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Goals and Objectives

Goals need to be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely.  They need to be SMART.

The difference between where we are now and where we want to be is what we do.  Between our current situation and our future visioned status, we need to set goals and objectives to get there.

How many parents have heard: “are we there yet”?  The children have assumed that the car will reach the destination, with minimum effort, fuelled for the length of the journey, safely and properly driven.

Setting goals and objectives builds on the work of Mission and Vision Statements and of the SWOT analysis – taking stock of where the organisation is at this time.

Goals are simply a clearer statement of the visions with details of the completed tasks that need to be achieved if the vision is to become reality.  The objectives (sometimes referred to as target objectives) are even clearer statements of the specific actions required to achieve the goals, starting from the “now.”

The vision is for a family holiday in Rarotonga; how we get there requires planning.

In the strategic planning “cycle” this part often produces a lot of ideas and action steps.  Without stating the obvious, someone has to be responsible for each of the ideas / steps – often a team is required to do this work.

One quick win is to create what I refer to as a segment of a spider’s web – a diagram in which ideas are mapped to central themes.  This is also known as an affinity diagram, for obvious reasons.

The steps are:

  • Form a team;
  • Phrase the issue in the form of a question – this is an agreed question from the group that best describes the issue;
  • Individually answer the question by recording one idea on individual Post-It Notes – using nouns and verbs – as many individual answers as can be written (some team members will have many and some few – it doesn’t matter);
  • Randomly display the notes on a whiteboard, or a large piece of paper;
  • Each member of the team gets to read the notes silently and move like ideas into groups;
  • Read all the grouped ideas as a group and identify the major theme(s);
  • Reposition the notes under header cards which then identify the theme.

The vision is for this family holiday.  The issue really is best phrased as: “what do we need to do to have a great holiday in Rarotonga?”

By grouping all the ideas that come from this question, a list of things that need to be done will emerge.

Then it is a simple task to allocate certain action points to certain people (or teams) to ensure success – mostly because everyone has bought into the whole process from the beginning and has arrived at a consensus of what needs to be done.
What might be missing from this?  We have the WHO and the WHAT – but is timing important?  Of course it is.  WHEN needs also to be discussed and allocated to the team(s).

Here, more detailed planning needs to be done.  But again, consensus can be used very effectively.

In grouping the ideas into themes and by reviewing them, it is possible for the group to determine a priority for each task – this is very much what a project manager does in a large project – the basic ideas are the same.

The group has worked through the WHAT and allocated that to a WHO – and in so doing has delved quite deeply into the issue(s).  The group will have gained a lot of knowledge and understanding about which issue needs to be addressed first.  Sometimes this is simply voted on by allocating ticks to each header card – ay four votes per member.

Sometimes, senior leadership / management have to step in as there may be other considerations (such as financial constraints) that will make a difference to the priority list.

So the family has a list of what needs to be done and by whom – they now work through the order in which these things should be done – for the best result.  This brings us back to the issue phrased as the question.  For the best result (which is a great holiday) what do we need to do first, second, third etc.

Every family will have a different answer, perhaps, but each will have achieved the goal in the way that works best for them.  Each objective will have been met with the result that they all had a great holiday.

So, by defining and then a set of goals and objective, how could you change your organisation to be the best of its kind?  How could you change your career to give you the greatest job satisfaction?

Just remember, all goals are smart – and this means you can achieve them!

Creating Possibilities and Finding Solutions

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