How to Achieve Strategic Objectives: Proven Tactics for Success
Strategic objectives are specific outcomes aimed at achieving an organization’s vision. They serve as stepping stones between a company’s strategy and the measures used to track progress toward achieving its vision and mission.
They must be clear, measurable, relevant, and time-bound.
Companies leading their industry understand just how vital the process of planning, executing, and achieving their strategic objectives is to their company's growth and future outlook.
However, achieving organizational long-term goals is not straightforward; in most cases, it can be challenging and complex. It can be the difference between stagnation and growth, mediocrity and excellence.
But worry not. We have a simple approach that will make achieving your strategic objective seamless.
If you're a business leader, an aspiring entrepreneur, or even someone seeking to understand the inner workings of strategic planning, this post provides actionable steps for achieving strategic objectives that can be applied across various sectors and organizational sizes.
Key strategic objectives
Key strategic objectives are the specific outcomes an organization or individual sets to guide their strategic planning and decision-making process.
These objectives outline the focus areas an organization needs to work on in order to achieve its vision.
Your key strategic objectives can or will address various aspects of an organization's operations, such as financial performance, market positioning, customer satisfaction, internal processes, innovation, etc.
Some examples of key strategic objectives to have in your business include:
Improve customer satisfaction
Improve staff productivity
Increase brand awareness
Improve operational efficiency
As we mentioned in our introduction, these objectives must first be clear, measurable, and time-bound to be effective. Second, you need to get everyone on board on your plan.
This aspect of getting everyone on board is a crucial step that may easily be overlooked, but it can significantly impact your success. Getting everyone on board is important because it helps eliminate second-guessing in your execution strategy.
Second-guessing is a significant reason strategic goals are not achieved.
Studies by Harvard Business Review show that 71 percent of employees in organizations with weak execution believe strategic decisions are second-guessed. Hence, before taking any action on your goals, all decision-makers and key stakeholders must agree on the strategic plan.
This is essential to prevent any form of second-guessing and to establish accountability for the strategy execution.
Getting everyone on board from the beginning ensures that all decision-makers and their respective teams are on the same page regarding the outlined objectives, fostering a shared understanding of the larger strategic plan throughout the entire organization.
Once your key objectives are set and met, they are immediately replaced by other goals. Achieving each strategic objective indicates the strategic plan's success and demonstrates that you are getting closer to your vision.
Examples of SMART strategic objectives include:
Increase sales by 30% in the next five years.
Expand into new geographic markets by the end of June 2025.
Let's consider an example from the automobile manufacturing industry. A strategic objective for such a company might be to:
Reduce emissions by 5% over the next three years or attract 1 million followers to their social media pages over the next six months to enhance market reach.
These objectives are characterized by their measurability and clear deadlines, making them highly specific. In essence, successful strategic objectives provide a precise roadmap for where you should be in the coming years.
The number of strategic objectives you should select depends on your company's capabilities.
Opting for fewer objectives may result in missed opportunities and a lack of ambitious goals while choosing too many can lead to an inability to accomplish some of them.
A reasonable range is to have 3 to 6 objectives for each focus area.
Related reading: How to Prioritize Strategic Objectives in 7 Simple Steps.
Tactics to achieve strategic objectives
Strategic objectives are important because they provide clarity and direction for your company, help your employees understand what needs to be done to support the execution of the strategy, and provide you with a yardstick for tracking and assessing the company’s progress toward its overarching mission and vision.
However, a series of actions must be executed to transform your objectives into real-world achievements.
Below, we will discuss some tactics that have been proven to help companies achieve their strategic objectives.
Set SMART goals
The tactics phase is the execution stage in a company’s strategic planning process. Once your key objectives and goals have been clearly defined, it’s time to transform them into goals. As we mentioned, these goals must be S.M.A.R.T.
Here is what it means:
This SMART goal framework approach minimizes ambiguity and ensures everyone is aligned and focused on the same aim.
For example, consider the financial objective of achieving a ten percent reduction in your organization’s monthly operating expenses.
This goal embodies the SMART criteria. However, while making your goals SMART, it is important to outline how you and your team plan to achieve them to make them more effective and actionable.
This is where having a clear plan of action comes in, as we'll explore in the next section.
You may also like: Target Setting Purpose, Criteria, and Common Weaknesses.
Create a clear plan of action
A clear action plan will set you on the path toward achieving your objectives. No matter the industry you operate in, whatever your goals and objectives are, a well-thought-out plan facilitates strategic objective achievement.
This step is also where you split your long-term goals into short-term goals or tasks.
