The most important thing to know about goal setting

The most important thing to know about goal setting

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I thought I would share one of the distinctions I’ve had on the subject of Goal Setting over the last eight years.  I’ve done heaps of work on this and I’ve put it to the test successfully myself and with my clients.

When it comes down to it, there are only two types of goals: Objective and Subjective.

Let’s take a minute to define the two.

Objective goals are clearly defined. What does that mean?

I think the most important thing to know about Objective Goals is this:

Objective Goals have an end result or end action that is observable by a stranger.

If you explained the goal to a complete stranger, they would be able to understand and evaluate the achievement of the goal.

Can I ask you to read the last paragraph again?

It’s important to comprehend what I’ve communicated there.  The reason is, that a Subjective Goal is everything other than what I’ve written there.

Let me give you an example:

You’re giving your attention to the marketing department of your business and you are clarifying the goal for the first quarter of 2017.  The goal is to start Instagram and Pinterest accounts and post to them daily, making sure the organisation’s visual media, advertising and marketing activities send out the right image.

Does this past the test?

No.  The reason?  Will a complete stranger understand what the ‘right image’ is?

No.  The reason?  The ‘right image’ if you are Hugh Hefner would be scantily clad women in daring poses.  Is that the ‘right image’ for your business?

Subjective goals present an even bigger problem in your business.

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If you have the goal to get it ‘right’ or to do it ‘right’, that means that right now you are getting it wrong. The concept of ‘right’ is not defined, so whenever you make a change, you can always see a way to do it better, faster, smarter, quicker and more ‘Right’ – so you end up being a hamster on the wheel.

You’ve placed the concept of doing it ‘right’ in the future.  So you make a bunch of changes and arrive at that place in the future.  What used to be the future is now.  The problem is you still have the goal to get it ‘right’.  So automatically, you see a way to do it more ‘right’ and you are back on the hamster wheel.

You might change that into an objective goal like this – “The goal is to start Instagram and Pinterest accounts and post to them daily, making sure the organisation’s visual media, advertising and marketing activities are in line with its strategic positioning statement”.  This will work as long as you have a well written and objective strategic positioning statement!

Subjective goals create unsolvable problems.

Your role as a business owner is to solve problems, so make sure your goals are objective.  Test them with a stranger.  You will achieve more.

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