challenges, rising costs, the impacts of climate change, political uncertainty, and the ever-evolving landscape of artificial intelligence (AI). AI, in particular, is a double-edged sword, presenting both exciting prospects and novel challenges.

AI is revolutionizing industries, offering efficiencies, productivity gains, and new products and services, creating massive opportunities for those businesses ready to embrace it. However, it also raises fresh challenges around data security, ethical use, and workforce adaptation, increasing pressure on businesses to navigate this new landscape responsibly and effectively.

The transition towards a more digital and interconnected world, as evidenced by the rise of remote working, video conferencing, and social media, makes this even more critical. Although challenging, this transition presents an opportunity to redefine what’s important to us, where we want to be, and to adjust our goals accordingly.

This period of change also offers an opportunity to make substantial progress on these goals by dedicating some short, highly focused time on them each day.

Strategic Planning

Navigating the complex business environment and achieving long-term success is the ultimate goal of every business leader. However, this requires strategic planning, a clear vision, and the agility to adapt to new regulatory requirements, external circumstances, and the introduction of new technology.

A crucial starting point for business success is establishing long-term and short-term goals. The goal-setting process allows a business leader to take a hard look at the current strategy and identify new goals in line with the mission statement and overall company’s objective.

Utilising a SWOT analysis can help identify both the opportunities presented by new businesses entering the market and any external threat that could affect the company’s market position. Equally, market research and industry research can provide a clear picture of consumers’ needs and help refine your marketing strategy, target audience, and market share.

Meet Changing Consumer Needs

The introduction of new products and initiatives to meet these consumer needs is an effective way to increase your customer base. Equally, focusing on customer service and customer experience can help improve the customer’s relationship with your business, leading to increased customer retention and new customer acquisition.

Set SMART Goals

Using SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound) is a good business strategy for keeping on track. Key performance indicators (KPIs) can be used to measure the success of these goals and ensure that the business is moving in the right direction.

As the business grows, the leadership team, including department heads and human resources, must work together to ensure everyone is working towards the same business objectives. Regular focus groups and meetings can provide an opportunity for discussion and the development of new strategies and action plans.

Strategic goals may involve expanding the product line, improving the privacy policy, increasing the profit margin, or making fundamental changes to the business model. A successful business strategy will also consider how to best work with key stakeholders, the management of information, and meeting the specific goals of different departments.

Prepare and Involve Your People

While this strategic planning is integral to business success, it’s also important to remember the “big picture”. Successful companies are those that not only adapt to new strategies and significant change but also ensure that their employees are part of this process. Providing training and development opportunities and fostering a culture of best practices and good practice is essential for long-term success.

Adopt a Growth Mindset

Finally, remember that every successful business started as a small business with a good business plan and a lot of determination. Don’t be disheartened by challenges along the way; instead, see them as different ways to learn and improve. Keep focused on your personal goals and financial goals, and with the right people in place, your business has every chance of being a successful business.

Business Goal-Setting – Additional Resources

Here are some additional, free resources that will help you to redefine your business goals in uncertain times:

How to Redefine your Business Goals

I wanted to offer you some inspiration and an activity that will help you redefine and progress your business goals.

This blog is a snapshot of my Idea Time programme, available here on Kindle. Idea Time has directly supported a range of business people from all kinds of industries, businesses, and backgrounds throughout the year to accomplish their goals. These have included:

  • Saving tens of thousands of pounds through improved procurement and supply chain.
  • Successfully establishing several new business ventures.
  • Navigating the opportunities and challenges of AI integration in business.
  • Attaining fast-paced growth through an even higher performing team.
  • Identifying and achieving an accelerated career development plan.
  • Delivery of challenging projects on time, on budget, and to standard, satisfying the diverse needs and agendas of a varied stakeholder group.

It’s time to start thinking about and redefining your business goals, particularly in the context of these changing global circumstances, including the rise of AI. Consider what you would genuinely like to focus on over the next 12 weeks.

Give this a try – I’d love to hear how you get on!

Idea Time

This is a hands-on exercise to get you started and should take between 10-15 minutes. You will begin by getting as many of the thoughts, ideas and challenges that you have coming up onto paper so that you can see them visually and prioritise where you’d like to begin.

