90% of Companies Don’t Hit Their Goals. Does Yours?

While most of the business headlines today are optimistic – unemployment is down, revenue is up – the truth is most companies are actually struggling.

In fact, according to a recent Economist Intelligence Unit survey of 500 senior executives, 9 out of 10 businesses don’t accomplish their business objectives – quarter after quarter, year after year.

Even worse, half of those companies can’t figure out how to rectify the problem, losing their hard-won customers to competitors that can.

It’s a real existential risk – especially in our hyper-competitive economic climate – and one you simply can’t afford to take any longer.

Because statistically, the company you work for probably isn’t reaching all of its goals either.

And according to those 500 senior executives – from big brands, too, averaging a billion in annual revenue or more – it’s usually because:

[bctt tweet=”The harder it is to move from strategy design to delivery, the worse your business will perform” username=”reflektive”]

Really, it comes down to poor implementation.

That’s what’s holding so many organizations back from making good on their business plan promises.

But on the bright side, poor implementation is relatively easy to fix.

It begins with managing and developing your people.

And while that might seem like a trite HR platitude, it’s actually true.

[bctt tweet=”You probably have all the right people working for you already; you’re just not optimizing them yet.” username=”reflektive”]

And today, we’ll teach you how to do just that.

Simplify and Prioritize Your Objectives

Unfortunately, you can’t do everything at once. Case in point: Cisco.

In 2010, Cisco Systems’ strategic plan included no fewer than 50 individual priorities.

Now, most of those priorities were important, but very few of them were critical. And nobody – not even Cisco – can execute all of them effectively in a single year.

You simply don’t have the resources or focus to do it.

Instead, isolate a few mission-critical, all-or-nothing priorities and break them down into smaller tasks, assigning each one to a dedicated person or team.

One approach is to use the Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) system (pioneered by Intel and widely used by big brands like Google and Oracle) to get all your employees on the same page – working on the same tasks, in the same order, toward the same larger business objectives.

Pick the Right Employees For the Job

While your employees might perform their usual roles just fine, your new business plan may call for them to perform different ones.

You need to understand how your employees are performing and identify where their talents lie.  Reflektive’s 9-Box tool can help.

The 9-Box tool is a 3×3 grid that rates your employees on their performance and their potential (for performance) in a variety of roles.

Review your business plan and look for the new skills, technical competencies, or abilities you’ll need to execute it. Then, review your employees on them.

Choose employees with a proven high-performance history in those roles first, then move to employees with medium performance but high potential. You can always coach them one-on-one to move them into the star player category.

Give Feedback From Design to Delivery

And now comes the most critical part – ongoing, real-time feedback.

You’ve simplified and prioritized your business objectives. You’ve selected your best employees to carry them out. You’re well on your way to becoming part of the 10 percent of companies that actually accomplish their goals.

But you’ll never actually get there unless you take the time to review the progress you’ve made – and make adjustments if necessary – along the way.

After all, nothing always goes according to plan – especially in business.

Just don’t rely on annual performance reviews alone. If you’re working on a one-year plan, they’ll come too late.

It’s much better to rely on quarterly – or even weekly – check-ins to confirm that your workforce is on target.

But don’t feel too limited to any particular schedule. You should be flexible and agile.

These days, everybody is responsible for meeting the business objectives of their organizations – including HR.

Gone are the days of just managing people and processes. HR, like marketing, is now charged with delivering real business results – including goal completion.

Learn more about the evolving role of HR in our webinar with Forrester Research — Driving Business Value With Employee Experience.