Not Hitting Your Goals? Here’s How to Know If You Should Change Tactics or Strategy

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It’s not uncommon for you to set goals for your business and end up not achieving them. If you never miss your goals, you probably aren’t ambitious enough.

If things don’t go to plan, you have three main options:

  1. You can switch strategies – that is, the high-level plan you have devised to get you to your goal.
  2. You can change your tactics – that is, the specific actions you take to implement those strategies.
  3. Or you can change the destination yourself.

Knowing when to do what is crucial. If you’re struggling to achieve the business goals you and your team have set for your company, take a deep breath and begin troubleshooting the process, starting with your tactics.

Related: What are SMART goals and how can you set and achieve them?

1. Evaluate your tactics

If you can shift your daily list of actions to align more closely with and support the strategy, you’ll find that making the necessary adjustments becomes easier and easier than changing your entire strategy. So it makes sense to focus your analysis on your tactics first.

First, take a look at the consistency or lack of consistency between your tactics and the chosen strategies. Remember, tactics are specific actionable tasks, either one-time or repeatable routines that are made accountable to an individual and designed to follow a specific strategy.

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For example, “posting three updates a day to our Instagram account” isn’t necessarily a sound tactic by itself, even if it’s meant to increase brand awareness through a more dynamic and engaging social media presence. Are you sure your audience is active on Instagram? Are you using the right tactics to reach and connect with them? Does each of these three updates offer something of value to this audience?

Next, examine the resources you’ve allocated to those specific tactics. The execution of your tactic doesn’t have to be flawless to see positive results, but often we overlook something obvious that blocks the expected results. An execution gap could explain why your team fell short—perhaps a key position suddenly became available mid-project, or your team realized you were working with bad data. Discuss the path you have taken so far to see if such obstacles might have played a role.

Finally, examine the metrics you’ve assigned to track progress toward that goal and the tactics you’re pursuing. Are you tracking the right data points? Does this near real-time information show how your tactics are getting you closer to your goal? If not, re-evaluate and see if you can find more meaningful metrics and a way to reliably track them.

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2. Review your strategy

The strategies you use to reach your goal may also need to be adjusted or completely changed. If you’ve analyzed your team’s performance against the tactical plan and there’s nothing wrong with the execution, then the problem may be in the strategy. Maybe it’s no longer viable. Or maybe you’ve overlooked other data that shows your customers’ needs and interests are evolving. If so, make sure your strategic plans keep up with it.

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Evaluate whether the assumptions underlying your strategy have changed. As an obvious example, let’s say your goal is to increase your restaurant’s sales by 45% and your strategy is to bring 100 visitors to your restaurant every day. But an economic downturn is hitting your region, meaning fewer people are going out to dinner, at least for now. In this case, macro events overtook developments and altered your ability to accomplish the goal in this way.

This does not mean that you have to give up the goal itself. Just rethink the strategy. In our example, you could offer customers more lunch or dinner if inflation doesn’t make it impossible. Perhaps you can also switch to a focus on delivery, special events, or even catering.

Related: 7 ways to optimize your marketing and sales strategies for the new economy

3. Take a close look at the target itself

If you’ve looked closely at both the strategic and tactical plans without seeing an opportunity for a timely and productive shift, then it’s time to assess the goal itself. The problem with your goal can be situational – ie it was once a valid, realistic goal, but events have overtaken you and now you must adapt to the current environment and market. Or it could be that there’s nothing wrong with the goal itself; They just haven’t fully identified, defined, and fleshed it out yet.

Go back and check your goal by asking the following questions—and answering them honestly:

  • Is this goal Specific? Specifically, “X$ Revenue or Y% Year-over-Year Earnings Growth”. Vague is “make more money”.
  • Is it measurable? What metrics can be used to track your progress?
  • is your goal accessible? That is, is your goal achievable and realistic both in the absolute sense and in the time you set aside to achieve it?
  • is your goal relevant to your business? Does it align with your company values ​​and mission statement? Does it bring your business closer to what you desire, both in your industry and in your community?
  • After all, your goal in time? Do you have a clear starting point and target or deadline?
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Work towards the right things

By aligning your goals closer to your company vision, mission, and values, you can ensure you’re working for the right things. Adjusting your strategies and the tactics used to execute those strategies will get you there, as long as you keep track of meaningful metrics and make the necessary adjustments to optimize your results along the way.

Related: When to revise your mission statement

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