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Goal Writing Best Practices
Goal Writing Best Practices

How to write a great goal

Jessica Backholm avatar
Written by Jessica Backholm
Updated over a week ago

What is a goal in the workplace?

A goal is a result that you are expected to accomplish/achieve in your job.

Helpful Hints Before Creating Goals

  • Make goal-setting an ongoing practice.

  • Take a moment to outline the end-result that you want.

  • Ask yourself, why would you like to achieve these goals?

  • Identify the skills, resources and knowledge that you will need to reach the goals.

  • Be sure to discuss with the appropriate people on how “success” is defined, to avoid areas of potential misunderstanding.

Types of Goals

➔ Activity–based: These goals focus on tasks or activities.

➔ Outcome–based: These goals focus on results to be achieved.

How to Write a Goal

Goals should be clear and achievable. To increase clarity and focus, a common method to use is the following (SMART) criteria:

  • Specific → Specific clearly articulates the desired result you are expected to achieve.

  • Measurable → Includes a means (quantity or quality parameters) by which you will know you have succeeded in achieving this goal.

  • Achievable → There is a reasonable chance of completing the goal.

  • Relevant → The goal is in the scope of the employee’s job – within their area of influence.

  • Time-bound → There is a clear deadline or schedule identified.

The following format can be helpful in constructing a SMART goal:

Action Verb → Results in Measurable Terms → By When

Approaches to Consider when Writing Goals

Tie Goals to your Mission

➔ Using key phrases from your mission statement to define your major goals leads into a series of specific business objectives.

➔ Key phrases in the mission statement lead to major goals, which lead to specific business objectives.

Goal-Setting Aces

Most goals define positive outcomes that you want your business to achieve, but sometimes you also want to set goals to avoid pitfalls and to eliminate a few weaknesses. ➔ To help develop goals that cover all the bases, use the acronym ACES as you tick through the following key questions:

Achieve → What do you want to attain in the future?

Conserve → What do you want to hang on to?

Eliminate → What do you want to get rid of?

Steer clear → What do you want to avoid?'

Cover all the Bases

One more way to think about business goals is to consider each of the four categories into which most goals fall:

  • Day-to-Day work Goals → Directed at increasing your company’s everyday effectiveness.

  • Problem-Solving Goals → Problems that face your company or position.

  • Development Goals → Encourage the acquisition of new skills and expertise

  • Innovation Goals → Identify innovation approaches that could help make your company more effective in the future.

  • Profitability Goals → Set your sights on where you want your bottom line to be.

After Goals are Created

➔ Schedule periodic Check-ins.

➔ Ask for support if needed.

➔ Do an occasional comparison of your annual goals with your to-do list.

➔ Track your accomplishments.

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