Goal Setting

Too often people, and organizations, fail to take the time and effort to set goals and as a result, don’t accomplish everything they could or should.

An organization operating without goals is the equivalent of an airplane taking off without knowing the final destination. Everything might work properly but long term, you will use up a lot of resources and never get anywhere of significance.

The organizations goal is the equivalent of the planes final destination. Without knowing the destination there is no way to plan the route, calculate the arrival time and file the flight plan. Without knowing the goal, there is no way for the organization to plan how to use it’s resources most effectively.

First, we should start with an explanation of what a good goal is.

A goal is a “dream” that is attainable, measurable, has a time limit and is in writing.

To break this statement down, we start with the word dream. Too many people set a goal that is so easy to achieve it doesn’t “stretch” the organization and, in fact, allows the organization to underachieve while thinking it’s accomplishing something significant. Instead of picking something simple, you want to look aspire to something big and have to really challenge yourself to accomplish this aspiration. This is where the dream comes into play,

While you want this goal to be a dream (or a big time reach) you also want it to be attainable. If you set the goal so high that you aren’t able to attain it, you will end up getting discouraged and quitting. This is a very fine line to make sure it’s a big enough dream to be a challenge but not so far out there it’s not attainable.

The measurable part of definition is extremely important because there needs to be a way to know whether you are getting close to the goal and actually accomplishing the goal. While it’s not always possible to quantify the goal, it is extremely important to try to find a way to do so at all times.

At the same time it’s important for the goal to be measurable, it’s also important for there to be a time period involved. Without a time period, there is a built in excuse for not having accomplished a goal “I just haven’t gotten around to it, I’ll do it tomorrow (or next week or next month or next year)” . Putting a deadline on goals makes it much easier to monitor.

Putting the goal in writing is important because otherwise, there is nothing to keep you to that goal or to prevent you from changing the goal halfway through the process. It’s important to not just put the goal in writing but to also “publish” the goals somewhere so you see them on a regular basis and for others to see them as well.

To give some examples of effectively written goals look at the list below:

A non profit organization might set as it’s goal to increase membership from 24,000-30,000 by Jan 1 2012
A hotel might set as a goal to increase daily occupancy from 60%-65% by December 31. 2008
A Prosecuting Attorney might set as his goal to win convictions in 90% of their cases in 2008
A Realtor might set as his goal to sell $20,000,000 in real estate in 2008
An artist might set as his goal to average one show a month for the last 6 months of 2008

In each of the examples above, it’s a goal that is measurable and has a time period (I don’t honestly know whether any of those numbers are realistic for their given fields)

Many organizations don’t spend enough time setting goals because they don’t think they have enough time. The reality is, I’m not sure many organizations have the time to NOT set goals properly.

Once you set have set your goals, your next step is to create plans for achieving these goals. This will be left for a future post

Spend the time needed to set goals, work toward achieving these goals and good things will happen

Have a great day!


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