Why Your Company Is Not Hitting Its Goals (And What to Do About It)

Financial Reports Every Business Needs


Achieving your goals depends upon three key factors: time, people, and money. While it is critical to set the right measurable, realistic, and time-bound goals, it is also essential to have your team’s buy-in.Many companies fail to achieve their goals despite having a great team. We turned to our TAB community and asked them the top reasons companies fail to achieve their goals. Here’s what they shared with us and action steps on what these companies can do to achieve their goals.

Goals are easy to set; yet hard to achieve.

I meet business owners with lofty goals and the ones (entirely) missing the mark. It’s as if their goals are dreams – and once we put pen to paper, reality sinks in. In many cases, this reality check is the last time they speak with me. Reality sucks, and goals are not well-thought-out.

Albert Einstein said, “If I had an hour to solve a problem, I’d spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and 5 minutes thinking about solutions.”

Use this paradigm in your goal setting and if you fail to achieve your goals.

Here is an alphabet soup of common acronyms to use while setting goals. First, set SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound), use the proper OKR – (Objectives and Key Results), and set KPIs (Key Performance Indicators).

This will help set more reasonable goals; however, it does not solve the problem of why you fail to achieve your goals.
Spend the time in discovery asking questions about why you missed your goal – when you’re done asking questions, ask more questions, dig deeper. Don’t stop until you are satisfied there are no more questions to answer. Here are some questions:
• Is my goal a results goal or a process goal?
• Was my failure from internal weakness or outside threats?
• Did I assign the proper personnel? Did they understand their task?
• Was the timeline appropriate? Was the goal too grandiose?
• Could my team / myself handle this project at this time?

Consider the movie “Field of Dreams.” The movie’s premise was centered around a process goal: “If you build it, they will come.” The result of “them coming” was never the goal.
Setting excellent process goals provides you with a solid foundation for hitting larger result goals without having your success or failure tied to them.

The top 6 reasons why your company is not hitting its goals and what you can do about it:

  1. You created the goal in a vacuum. The business leader(s) did not include their teams/workforce in developing the goal and therefore do not have buy-in through the organization. Here’s what you should be doing:
    1. Include as many people as possible in the brainstorming/idea generation process.
    2. When a goal emerges, form a cross-functional team to flesh out and execute an Action Plan.
  2. The goal was doomed from the start. Goals need to be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and anchored within a Time Frame).
    1. Always apply this test to any ideal being considered as a Goal.
  3. There was a lack of clear accountabilities and responsibilities assigned to the goals.
    1. Always have a lead sponsor who is accountable, a team leader responsible for the plan, and task-level responsibilities assigned.
  4. There were no regular check-ins by leadership with the person or team on progress towards the goal.
    1. Set a regular, quick check-in meeting at a frequency that makes sense for the master timeline. If monthly, for example, use a format where the team leader provides a brief update to leadership on what happened in the last 30 days and what will happen in the next 30 days and identifies roadblocks, new challenges, or opportunities related to the goal.
  5. There was no or inadequate sponsorship from leadership to help remove obstacles, dedicate human resources, or appropriate the necessary funds promptly.
    1. Deal with this right up front by setting budgets, assigning/allocating human and other resources, and clearly defining and assigning the accountabilities and responsibilities.
  6. There was no formal action plan with responsibilities, deliverables, and timelines clearly defined.
  7. Take the time up front to map out the Action Plan to achieve the goal. It does not have to be exhaustive or complicated. It must, however, be a SMART goal. A simple Gant chart format in MSExcel can work just fine in most cases.

Your team perceives the goals as unrealistic.

Have you heard the story of Roger Bannister, the first person to break the 4-minute mile barrier on May 6, 1954? This is still a popular story today, but it is less about Roger and more about what happened following his incredible feat and what the story taught the world about the power of mindset. Once Roger had shown the world that a particular goal could be achieved, it moved from impossible to achievable in the minds of every elite runner in the world. That same once thought to be impossible record would tumble again just 46 days later, and then again and again. The sub-4 mile quickly became routine amongst elite runners.

The “sub-4” mile goal for runners before Roger did not motivate many since they viewed it as unrealistic. After Roger, it became a realistic goal many runners adopted for themselves and quickly achieved. The goal was realistic and achievable before Roger, but Roger was the only one who believed it. The vast majority of the rest of the running world perceived it as unrealistic.

Are your company goals perceived as realistic by your employees? If you don’t know, find out. If they are not, how can you change that perception?

Follow this lesson we all learned from Roger Bannister in 1954, and then you will be successful.

Your company may not be reaching its’ goals because the employees were not involved in setting them. Dictating budgets and goals seldom works because people don’t respond to what they’re not a part of. Seek out their input, and you may find your company has higher goals that are more easily attained because everyone has buy-in and a stake in the outcomes.

Lack of an actionable plan.

Companies and individuals often don’t hit goals because they do not have an actionable plan. An action plan flows from a strategic plan. Goals should not be confused with a plan. For instance, you may have a goal of losing 20 lbs. The question is, how will you do it and by when? The how is the specific action you will take to reach the goal. Goals must have a deadline or completion date. If you don’t have these, your goals are just a wish list.