LeRon Haire is an education professional with over 5 years experience in higher education within the University System of Georgia. Haire has received an MBA with a marketing undergraduate concentration and has the Georgia Assessments for the Certification of Educators, certified in Business Management.
Gathering Organizational Info
For every successful company, there are three or four that have been just as unsuccessful. The reasons can be many but one of the most important is an organization not being able to properly identify and evaluate their strategic goals. For example, can you imagine if the strategic goal of an organization was simply this: Make enough money to remain in business.
Let's take a look at some methods including interviews, document reviews, and SWOT analysis, which can help organizations to identify strategic goals followed by methods to evaluate these goals as well.
When attempting to gain valuable information to identify or evaluate organizational strategy, interviews are a great technique to use. Here are some of the ways that an interview helps to identify and evaluate strategic goals:
Ask organizations probing questions to get key information about their strategic goals
When conducting an interview, organizations can ask specific questions tailored to what they would like to know. This allows an organization to receive direct answers as well as modify questions if needed. For example, if you were the owner of a fast-food chain that specializes in affordable, health-conscious food choices and you are trying to identify and evaluate your strategic goals for the business, it would benefit you to interview a manager in that industry.
The term document review can be defined as an approach that receives and analyzes important papers and documents that are relevant to a particular case. When identifying and evaluating organizational goals, document review is critical because it would be difficult to understand some of the details without it. Have you ever known a business that established a strategic goal without using ANY documents? Without documents such as reports or reviews that hold vital statistics and opinions from important people, there would be no way to identify or evaluate an organization's strategic goals.
One of the best and well-known strategies for identifying organizational strategic goals is the SWOT analysis, Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. Here is a quick breakdown of each area of SWOT and how analyzing each of these areas in an organization can help the organization identify its strategic goals:
Just as it sounds, this portion of the SWOT analysis identifies the strengths of an organization. It's helpful to write down characteristics of the organization as they are trying to determine their strengths. Also, there should be questions posed such as:
- What does this organization do better than others?
- What do people in this field see as an organizational strength?
- Are the mission and the vision clear?
- How strong is the organization's reputation?
When an organization identifies its weaknesses, it has found another way to ensure that their goals are set to avoid these pitfalls. For example, if an organization has a weakness of only appealing to one type of customer (such as a sports enthusiast), then their organizational strategy can be tailored to now focus on including other demographics and groups of people as well. Here are some of the questions that can be asked to help identify organizational weaknesses:
- What factors are causing the organization to lose sales?
- How can the organization be more efficient?
- Are resources available?
The opportunities of a SWOT analysis refer to the chances that an organization has to gain traction in the market. Opportunities help an organization identify their strategic goals by discovering trends in the industry as well as identifying any changes in technology or government policy. These are some of the questions which should be asked when determining opportunities:
- How can the organization increase engagement?
- Is the organization addressing stakeholder issues?
- Are there any global opportunities?
The threats portion of SWOT helps to determine what debts, liabilities, and other obstacles stand in the way of the organization's success. Threats are those things which can be a problem for an organization when attempting to identify an organizational strategy. Identifying these threats to your organization is a good thing because it will help upper management to understand what needs to be done to avoid these threats and help them create effective strategic goals. These questions should be posed when determining threats:
- How is technology threatening the organization, if at all?
- Who are the organization's competitors?
- How is the environment changing?
Evaluation of Organizational Strategic Goals
Just as important as identifying an organization's strategic goals is to have the ability to evaluate the strategic goals as well. To do so, an organization would need to rely on a method that uses results as a way to determine whether or not the goals have been effective. For example, how do you know which team in a professional sport is the best? The teams play a game where the final score dictates who the winner is. This result is an evaluation and the same can be said for evaluating an organization's strategic goals.
When evaluating strategic goals, an organization should be sure to ask themselves these questions:
- Are the goals clear and concise?
- Are the goals realistically set?
- Do you have enough resources to reach the goals?
- Are the goals aligned with the mission statement of the organization?
Once the organization is able to answer these questions, they are ready to proceed with the continued evaluation.
By identifying and evaluating organizational strategic goals, an organization is able to function at a high level with a greater chance of success. Three of the ways that this can be achieved is through interviews, document reviews, and SWOT analysis.
An interview is a direct method used to get information to be used for many purposes by an organization, including for identifying and evaluating strategic goals. A document review is the process of reviewing and analyzing important papers and other notations and documents that are related to the particular case or organization at hand.
The SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) is another technique used by organizations to gather information that can be used to identify and evaluate organizational strategic goals.
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