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The new school year begins! Do you know the difference between goals and objectives?

5 September 2017

Yes, that wonderful period of empty morning motorways and homework-less evenings has finally come to an end, the schools are back. Through all the uniform buying and pencil case stocking, parents all over the country may have had a chance to sit down with their children and think about some simple goals and objectives for the coming year. Over the next few weeks, teachers will be doing the same, punctuating the term with milestones and targets.

We may not have 6 week breaks to return from in the professional environment (although we’re all for it!), but there are still plenty of occasions to think about setting goals and objectives. New projects, new employees or even new financial years are great opportunities to think about what you want to achieve and set some that reflect that purpose.

Although they are often banded together, goals and objectives are subtly different and must be drawn up side-by-side to complement each other. Without a clear understanding of the differences, setting them may even be detrimental to the progress that you’re looking to make.

Goals are the fun bit. What you’re looking to define is an overall direction to head in, with a non-specific ‘goal’ to achieve. That could be something like ‘work better as a team’ or ‘communicate more effectively’. They’re not particularly specific but they still qualify as a goal, or more importantly as a positive direction in which to point yourselves and move forward. Instead of simply getting to that goal, they encapsulate everything that you accomplish on that journey and can be drawn up with emotional language.

Meanwhile, objectives are the focus-narrowing detail, the sub-goals that will drive you towards your larger goal. They tend to be specific milestones or tasks that are designed with objective and unemotional language.

The importance of producing them together is clear; goals without objectives can become abstract pipe dreams that have no hope being reached because they lack a clear action plan to get there. Without goals, objectives can be an arbitrary list of tasks to complete, without an overall purpose or direction.

A greater understanding of concepts like this one is hugely important to being an effective leader of people and manager of teams. Eliesha Training has helped hundreds of public and private sector organisations develop their staff with a diverse array of bespoke management and leadership training solutions, all designed by leading subject matter experts.

In thorough training, we go into more detail about ‘SMART’ objectives, converting goals into effective action plans with ‘strategy formation’ and much more. We pride ourselves in delivering a blended style of training, with snappy, point-of-need blasts of learning like our very own pearls of wisdom® and online e-micro toolkits complementing a more traditional face2face approach.

Explore our website for more details of our bespoke training solutions, read through some of our succesful case studies - or contact anthony.fray@eliesha.com to discuss how we can help.

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