Planning for Success: Setting Goals for 2017

PDCA Process

Have you set your annual goals for 2017? If you have, I applaud you for doing so because it encourages me to do the same thing with my personal goals. I do routinely set long and short-term business goals. But, I have not taken the step of doing the same thing on the personal side. I also need to devise a method for holding myself accountable for the plans that I have made. The notion of publishing them as an accountability method seems like a pretty good idea.

Since I retired from my career, I have taken up a second career as part-time business consultant. As a consultant, one of the services that I provide is to partner with business leaders to assist them with “Strategic Policy Management”, which was the role that I had, before retiring, in a large, global company. This includes creating a systematic way of

setting top-level Goals and Objectives as the initial phase of creating and executing an annual business plan. I thought that I would briefly share a bit of my experience regarding goal setting which I hope will be of some value for readers  who are in the process of setting their goals for 2017.

In my view, to start, a systematic approach (perhaps any approach) to goal setting as a part of an annual planning process, needs begin with an understanding of some fundamental terms, such as:

  1. Vision & Mission: While these two terms have specific definitions, for the purpose here, I will simply define them as statements of your longer-term purpose (Vision applies to what you want to be and Mission applies to what you want to do). In my opinion, both pertain to “your BIG WHY”!
  2. Goal: A statement of your direction regarding one or more elements of a certain priority or set of priorities. It
    Strategy Management & Execution

    represents the 1st element of “your what” (meaning: what you want to accomplish). Since goal statements need to be persuasive, they may include a why you want to element in order to inspire engagement.)

  3. Objective: The way that you plan to measure a specific factor that will enable you to make progress on a goal (the metrics/success factors). It represents the 2nd element “your what”! (What you will measure)
  4. Target: The level of achievement that is expected toward the fulfillment of a particular Objective. A Target is set in response to need/desire (if the reference is to a business goal, the need would be a business need. It creates a challenge that demands innovation. It represents the 3rd element “your what”. (What amount you need to achieve)
  5. Means: The ways in which you will proceed with carrying out your objectives in order to reach your target(s). Means represent “the how” in the plan to achieve your objective(s) and your goal.

These are just a few of the top-level terms that I have found to be useful in enabling people to understand what to focus on as they go through the process of setting goals. Dependent upon how formal, how structured and detailed you would like to become, these terms can funnel into more narrowly focused factors, such as: methods, activities, actions, tasks and behaviors that are necessary to carry out or execute a particular objective.

Of course this is a brief summary of some fundamental terms. It was not our intention in this article to present all of the details, but, to get you started in thinking about goal setting in a larger sense that would help you to become more organized and more effective. If you are interested in more information on this topic, stay tuned to this page. We intend to have more posts on Setting and Achieving Goals, Strategic Planning and Deployment, and Strategy Management throughout the year. In the mean-time, best wishes with your 2017 plans. We hope that you exceed your greatest expectations!



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