For example, if a company’s strategic objective is to “enhance customer loyalty and retention.” Their long-term goal could be to:
“Establish a customer loyalty program and achieve a 20% increase in customer retention over the next five years.”
By the end of this period, they might aim to have 50% of their customers enrolled in a loyalty program, contributing to sustained revenue growth and customer lifetime value.
Their short-term goal could be to:
“Launch a customer loyalty program within the next 12 months, signing up at least 10% of their customer base within the first year.”
Implement strategies to increase customer engagement and satisfaction by 15% in the next 12 months through personalized offers, exceptional customer service, and post-purchase follow-ups.”
In the above example, the long-term goal focuses on improving customer loyalty and retention over five years, while the short-term goal outlines the immediate actions to be taken within a year to kick-start the process by launching a loyalty program and increasing customer engagement.
The long-term goals broken down into short-term manageable tasks all work together, paving the way to the achievement of the key objectives.
Identify key metrics
With your objectives known and everyone on board, identifying metrics that will help you measure progress toward achieving your objectives is critical.
The metrics or Key Performance Indicators you choose should directly relate to your long-term goals.
For example, if your financial strategic objective is to improve revenue, you should use financial KPIs like cost reduction, revenue growth, etc.
However, choosing the right KPIs can be complicated, time-consuming, and costly.
The potential consequences of this process make the challenge even more daunting.
Selecting the wrong KPIs leads to a significant misdirection of your efforts and potentially jeopardizes your organization’s success.
Thankfully, a well-designed strategy management system like Kippy can help.
Kippy simplifies the process of choosing precise KPIs for your financial strategic objectives.
You input your objectives, and within seconds, Kippy generates a set of aligned KPIs. This saves you considerable time and stress and mitigates the risk of selecting inaccurate or irrelevant KPIs.
You may also like: The Art of KPI Selections.
Align jobs to strategy
Companies don’t achieve their objectives due to the misalignment of strategy to their employee’s job functions. This misalignment can occur when employees are brought on board before a clear strategic plan is developed or when roles are established to conform to a previous company strategy that may no longer be relevant.
To achieve your goals, differentiate yourself from mediocre companies by aligning job roles with organizational strategy.
Kippy can help you define your key strategy in minutes and align every member of your team and their function to your most important objectives. It is designed to avoid the common drawbacks that lead to failed strategy implementation.
Studies conducted by a staffing firm revealed that workers spend an average of 56 minutes on their phones at work each day. No wonder achieving business objectives seems unattainable for a lot of organizations.
To improve performance and achieve your objectives, you must find ways to curb these distractions, which can come in many forms, including excessive meetings, social media usage, and the ubiquitous use of personal phones.
Creating a system to track employees’ productive hours can help improve workflow, performance, and goal achievement.
Concerning distractions from the use of phones, you should encourage your team to minimize their use of social media and personal phones during work hours, except during designated break times.
By setting clear boundaries, you can help maintain productivity and concentration.
Also, review your meeting schedule and eliminate those that could be replaced with more efficient communication methods, such as emails or collaborative project management tools.
This will help preserve your team’s time and attention for face-to-face or group discussion tasks.
Employ efficient time management
Another tactic that can help you achieve your company’s strategic objectives is to create an effective time management system within your organization.
Companies with an efficient time management system can manage daily tasks more effectively and increase the likelihood of dedicating time to KPIs that contribute primarily to your goals.
One valuable tool to enhance time management is the Eisenhower Matrix.
This matrix allows you to prioritize tasks based on their importance and urgency, making it less complicated to figure out what to tackle first and, in some cases, what to discard entirely.
The matrix categorizes all of your activities into four categories:
Important & Urgent
Important but Not Urgent
Not Important but Urgent
Not Important & Not Urgent.
The last one should be removed immediately, leaving only the three remaining categories worthy of your attention and indicating where you should concentrate your efforts.
This approach ensures that you spend time and energy on tasks that align with your strategic objectives, ultimately leading to greater productivity and goal achievement.
Use the “Eat That Frog” technique
You may have seen or read the book “Eat That Frog” by Brian Tracy, the motivational public speaker and self-development author. Actually, the book was borne out of the statement by Mark Twain who said:
“If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And If it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.”
The “Eat That Frog” strategy asserts that you must complete the most critical or time-consuming work first thing in the morning. After you’ve “eaten” your “frog,” i.e., met the most crucial activity, you can complete the lesser and less significant tasks.
