Every business I have ever worked with has had lots of goals and lots of objectives. I’m sure yours is the same. But which of your goals is the first among equals. Until you’re clear on this it’s really hard to make headway; once you’re clear everything else becomes easier.

Many organisations use balanced scorecards. These scorecards are great for reviewing progress but I find them to be poor at developing strategy. Strategy development requires a single goal, a goal that rises above all the other objectives that you have.

In my book, The CEO’s Strategy Handbook, Ian Filby, the CEO of DFS said “One of the big strategy lessons I have learnt is that a strategy has to meet a clear goal. Without agreement about the goal you can’t settle on your strategy.”

Ian’s absolutely right.  He and his team have settled on a profit goal for their business, but your goal doesn’t need to be financial. Stephen Ford, who runs Avon business, the cosmetics business in Australia and New Zealand, said this in the book: “I cannot let the strategy be seen as an abstract idea that has no relevance to everyone’s day-to-day activities, otherwise it will die.  Consequently my first strategic decision was to set a clear stretching performance goal for the business, having looked at various options with my executive team we settled on a goal of receiving 1 million customer orders.  We chose this goal because, all things being equal, growing orders will drive our profitability, but we also used this goal because it’s memorable – everyone can remember the 1 million order target.”

Ian and Stephen have clarity on their #1 goal – what’s yours?

© Stuart Cross 2012. All rights reserved.