Statement of the Goal - How to Begin

Setting goals lays out the avenues for closing the gap between current status and the Team’s Vision for the future. Just the fact of having a goal serves several important functions:

Each goal:

  • Narrows attention to a set of specific actions
  • Directs efforts and resources to goal-related actions and away from non related goal activities
  • Lead to more effort by setting a specific and higher standard for success
  • Communicates to all involved and impacted the desired changes
  • Assists the Team in staying the course in the face of adversity or setbacks
  • Keeps the Team focused on each member’s responsibilities in collaboratively implementing actions
  • Sustains priority for the work when Team members are confronted with the day to day obligations that do not diminish when trying to enact changes.

The statement of the Goal describes a future state that is different from the current state, that moves closer to achieving the Vision. A direct relationship between the Goal and the Vision should be clear. In other words, the ideal future your Team envisions, should become a little more in reach when the work described by the Goal is accomplished. A Team discussion, structured like the examples in the graphic ‘Vision-Goal Discussion’, can be helpful in examining the connection between the vision and the goals in your plan.

Each Team creates a ‘bank’ of ideas for Goals as a result of the 5 Whys and SWOT discussions. Always start with the root cause of a problem in crafting Goals. Addressing the surface of a problem, and not the root cause, results in always ‘putting out the fire’ and not getting to the underlying reasons.

To begin developing the Goal components for your plan:

Review root cause of problems and concerns from Step 1 (5 Whys). If the Team is addressing a new problem area, first engage in the 5 Whys discussion before attempting to move forward. Without first getting to root cause, the Team risks wasting time and resources on trying to solve a symptom or the wrong problem.

Note: As previously mentioned, with just a little practice, the 5 Whys discussion can happen quickly and efficiently, without the use of extra paper or templates.

Once the Team is satisfied they are working with root cause, review, or add to, the SWOT information in light of the specific root cause that is the basis of a goal. Consider if new internal or external factors exist. Discuss additional or unique ways SWOT factors can be combined, matched or converted to benefit the desired change being considered.

Note: Just as with 5 Whys, adding to or modifying the SWOT can be done quite efficiently. Continually keeping the information fresh and up-to-date makes it a ready reference for the Team to consult. Putting the SWOT into or in another electronic format makes it conveniently available to all Team members and easy to quickly review and update.