Risk in work unit business planning: Re-generating the objectives

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Understanding your objectives is the most important part of the risk management process. The objectives are the outcomes that the unit delivers for the organisation as a whole.

Previous article: Risk in work unit business planning: Understanding ‘risk’ for business planning


Understanding your objectives is the most important part of the risk management process.

The work already done on your business planning process already will be a good start. It may even have painted the picture for the end of the year more precisely than the fast method outlined in this section.

To ensure confidence in the risk part of planning, we’ll start fresh using a method specifically designed for risk management. We come back to the business plan version of the objectives later. The risk-based review of objectives will form a sort of independent validation of the business plan objectives.

When considering objectives, it is customary to say that objectives should be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-based. In this approach, you will get to each of the SMART elements you need, one step at a time. That’s SMART enough.

The objectives are the outcomes that the unit delivers for the organisation as a whole.

The objectives are what the Board, CEO, and your boss want from your unit. What you and your team want your unit to be is important – to you and your team. When looking your boss calmly in the eye, the conversation will be about assuring outcomes – for the organisation. No so much about outcomes for you.

Creating a solid list of objectives involves answering some big questions, and putting those answers into a precisely engineered structure. The big questions and the precise engineering are now described here as two stages. The initial answers to the big questions will come fairly easily, but the precise structuring stage will throw up further questions. To get a good result you will loop back repeatedly from structuring to answering questions, then apply some further review and structure, and so on.

Recommended next article:

Risk in work unit business planning: How to answer the four big questions

Four big questions: Benefits, Costs, Dangers, Capabilities Example of draft objectives (payroll unit)

Previous article: Risk in work unit business planning: Understanding ‘risk’ for business planning

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