Establishing strategic goals is vital for ongoing success of the organization but it is often a challenging phase of the strategic planning process. It is necessary to carefully review and integrate data gathered from the previous phase, identify critical issues, determine strategic priorities, analyze the interplay of various decision factors, anticipate potential implications, evaluate alternative options, and finally, articulate broad strategic goals. Leaders of the organization must feel confident that the proposed strategic goals are congruent with the vision, mission and overall purpose of the organization. The organization needs to carefully balance the multiple needs of various stakeholders, consider short-term and long-term performance projections, and appropriately allocate their resources to counteract external threats or turn them into opportunities. All employees within the organization should have a clear understanding of how they make meaningful contributions to the achievement of the strategic goals.
To become a reality, strategic goals of the organization have to be broken down into SMART (Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic, and Time-based) objectives. The SMART objectives help mobilize the organizational resources, build commitment to change, capitalize on specific opportunities, drive individual accountability, and monitor progress against targets. It is essential to link strategic goals and objectives to the needs of patients and other key stakeholders. Focusing on patients prevents the healthcare organization from becoming too inwardly oriented, setting conflicting objectives or spending valuable resources on insignificant issues.