By Roger Robinson, Ph.D., SCORE Certified Mentor
As Joseph Bronkowski noted in The Ascent of Man, one of the major differences between mankind and other forms of life is our ability to think in terms of the future consequences of present acts. Thinking in terms of future consequences is another way of saying goal setting, an end toward which effort is directed (Webster’s). This is a dominant attribute of human behavior, whether we are acting in groups or individually. In the business world we call this process business planning. It can be as simple as setting a destination when entering a car or as complicated developing a strategic plan. The critical elements of planning, and specifically to strategic business planning, include the creation of goals, of what the organization really wants to accomplish and how it will be accomplished. The prime task of strategic business planning is thinking through the overall mission of the organization:
“…that is, of asking the question, what is our business? This leads to the setting of objectives, the development of strategies, and the making of today’s decisions for tomorrow’s results.” (Peter Drucker)
Thus strategic business planning is the determination of where an organization is going over the next 3 to 5 years and how it’s going to get there.
Goals and the process of goal are invaluable, they motivate. Goal setting theory of motivation supports the assumption that behavior that leads to performance is a function of conscious goals and intentions. For this to occur there must be:
- Involvement in the goal setting process
- Acceptance of the goal as realistic, attainable, meaningful
- Commitment to the attainment of the goal
- Appropriate intrinsic and extrinsic
Once this has occurred a goal becomes an acquired motive – it has drive strength, the ability to move the individual and/or the organization to its accomplishment.