O is for Objectives

Helen profile image
December 17, 2020
Advent Alphabet Series

Setting Objectives is an important Top Management activity and one that sometimes isn't given the attention it deserves! Good objectives are based on an understanding of the context of the organisation (i.e. what is going on outside and inside the business) as well as on the risks needing to be controlled and the opportunities to exploit. Good objectives are communicated and understood across the business and help to keep everything moving forward. Bad objectives aren't any of these things, they are often disconnected from what the business wants to achieve and left abandoned on a dusty spreadsheet once the auditor has looked at them!

A good way to start thinking about Objectives is to use some structured brain storming ideas - preferably a few months before the year end to decide on topics (setting objectives for a financial year which started last month is never a good look). Once the broad topic areas have been selected, using the SMARTER framework is a good way to structure the Objective itself:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Realistic
  • Timebound
  • Ethics (or Exciting depending on which version you use)
  • Reward

So, 'buying Christmas presents' is not a well thought out objective but 'Purchasing all Christmas presents for 8 close family members by Friday 18th Dec and wrapping them in recycled paper by Tuesday 22nd Dec. Reward - mulled wine and mince pie in front of the fire and the Christmas tree' is. If only I'd set it in October....

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