Aligning the Business Goals With Your Own

I had an interesting conversation with a colleague of mine last week. We were talking about goals and targets.

Let me first start with a question. Do you know what your company's goals are for the year 2012? Can you name them?

I am not talking about general goals like keep doing what we are doing, continue our sales. Honestly ask yourself - are you fully aware of the company's goals??

Who sets the goals? Usually upper management or your BOD, not you the guy that works in IT or you the consultant. So why would you care? If you have no control of the companies goals then why should you care? You come in and do your job - keep things running. That is what you are paid to do and what you care about.

Well that is not the correct attitude and therefore this post.

Your goals should always be aligned with the business goals. It does not matter if you are a manager, a developer, a support professional, a sales genius or a janitor - it does not matter.

Each department in the company should have their goals as well. It is important though these goals are aligned with the business goals. The reason being of course is if they are then you stay relevant. You work with the business to achieve its goals. You help the business. You stay focused on what is important and not what you might think is important.

Let us take an very simple example.

Company 123 has defined the following goals for the year 2012:

  1. Increase sales in US by 10%
  2. Develop 2 new technologies
  3. Improve support for Project X

So how could IT align their goals for the year with those of the business? In this case:

  1. Improve remote connectivity for the road-warriors so they can improve Sales.
  2. Provide the underlying infrastructure to R&D teams for the new technologies
  3. Provide IT expertise and assistance to Customer Operations for supporting Project X

As you can see each of the goals above are in direct correlation to the business goals. This can help IT focus on what is important - and stay relevant.

When a conflict of interests arises between two projects that both need immediate resources or attention, it is much easier to prioritize - based on what the business considers a priority.

And of course each member of IT should have their personal goals defined that are - yes you guessed correctly... aligned with those of the department.

A lot of talk is going around about how to change IT, BYOD, and why "rogue" IT is growing in the enterprise. A large part of this is due to (IMHO) to the fact that IT is not aligned with the business.

I do feel that with the goals defined and clear, we the employees can perform our work better and become more efficient. This is not always as simple as the example I provided above but I do hope you get the general idea.

So if you do not know what the company’s goals are – go ask your manager. If you do not know what your personal goals are – then sit down with your manager and define them – be they short-term or long term. And of course – align them with the business.

As always I would be interested in hearing your thoughts on the subject. Please feel free to leave them in the comments below.