Goals are the desired result that a person or group of people foresee and commit to achieve

They are objectives that a person or group of people seek to achieve by their actions.

What is a goal

Goals are strategic objectives created by an organization's management to guide managers' and employees' efforts.

They are specific objectives established to guide the action and decisions of employees and managers alike.

For any goal to be considered sound, it must be (i) realistic (ii) specific (iii) time-bound (iv) result-oriented (v) Participatory.

Characteristics Of Sound Goals

1. Goals must be realistic: This means that goals must be attainable.

Goals that are overly optimistic but unrealistic weaken morale and are hence counterproductive.

Realistic goals give employees a sense of accomplishment, which helps to motivate them.

2. Goals should be specific and measurable: Rather than being generic, goals must be specific.

General goals are difficult to interpret and quantify.

"Improving employee safety," for example, is more difficult to define and quantify than "reducing workplace accidents by 20%."

Similarly, goals should be measurable. For example, employee morale can be measured in terms of employee tiredness and absenteeism which is quantifiable.

Measurable and specific goals allow the manager to measure progress over time.

For example, the goal of increasing market share by 5% can easily be evaluated after one or two years

3. Goals should be time-bound: For a goal to be measurable, it must have a specific time frame in which it must be accomplished.

Goals can be set on a daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly basis.

In many situations, there are ten-years plans, five-year plans, two-year plans, twelve months plans and even monthly months

The time frame in which given goals and objectives are to be achieved must be realistically established in light of other variables that may affect the achievement of the goal.

For example, increasing market share by 5% per year has little meaning if there are no time constraints on achieving the target.

4. Goals should be result-oriented: The focus should always be on the ends rather than the means to the end when setting goals.

Goals are the ends while the tasks that must be completed to reach the goals are the means to the ends.

If required, the means may be modified, but the ends must always be the same.

For example, If a company's goal is to expand market share by 6% it may raise or modify its marketing strategies as needed to meet the target.

However, the 6% rise in market share must constantly be kept in mind.


5. Goals should be set in a participatory manner: Wherever possible, goals should be set by those who will be responsible for achieving them.

Goals should not just be imposed upon the employees. Rather, they should be encouraged to participate in formulating them.

This ensures a high level of dedication and progress toward the goals.

If for some reason, top management set organizational goals, without adequate input from the lower level managers, then, the top management has the responsibility of communicating the goals to all levels of management.

This is necessary to ensure that each employee is aware of his or her own goals and how they relate to the overall goals of the organisation.

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