There are different types of goals that you can set in your quest to become successful in life. However, when it comes to taking a leap, changing status, identifying opportunities, maximizing possibilities, and surmounting obstacles, Strategic goals are the kinds of goals that can take care of everything in the bottleneck and help you move from your current state to wherever you desire to be.
Strategic goals produce strategic results and these include attaining positive change and repositioning of your life and status, gaining competitive advantage, achieving optimum performance, and living a balanced life, etc.
In this article, I will share some insight into the thought process that leads to setting strategic goals, and how you can develop and make use of strategic goals to boost the key areas of your life. You will also find specific examples of strategic goals for your personal development.
What are Strategic Goals?
Strategic goals are specific objectives and results that you as an individual aims to achieve over a period of time, usually three to five years . They are long term in nature and often emerge when you engage strategic thinking or undertake a strategic planning process.
Perhaps, what differentiate setting strategic goals from other types of goals is that they are based on strategic response to some identified opportunities or challenges. When you want to make a new move or make major changes in your life, what you need are strategic goals.
How to Plan for Strategic Goals
In the strategic planning process, Environmental scan and SWOT analysis are two important tools you can utilize in your evaluation. Although these tools are primarily used in business, they can be applied to your personal situation as well and will be very helpful to you in setting your strategic goals for success.
Environmental scanning is an ongoing tracking of trends and occurrences in an organization’s internal and external environment that bear on its success, currently and in the future .
The results of this scanning are said to be extremely useful in shaping goals and strategies.
As an individual, internal and external situations affects your success and future too and you need to track them to be succesful. Your internal factors include your strengths and weakness. You have control over these two and you can utilize, manage or improve on them for your own success.
Brian Tracy highlighted 9 factors that can influence your personal success, they include education, skill, contacts, money, good work habits, positive mental attitude, positive image, creativity, and character.
Other factors that can affect your success also include market trends, economic outlook of the country you live in, government policies, advancement in technology, family situation, social influence, etc.
You need to study these factors and review how they impact your success and progress positively or negatively.
Personal SWOT Analysis
The SWOT acronym stand for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.
Maximizing your talents and opportunities and managing your weaknesses and threats can boost your success rate in life. The personal SWOT analysis will help in ordering your thinking and give you different perspectives about your life. It will also help you to identify areas where you need development.
How to Set Strategic Goals
When you have identified the areas mentioned in the previous section, you will then be able to set strategic goals towards making the needed changes.
Identify Strategic Issues for Strategic Goals Setting
Strategic issues are issues that their presence or absence can contribute to your success or failure, or are capable of affecting a needed change in your life. When you carry out an environmental scan and SWOT analysis, you will be able to identify strategic issues and goals towards the end of the process.
These issues and goals usually come from strengths to be built on, weaknesses to be strengthened, opportunities to be taken, and threats to be avoided.
Clarify Strategic Priorities to Set Strategic Goals
From your analysis, there is the likelihood that many issues will come up. Also, you might find that some of the problems are urgent, while some are important. Therefore, to be able to come up with more definite strategic goals, it is better to focus on the important issues.
These important issues will represent your strategic priorities. When you know what your priorities are, you will be able to set your goals based on those priorities and create strategies based on your priorities.
Examples of Strategic Goals for Personal Development
To illustrate examples of strategic goals for personal development, I will assume that you have taken the environmental scan and SWOT analysis, and you have also been able to identify the issues of importance due to the gaps you have found and what you need to get to the next stage of your life. These have now become your top strategic priorities, say over the next three to five years.
For example, your strategic priorities for your personal development for the next three to five years can be the following and they can be turned to strategic goals:
- Develop Self-Confidence
- Boost Personal Image
- Advance in Education
- Acquire More Skills
- Achieve Work-Life Balance
1. Develop Self Confidence
Whatever it is that you do, exuding self-confidence is crucial to your personal success. Having self-confidence can help you perform to your highest potential as it gives you the energy and confidence to take action. It will help you to influence others as you become attractive and noticeable. It can also earn you a promotion at work.
Plus, you’ll be more positive and make better decisions. Other than that, you will be more productive and be happier.
The lack of self-confidence can bring apathy. You will be unable to take the necessary actions that can lead to your success thus missing out on great opportunities.
If you have identified a lack of self-confidence, you can set a strategic goal to boost your confidence through daily personal affirmations, reading books on personal development, relating more with people who exude confidence, attempting the things that often scare you, and probably also taking the 100 days challenge .
2. Boost Personal Image
Like self-confidence, the way you appear to other people says a lot about you and your chances of success. Paying attention to personal grooming; how you look and what you wear can boost your personal image and open more doors of opportunities for you. There are specific ways to dress for success. You can achieve this and still be on a budget.
Besides dressing, you will also need to learn other attributes like wearing a warm smile when meeting people, giving a firm handshake, practice good walking steps, carriage etc. All of this will say much about your self-image. When you consciously develop this habit over an extended period of time, it becomes part and parcel of you.
3. Enroll for Professional Masters Degree or Doctorate
There is no end to learning and education is key to success at any stage in life. No matter how confident you are, there are some opportunities you will never able to access if you do not have the required academic qualifications.
In your analysis, you might have identified some opportunities in your industry which you have not been able to access as a result of lack of qualification. It may also be that you sense that some new opportunities are emerging in your industry and the technical skills are not readily available. It could be your strategic goal to take an advanced study in that area so that you would have gotten the requirements by the time such an opportunity presents itself.
A woman once took a study leave at her place of work to earn a doctorate in a reputable institution. She had sensed that there would be an opening in a tenure-based office in her organization and she was interested in that position. She got her degree around the same time the office became vacant. She applied and got the job.
What a strategy! It may not work out for everyone like that but in her own case, it did.
4. Acquire More Skills, Develop Existing Ones
Skills are one of the most important assets that determine success in life. Skill-gaps limit growth, productivity, and opportunities. If you have identified skill-gap in your analysis, it’s about time to set strategic goals to acquire or develop those skills.
Some of the skills you’ll probably need most are problem-solving skills, creative thinking skills, management and leadership skills, IT skills, and communication skills. Acquiring and developing any of these skills will require some training, reading, learning, and conscious practice.
5. Achieve Work-Life Balance
One of the markers of a successful life is balance. Attaining work-life balance in this ever busy world would definitely require some strategic planning which revolves around time management.
You have to allocate time and resources to every important aspect of your life: work, family, health, social life, spiritual life, etc and stick to your schedules as much as possible. This can be a long time strategic goal to work your way through such that in the next three to five years, you can confidently say that no aspect of your life is suffering a result of the other.
The Bottom Line
Climbing the success ladder in life requires strategies. In order to make strategic moves, you might have to carry out an environmental scan and SWOT analysis to identify your potentials and limitations and also identify the opportunities around you.
This analysis will open you up to issues in your life that require attention in order to become more successful. You will then be able to set your strategic priorities based on the issues you think are most important to you.
This then forms the basis for your strategic goals which you can set to achieve over the next three to five years.
Featured photo credit: Estée Janssens via unsplash.com