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    Setting goals and plans is how a company or firm moves forward and is the drive behind most managerial decisions and actions. There are different levels of goals and plans, ordered by their importance and influence. The lowest level is operational goals/plans, which concern the lower management and departments. The next level, increasing in importance, is tactical goals/plans. These involve the middle management and are the major divisions and functions of a firm. The strategic goals/plans are the next level and concern members of the senior management and the whole organization. Finally, the highest level of goals/plans is the missions statement. The mission statement is the external message that is projected out to investors, customers, and the outside community.

    One of the purposes of having goals is that it acts as a source of motivation and commitment for the employees. When employees identify with the organization’s goals, they will be intrinsically motivated to perform well and achieve the organization’s goals. Having goals and plans provides a rationale for decisions and ensures that all employees understand what the organization is trying to accomplish.

    Tactical goals apply to the level of middle management and define the outcome that divisions and departments are striving to achieve. Tactical plans are created to execute the steps that are needed to achieve an organization’s goals.

    Operational goals are the specific, measurable goals that are expected from individuals and work groups. Operational plans are the organization’s lower level plans and used in the daily and weekly operations.

    Characteristics of effective goal setting include setting specific and measurable goals, have a defined time period, and are linked to rewards. Goal creation is used in almost all organizations and types of management. It is an extremely valuable tool to achieving a desired outcome.

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