Large organizations have at least two to three levels of goals managers use to coordinate operations. In a cascade fashion, goals flow from the center of the organization to its ends. Strategic goals focus the activities of the entire organization. Divisional or departmental goals direct the activities of middle-level managers. Finally, managers help workers set individual goals that support their division or department and the organization's strategic goals.
Making Operational Objectives
In operations, managers direct business practices and routines employees perform every day. These may involve the use of machines and digital technologies, as well as physical tasks. To direct operations, managers set business goals that focus on how to improve or change existing business routines and how to implement new business practices that raise efficiency and produce results of higher quality.
Aligning Goals to Strategy
Managers don't usually set goals for their divisions or departments or smaller groups of employees in isolation. They align goals to a strategic plan. This lays out timed goals for the whole organization for three to 10 years. The highest level of leadership in the organization uses the strategic plan to keep an organization competitive in a changing business environment.
Pursuing Goal Integration
The concept of integration helps managers in different departments consider how their own unit's goals help to support the larger organizational mission. Instead of just thinking of their business units in isolation, they must ask how their activities integrate with other business units' activities. This holistic thinking helps managers make better operational goals and avoid duplication of activities, which will only waste resources.
Considering Smaller Businesses
In smaller businesses, a business owner often plays a large role in setting operational goals. If you work for this kind of organization, help write goals to support the company's mission or purpose. You could focus on customer service quality, social goals producing benefits for a larger community, profit-oriented goals and goals for expansion, such as augmenting the company's workforce.
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