This concept can be applied to achieving your company’s key strategic objectives by ensuring that the most critical work you choose to tackle aligns with your strategic objectives.
However, while implementing this concept, ensure you have a balanced approach to task management so that you dont become overly focused on immediate tasks to the detriment of your strategic objectives.
Apply the Pareto Principle
The Pareto Principle, otherwise known as the 80/20 rule, is an excellent management principle that can help you achieve your strategic objectives. The principle asserts that 80% of your results come from 20% of your efforts.
This principle can play a critical role during your strategic planning phase by helping you set clear priorities and align efforts to what counts.
How do you apply this to achieving your strategic objectives?
Let’s consider a market & financial growth objective of increasing sales by 20% in the next three years.
Using the Pareto principle, you can determine the key drivers responsible for generating the most sales/income for your company, including your sales process, talent, and clients.
By figuring out and focusing on the small set of efforts that generate the most significant results, you can improve your sales process, Identify and retain key talent, allocate more resources, and incentivize these clients, which all together help you achieve your objective.
Measure and Monitor Performance
Measuring and monitoring performance is what ensures that your efforts are not in vain and are being dedicated to the right KPIs that lead to the result you want to achieve.
So how do you do this?
Once your objectives and goals have been set and you have created a clear plan of action, you need to select the right metrics to track your progress on an ongoing basis.
The KPIs must have been determined during the strategic planning stage.
A numerical objective provides a precise measure of success for you and your team to track and evaluate performance and determine if any changes are required based on that progress.
For example, your company’s strategic goal could be to enhance client retention by 30% by 2024. You can observe data patterns over time by keeping a weekly or monthly record of the change in client retention rate.
If your client retention rate declines month after month, it may indicate that your strategic strategy needs to be reworked because it isn’t producing the desired transformation.
If, on the other hand, your data indicates consistent month-over-month growth, you can use that pattern to reasonably anticipate whether you’ll meet your target of a 30% rise by 2024.
To learn how to measure and monitor performance, read: How to Measure Strategic Objectives: A Comprehensive Guide.
Regularly evaluate performance
Finally, continuously evaluate your team’s performance towards the goal attainment. By measuring activities and progress toward objectives, you will be able to improve your plan or make adjustments that help improve overall performance.
How often you do this will vary from organization to organization. For some, once a year may be appropriate; quarterly reviews may be best for others, especially those in rapidly evolving industries.
Who bears responsibility for the strategic objectives?
This generally depends on the size of your organization.
For large organizations, senior leaders, like the CEO, C-suite executives, and board members, are typically responsible for creating strategic objectives and ensuring they are met. They often distribute the responsibility among teams and managers.
For instance, if there are multiple strategic objectives within your key strategic objective, these objectives can be assigned to various teams.
The ownership of strategic goals is typically shared between the team managers and the organization’s leaders.
However, note that it’s essential to strike a balance to avoid overloading an objective with too many managers.
Overloading an objective with too many managers can lead to a lack of clear accountability. However, the team can include as many members as required to work on and achieve the objective efficiently.
On the other hand, in a small business with limited staff, the primary responsibility for overseeing the fulfillment of strategic objectives often rests with the business leaders themselves.
In such cases, leaders may not have a large managerial team to delegate these responsibilities to. Therefore, they bear the accountability for ensuring that the objectives are met.
You may also like: Cascading Strategic Objectives: Step-by-Step Implementation.
Takeaway: Utilize proven tactics to achieve your company's strategic objectives
Achieving your strategic objectives isn’t a straightforward process. It takes time, effort, and taking calculatative risk. Yet it does not guarantee you will achieve your long-term goal when due. At least, this is the experience for low-performing companies.
Innovative companies dont take chances. They are data-driven. With the right information, they create strategic objectives, set SMART goals, create a clear plan of action, and identify key metrics to track and implement management strategies that facilitate achieving their key objectives.
They measure, monitor, and evaluate performance so that they can immediately make adjustments or improve on what works.
But how are they able to achieve their goals?
They can achieve their long-term goals by following the actionable points discussed above and using technologies like Kippy.
Kippy helps organizations achieve their best strategic objectives using systems that allow users to set SMART goals, automatically select the best KPIs, and align their KPIs, projects, tasks, and employee Appraisals to your key strategic objectives.
Remember, there are many types of strategic objectives to be achieved within an organization, all geared toward making progress toward its overarching mission and vision. It gets complicated, but with Kippy, it becomes simplified.
Ready to start achieving your strategic objectives as the top 1,000 leading global companies do?
Schedule an interactive demo today and see how Kippy can help.