Your (Leadership) Role in Establishing Goals

Sections of this topic

    (Adapted from The Executive Guide to Facilitating Strategy)

    As a leader in your organization, part of your role during strategic planning is to help establish goals that provide a foundation for the rest of the plan. It is important that you ensure the foundation is solid.

    Here are 4 responsibilities your role requires in ensuring the goals established are strategically developed and aligned with the plan:

    1. Lead a visioning exercise to help your team members discover their goals. This is a powerful and creative method for gathering and shaping ideas and future thinking. Here is one I recommend – Painting the Picture, which you can learn more about in The Executive Guide to Facilitating Strategy.

    2. Ensure that the goals represent all of the key areas of strategic focus for the organization. To ensure that this is the case, ask the integral question (as one part of the quality check of the goals): “If the organization achieves these goals, and only these goals, will the organization most likely have fulfilled its mission?” If the answer is no, something is missing.

    3. Be sure to separate content discussions from wording discussions. Much time can be wasted in adjusting the wording of a goal. Content discussions sound similar to, “Should we also include something about… ?” Wording discussions frequently sound like, “The better word for that is…” Discussions about word adjustments typically are not a valuable use of the whole group’s time. Therefore, consider recording these suggestions and moving on. Then, have a smaller group address wording outside the session.

    4. Ensure that all of the quality checks are met. There is a set of critical questions outlined in The Executive Guide to Facilitating Strategy that should be addressed during the quality check. If you cannot answer yes to these questions, reconsider the goals your team developed.

    Need some help in carrying out your role as the leader during the strategic planning process? I recommend expert facilitation services to help guide you during the strategy work.


    Certified Master Facilitator Michael Wilkinson is the CEO and Managing Director of Leadership Strategies, Inc., The Facilitation Company, and author of The Secrets of Facilitation 2nd Edition, The Secrets to Masterful Meetings, and The Executive Guide to Facilitating Strategy. Leadership Strategies is a global leader in facilitation services, providing companies with dynamic professional facilitators who lead executive teams and task forces in areas like strategic planning, issue resolution, process improvement, and others. The company is also a leading provider of facilitation training in the United States, having trained over 18,000 individuals.