The Process of Developing Meaningful Goals

Andrew E. Schwartz

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DEVELOPING A GOAL-SETTING CHECKPOINT: The process of developing meaningful goals and objectives can be a challenging task for any manager. There is a method to make this process easier, however, and it involves following a few general guidelines. The Goal Setting Checklist for the first-line supervisor has been specifically designed with two main objectives in mind: (1) for specific use in translating general (or possibly unclear) goals into a workable structure; and (2) for use as a worksheet (or checklist) to write meaningful goals and objectives for employees. This two-step process should enable the supervisor to translate ideas, “rough thoughts, ” and wishes into goal statements of a much more practical nature. Over the years, experience has shown that while it is relatively easy to teach the concept and theory of goal setting, many supervisors and managers have found it quite difficult to translate the theory into actual practice. Step-by-step use of the goal setting checklist should provide a constructive aid in this regard.

HOW WILL THIS GOAL OR OBJECTIVE BE MEASURED? This question places immediate focus on the measurement side of accomplishing the goal or objective. It puts the spotlight on whether the goal or objective to be assigned is easily measurable in terms of quantity (output), whether there are also qualitative factors involved. Just as important, it automatically addresses the criteria that will be used for measurement — something which can be easily overlooked, even with the best of intentions.

WHAT IS TO BE ACCOMPLISHED? It is possible for a supervisor to have a generally clear idea of the way a goal or objective is to be measured, but fall short in specifically identifying what is to be actually accomplished. Nothing can be more de-motivating to an employee than never being certain when goal accomplishment is actually achieved. An employee’s motivational level has a direct link to accomplishing a stated task; where this crucial element is missing in a person’s performance, job satisfaction will usually suffer.

WHEN SHOULD IT BE ACHIEVED? While everyone usually agrees that a supervisor must be as flexible as possible in goal setting, it is quite easy to inadvertently establish a vague or unrealistic time frame for accomplishment. Time frames should be realistic and definite with some flexibility taken into consideration. For example, many times within the work environment, a situation will arise that could not have been anticipated during the time that the goal was actually set.

Copyright AE Schwartz & Associates All rights reserved. For additional presentation materials and resources: ReadySetPresent and for a Free listing as a Trainer, Consultant, Speaker, Vendor/Organization: TrainingConsortium

CEO, A. E. Schwartz & Associates, Boston, MA. , a comprehensive organization which offers over 40 skills based management training programs. Mr. Schwartz conducts over 150 programs annually for clients in industry, research, technology, government, Fortune 100/500 companies, and nonprofit organizations worldwide. He is often found at conferences as a key note presenter and/or facilitator. His style is fast-paced, participatory, practical, and humorous. He has authored over 65 books and products, and taught/lectured at over a dozen colleges and universities throughout the United States.


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