The Gate to Goals

Without goals we don't know the direction. This is a place to co-define them.

Members: 5
Latest Activity: Jun 30, 2010

Goal setting is important to implement change in an organization. From research & development, to marketing and sales, from campaign planning to activism, goal setting can help people make changes faster and, in some cases, can even increase the chances that the goal is successful. "Simply put, those who make actionable goals, and put forth the effort to make them happen, are far more likely to achieve the goals than those who just arbitrarily claim that a change will be made." (Sara Gilmore: Goal Setting Guide)

Although we know that in change processes we rarely reach our originally intended goals ("The journey will teach us"), goals motivate and energize. People love goals, in particular when they had the chance to co-create them and if they are properly communicated

There are virtually hundred of different tools and methodologies to develop and define goals but most people would agree that goals need to be SMART:

Specific: Be unambiguous as to exactly what it is you want to achieve.

Measurable: Reaching your goals is a step-by-step process. Visit the Observatory of Facts and Numbers as often as possible.

Attainable: Make your goals realistic, break them down into more manageable and chunks.

Relevant: Does the goal have real significance for the overall business objective?

Time Frame: When do you want to achieve your goal?

Image by Colleen Flood

Questions for Deeper Exploration

  • How clear is the goal of the change?
  • Is it SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, time bound?
  • Who owns the goal?
  • How would we know and how would others know that we have reached the goal?


What Tools Would You Use to Find the Goal

Please list articles, tools, methods, links that you use to collaboratively define goals.Continue

Started by Holger Nauheimer Mar 31, 2010.

Comment Wall


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Comment by Chris Rodgers on May 6, 2010 at 9:38pm
Is it WISE to be SMART?

Using SMART targets seems like commonsense advice. And yet, most organizations still find it difficult to make this common sense work! The dynamics of informal coalitions suggests that managers need to ask themselves if the use of SMART targets to manage performance is wise, in a complex, uncertain and rapidly changing world.

In a blog post, I argued that managing performance demands a WISEr approach to leadership than that offered by the overuse of SMART targets. In brief, this means first helping people to understand why their contribution is important and to remain alert to the critical inter-dependencies between their own tasks and those of others. Then it's about encouraging, assisting and enabling them to exercise effective self-management. And finally, people need to be inspired and enabled to achieve extra-ordinary performance through the fostering of conditions in which they have the motive, means and opportunity to excel.

Smart leaders, I suggested, will WISE-up to these challenges!
Comment by Holger Nauheimer on April 5, 2010 at 3:03pm
I just found an interesting study on goals and how employees feel about them:

Are SMART goals dumb? (PDF).

The authors suggest HARD goals instead of SMART goals:

"HARD goals are:

Heartfelt — My goals will enrich the lives of somebody besides me—
customers, the community, etc.

Animated — I can vividly picture how great it will feel when I achieve
my goals.

Required — My goals are absolutely necessary to help this company.

Difficult — I will have to learn new skills and leave my comfort zone to
achieve my assigned goals for this year."
Comment by Katia Van Belle on April 1, 2010 at 6:38pm
Goals are important. I like to use smart goals for the small steps, the ones we see right in front of us, the short term things we have agreed upon.

Goals for the larger change are often more 'an intention'. Each change effort should have a goal, but that doesn't need to be defined in smart wording. A compelling idea, a vision of the future, an ambition is often more useful.

To define goals collaboratively, I like to use Open Space Technology. Other setups are possible too. For example for one NGO we translated possible future visions into provocative statements. They invited different stakeholders, from within and outside the organization. We organized a World Café setting, where all were confronted with the provocative statements and discussed them.

This opened up the discussion, allowed for input from the stakeholders. Later the employees of the NGO - inspired by the debates - refined the statements into 3year goals for their organization.

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