Goals are not strategy.
What is a “strategic goal?” Usually what that means is a 3-5 year goal. Which means nothing. It is your best guess at what you think you will want to have accomplished assuming everything you know right now will be true in 3-5 years. Which is almost certainly not going to be true.
Your strategy is the criteria you use for marking decisions right now. The problem is that we usually make purely opportunistic decisions. We need to have a consistent measure of success that will serve as the anchors of our strategy.
Here are some guides (not fixed rules):
- If you are a product company your strategy will inform your approach to innovation.
- If you are a service company your strategy will inform the impact of your solutions.
- If you are an operations company your strategy will clarify what we are willing to spend money on.
There is always a strategy at work in every organization. However, the best organizations clarify the strategy, communicate the strategy to every employee, and make sure that every decision we make intentionally reinforces the strategy.
It is time to evolve our understanding of strategy from goals to decision making criteria.