by Daniel Goulet, PinnacleART Senior Project Lead, and Logan Kells, PinnacleART Project Lead

Most people have a general idea of the concept of vision and goals. However, the tactile methods for defining them is a little harder to pinpoint. This post is designed to present an example framework for how to develop a vision and goals for yourself and your team.

Vision

Developing a vision is a powerful enterprise. It serves as a guiding force for an organization, team, or individual. A vision is a “why” statement. It lets outsiders know the meaning behind an action, decision, or effort and can help them connect on a deeper emotional level with the cause. It helps insiders coordinate and validate their goals, risks, and opportunities.

A group executes excellently when the visions of all the subgroups and individuals have some overlap with the overarching group vision. A vision, at its core, is personal. The best visions are not the ones that are the most eloquently wordsmithed, but rather the ones that are the truest to an organization, group, or individual.

Because a vision is so personal, it is very difficult to articulate one’s vision into words. We have found a simple framework from Simon Sinek’s Find Your Why to be very useful:

“To_____________________, so that ______________________.”

(contribution)                                                     (impact)

The contribution is the effort that the group or individual is going undertake or try to advance. The impact is the result of the contribution.

Since a vision statement is a personal endeavor, there is no right or wrong way to craft it. Dream big and be exciting with a vision and make it true to your “why.”

Goals: Objectives and Key Results

A vision provides us our “why,” but how we define our “what” and “how” is accomplished in goal setting. A goal is a specific component of a vision. It is something that can be achieved that will contribute to striving towards a vision. A goal is broken down into two main components:

  1. Objectives
  2. Key Results

Objectives

Objectives are the “what” of a goal. The objective expresses the intent of a goal and should be tangible and unambiguous. If a clearly set objective is achieved it should be obvious to an outside rational observer. Be aggressive but realistic setting your objectives. Strive to accomplish something that is just outside of your reach.

Key Results

Key Results are the “how” of a goal. Key Results articulate quantifiable milestones that when achieved contribute to the progress of an objective. Key results must describe a measurable outcome. The Key Results should have easily available evidence of completion. Key Results are not a checklist of actions. For example, a key result should not include words like: learn, analyze, help, consult, or participate.

A goal should be able to be put into the framework of:

“I will accomplish Objective X as measured by the Key Results Y.

Guidelines and Principals

  • If it takes you only five minutes to determine your vision and goals, they probably are not fully formed. Take some time to think deeply and set time aside for maintenance. Creating a vision and goals is hard and takes patience.
  • If your vision, objectives, and key results don’t fit on one or a few lines, they may be too long or too detailed.
  • Differentiate between aspirational and committed goals. A committed goal is something that you will prioritize and dedicate all your available resources to accomplish. On the other hand, an aspirational goal expresses how we want our situation to look but may not have a clear road map of how to get there. An aspirational goal by design exceeds the resources available to the group over the given time period.
  • Avoid “business as usual” goals. Set goals that are just outside of you or your group’s reach. If you can achieve the goal without changing anything, it could probably be adjusted to be more aggressive.
  • Make sure that your key results comprehensively define your objective. After creating your key results, ask yourself, “Does success in all of these key results ensure that I will achieve my objective?” If you can achieve success in all of your defined key results, but still not achieve your objective then you have failed to identify all of your key results.
  • Make the metrics of your key results unambiguous. Remember, success of all your key objectives should tell an impartial outsider whether you have achieved your objective.

Further Resources

Do you have a solid vision and goals?