Work intuitively, relax and have fun with the process. You might want to use a specific notebook or folder on your computer to keep your work so that you have it all in one place.

Imagine 3 months ahead of today. What do you want to have achieved and benefited from during this time?

It’s time to think about your business goals.

Messy Challenges

Some challenges have straightforward solutions: To achieve X we simply need to do Y.

But most leadership and management opportunities and issues are not so clear-cut. We could be presented with a range of options, none of which are ideal, or something around us is changing in a way that we haven’t experienced before. In the fast-moving world of work, we often have to make decisions and take action with foggy or incomplete information in situations where doing nothing is definitely not an option! In innovation terms, these are known as “messy” or “wicked” problems or opportunities.

Navigating through and delivering against these successfully is of course what we, as managers and leaders, are there to do, so the more effective we can become at it, and the greater our competence and understanding of what we intuitively process as professionals every single day at work, can add real value to personal leadership, and therefore team, performance.

So, over these coming 3 months focus on something “messy”.  Your own work may be similar to the examples below, or completely different, it doesn’t  matter either  way. As long as the answer isn’t obvious or clear-cut, it’s a messy challenge.

A Challenging Business Goal

Think about creating a stretching, challenging and yet achievable business goal that you can achieve with focus and different thinking, and is something that you can get done with current restrictions and challenges. Your business goal will be a statement – or question  – that concisely communicates what you want to  achieve by tackling your messy business goal.

Examples of ‘Wicked’ or ‘Messy’ Business Goals

Here are some examples of “wicked” or “messy” business goals:

  • My team’s performance looks like it should be great on paper, but for some reason we aren’t delivering in the way that I had hoped with remote working in place.
  • The market is changing fast and our sales have dropped off. We need to start a new growth curve.
  • I want to change the direction of my career but am not sure what I want to do and how to make the change.
  • How do I develop the capability within my team to pursue the new opportunities that are coming up, especially when we are all working from home?

You probably have a range of potential business goals that you’d like to tackle. Focus will be important, though, because if you have too many business goals on the go at once, your efforts and effectiveness could become diluted. So it’s better if you can select one business goal that you would really like to get done over the coming weeks.

By definition, messy business goals are multi-faceted. This means that you might want to work on different aspects of your BHAG as you work through the programme and make headway with your solution.

  4 Key Features of a Great Business Goal

Collins and Porras identified 4 key features of a great business goal.  These are:

  1. Aligned. To be transformational and successful, your business goal will work best if it is consistent with your overarching desires, aims and objectives.
  2. Audacious. Your business goal needs fresh approaches and different thinking.
  3. Articulate. It needs to be clear and describe a straight forward target outcome.
  4. Arduous. A good business goal is motivational and inspiring because it provides an appropriate level of stretch that requires you to go somewhat beyond your usual way of thinking.

Idea Time – Redefine Your Business Goals

Your first step now is to begin to redefine your business goal for the next 3 months and map out what is looks like.

Allow at least 10 minutes for this activity. You may wish to spend longer on it, or perhaps revisit it after a few days – all of which is great. A lot can be achieved in 10 minutes, so give it a go and see how you get on.

The reason I’m suggesting that you use this technique is to open up your thinking, and to begin to frame challenges as a positive and motivational possibility.

Step 1:

Spend just a few minutes completing the following statement as many times as you can with real items relating to your work context:

 Wouldn’t it be fantastic if…

 Jot your thoughts down. See if you can think of at least 5 things.

Do add more if you’d like to go beyond 5 items

Step 2:

Select the statement from Step 1 that would make the most material difference to your individual, team or business performance and that has the potential to become a motivational business goal for the coming weeks. You might have a couple or more of connected statements that you want to combine into a single business goal. If so, that’s completely fine.

Write down your selected statement.

Step 3:

Now add these things into your statement:

  1. Your personal strengths and the tools that you have that will help you to achieve your business goal.
  2. Any hurdles that you think might pop up.
  3. Any questions that are in your mind about attaining your business goal.
  4. Finally, note down the people, opportunities and things that will support you on the journey.

Take Action On Your Business Goals!

If you’d like to get in touch by email, I’d love to hear about your business goal, and will be really pleased to offer any tips or additional insights that might help.