Setting Your Aims and Objectives for 2016
We come again to that time of the year when we start to look towards the next calendar year. Reviewing the past year and setting new resolutions. Here, at objective designers we have a simple seven-stage process to refine your aims and objectives so that you are 300% more likely to achieve them. Whether in your work or personal life, we can help you become more effective and successful.
The first step is to define the purpose. “Purposeful Objectives” are a lot more powerful than objectives that are created in isolation, or handed-down from someone without too much context. We like to define this as a “Guiding Purpose Statement” or GPS. Just like the Global Positioning System, it helps you to orientate your objectives and give you some direction when things get a little tough or fuzzy.
The second step is to define a number of aims (or goals). These are broad statements of intent. You can have aims covering each area of your personal life or for the organisation that you work within. Aims (or goals) should start with the word “To” and are written in broad terms as statements of intent. It describes what you want to achieve at the end of a project or period.
The third step is then to define your objectives. If you define your objectives without going through steps 1 and 2, you are on dangerous ground. The objectives are not rooted in purpose. Nor are they clustered to achieve a particular aim. The objective should firstly be measurable and achievable. Secondarily they should be realistic, specific and timely. Some call this SMART – but the trouble with this acronym is that the letters are in the wrong order! At objective designers, we have a tool we call the objective design matrix which is a spreadsheet tool that can help define objectives in a lot more detail. Just by defining your objectives in this manner, you can increase the likelihood of achieving them by 200%!
The fourth step is iterative with the third step – and that is to identify constraints and barriers to achieving the objective. This will be most useful if you are trying to sell the project to someone else – because it will make you aware of the key objections that might be raised against you achieving your objectives. Typical areas include lack of resources, lack of money, lack of time, too many other things going on etc. etc.
The fifth step is to brainstorm out solutions (what we call designs or design ideas). These are the “means” to achieve our “ends” (or objectives). As Albert Einstein so famously said: “A perfection of means and confusion of ends seems to characterise our age.” And so it is, at this fifth stage, you will often find that the creativity behind generating enough design ideas might well force you to re-think some of your aims and objectives. It might even make you reconsider aspects of your GPS or Guiding Purpose Statement.
Once you have worked through these five steps, then the sixth step is to come up with a plan where you choose the optimal design ideas that will allow you to achieve your objectives. Our objective-design matrix comes in most useful here – since it gives you a reasonably objective way to decide between competing designs.
The seventh and final step is to put the plan into action and to review your progress against your key objectives. If you have come this far, then you will have done the work to make the project itself a lot less risky. The key to success at this stage is to create a bit of a competitive or collaborative environment when you review your objectives – either with a friend or work colleague.
You are 300% more likely to achieve your objectives if you follow these seven steps and keep the momentum by reviewing them on a regular basis.
Please put your details into our contact form if you would like to receive a copy of our objective-design matrix.