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Lets start with Goals and Goal setting. Goal setting involves establishing specific, measurable and time-targeted objectives. For Projects, goal setting sets up the expectation of all team members and gives clarity and direction.

Project Managers cannot be constantly able to drive motivation and keep track of team members work on a continuous basis. Goals are therefore an important tool for managers since goals have the ability to function as a self-regulatory mechanism that acquires an employee a certain amount of guidance. Shalley (1995) and Locke and Latham (2002) have distilled four mechanisms through which goal setting is able to affect individual performance:

  1. Goals focus attention towards goal-relevant activities and away from goal-irrelevant activities.
  2. Goals serve as an energizer; higher goals will induce greater effort while low goals induce lesser effort.
  3. Goals affect persistence; constraints with regard to resources will affect work pace.
  4. Goals activate cognitive knowledge and strategies which allows employees to cope with the situation at hand.

What are objectives and goals?
Objectives are goal enablers and there are many types. Personal and professional, individual and team. Goals tell you where to aim your energies and give you long-term vision and short-term motivation to deal with critical tasks. Objectives produce Outcomes that fulfill the Goals.

Objectives are the how — shorter term and more specific: “Each department in the unit will reduce administrative costs by 10% the next quarter…we will each make 12 cold calls by the end of this week.”

Within the organization, objectives come from two sources:

  1. From higher in the chain of command or other parts of the organization. You may also receive objectives from support staff such as finance, legal, procurement, etc. In these cases, your role is primarily to seek clarity and to secure understanding. In most cases, involving employees is unnecessary.
  2. From within the work group, yourself, or customers. It’s good to have the collaboration of others for these objectives. Employees, customers, other managers or departments improve your objectives by bringing more and often unique information forward
- offering different perspectives
- creating buy-in on the objectives that are created.

In these cases, the project manager serves two key functions. To ensure that the objectives:

  • Fit within the frame work of the larger organization and your corporation. That is, the objectives of the sub-unit nest or fit within the objectives of the larger unit, and are not in conflict in any way.
  • Make sense. Are they legitimate? Are they reasonable but also challenging? Do they serve our customers’ interests?

Clear objectives provide structure to an organization and you and your team will need to have a clear understanding of your own objectives before you begin to collaborate with others. Review your objectives frequently and adjust them if necessary. Objectives that are important to you will give you more enjoyment in your business and personal life.

Software applications like Objectiveli, are designed to create Goals and Objectives. Objectiveli creates a structure around Goals and Objectives, and the different Stakeholders. Objectiveli creates a collaboration platform for team members, cross functional teams and external stakeholders, gives them visibility to all the communications, comments, modifications and the outcome produced.

Objectiveli allows for assigning Objectives, and tracking them on agreed frequency. Objectives can be cascaded down the organization and visibility to outcomes upstream.

6 comments
kevinhisel
kevinhisel

What is the difference between a task and an objective? Is an objective really just a sub-goal?

FilingRabbit
FilingRabbit

This is right on the money, no idea why executives and managers dont create trackable Objectives for their projects, beyond just stating the goals, would keep all team members accountable.

Objectiveli
Objectiveli moderator

Its really sad that people don't state the Goals and Objectives of the Project. And then actually track the fulfillment of the Goals and track the Objectives, instead of just Tracking the progress of the tasks of the Project. Goals and Objectives produce Outcome, Projects generate tasks, and in some cases the tasks maybe off purpose to fulfilling the Goals and Objectives.

shailen
shailen

Agreed. The process of defining goals and objectives can actually be a means to clarifying the project itself.

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