Developing Strategy? Focus on Two Types of Objectives

You and your team are developing your company’s strategy. Let’s imagine your primary goal is to improve customer retention. To do that, you decide, you need to dramatically improve the customers’ service experience. And to do that, you need to provide service excellence training for your employees. But you can’t do that without a trainer who can design and deliver an effective curriculum. Yet the last two trainers haven’t worked out so well so you decide to hire a search firm to find you the right trainer.
Which means the key to your strategy is to hire a search firm to find you a trainer who will deliver training so your employees deliver better service and your customers won’t leave.
Of course I’m joking. Yet that’s what can happen with strategy. Understandably, you want to determine what will lead to the right outcome, what gaps or obstacles stand in your way, and what is at the root of the problem.
Yet the further down the chain you get from the desired result, the longer it will take and the less certain it is you will get there. Many other variables could get in the way.
That’s why you need two types of objectives: Process Objectives and Results Objectives.
Process Objectives address the contributing factors that indirectly lead to the desired outcome. A Process Objective might be: “Develop skilled employees who consistently deliver service excellence.” Ultimately, you can’t reduce customer churn without skilled employees who consistently deliver service excellence. But having skilled employees who consistently deliver service excellence doesn’t guarantee you will reduce customer churn (if, for example, you products don’t deliver what you say they will).
Results Objectives directly address the desired outcome. A Results Objective might be, “Lock in our top 20 customers.” That objective isn’t multiple steps removed from the desired outcome so it doesn’t allow intervening variables to get in the way.
So then why should you want both types of objectives? Why not just have Results Objectives?
Because Results Objectives help you get the result for now, but Process Objectives help you get the result and continue to get the result. Ultimately you want sustained results, not just one-time outcomes. That why both process and results count.
Process Objectives and Results Objectives. Make sure your strategy addresses both.
Make it happen.
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