On Goals and Objectives

At a planning meeting at my church tonight, I was sitting with a group of parish leaders, discussing a large-scale initiative that we will be rolling out soon. Our project leader got us started by saying that she wants to set an objective. After discussing some possibilities, one of the others said something that surprised me.

She said: "I'm concerned that if we set an objective that it will be limiting."

"Limiting?" I asked her. She answered, "We should be expanding, reaching out to more people, touching all of the parish."

Blogger Matthias from South America is musing on goals and objectives at his blog, where he says: "As a real-life manager, I find defining the right objectives and keeping them simple quite a challenge in my daily work."

Phil Gerbyshak is also musing on goals: "As I reflect on how I’ve achieved many of my goals, it all comes back to one simple question I ask myself when I go to bed at night: Did I do at least 1 thing today that moved me closer to achieving a goal?"

As I think about goals and objectives, I think Phil and Matthias and my fellow parishioner are onto something very important: Goals and objectives should be about movement toward our desires. To the extent that they are, they will engage us. And others.

Posted by Terrence Seamon, September 9, 2008


John R Reese said…
Hi Terry,

Seems like we get down to the same issues we spoke about more than a decade ago when we were at TCG and AT&T together. Objectives are great but it is the execution toward those objectives that make a difference. Many companies and organizations fail to realize that talk is cheap . . . ACTION matters!

John R Reese
President and CEO
Execute Operations, LLC.
Donna Coulson said…
I still like Peter Drucker's SMART Goals: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely. Yes, execution is everything.

And simplicity is a beautiful thing.

As a coach, I ask for FOCUS and OUTCOME desired in a coaching conversation. That helps with project management too.
Donna Coulson
Phil Gerbyshak said…
Interesting that someone would feel goals are limiting. To get over that, perhaps you can include the words "or something better" to the end of whatever your goal statement is to help remove that limiting feeling.

ACTION is the meat of the goals sandwich. Planning and follow-up are the bread.
Terrence Seamon said…
John, Donna and Phil,
Thanks for commenting!

John, I know what you mean by ACTION.

Donna, I totally agree on simplicity. So often goals and objectives get overcomplicated.

Phil, Good thought about adding the phrase "...or something better." This might be a very simple way to keep goals dynamic rather than static.


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