Goals, Objectives and Transparency

Organizations, projects and teams have goals and objectives, and often these terms are used interchangeably. When I’m trying to be good on nomenclature, I use the following standard definitions:

Goal is generally described as an effort directed towards an end. In project management, for example, the term goal is to three different target values of performance, time and resources. To be more specific, the project goal specifies the desired outcome (performance), the specific end date (time) and the assigned amount of resources (resources). A goal answers to “What” is the main aim of the project. 

An Objective defines the tangible and measurable results of the team to support the agreed goal and meet the planned end time and other resource restrictions. It answers to “How” something is to be done.

I think many of us are familiar with the concept of SMART goals. Lately I’ve been using FAST objectives.

From “With Goals, FAST Beats SMART” by Donald Sull and Charles Sull

Transparency provides the connective tissue, and must be a primary aspect of any quality culture. Transparency is creating a free flow within an organization and between the organization and its many stakeholders. This flow of information is the central nervous system of an organization and it’s effectiveness depends on it. Transparency influences the capacity to solve problems, innovate, meet challenges and as shown above, meet goals.

This information flow is simply that critical information gets to the right person at the right time and for the right reason. By making our goals transparent we can start that process and make a difference in our organizations.

Conducting an ACORN test on my mission statement

Here is my first draft at a mission statement developed after reviewing my SWOT and doing a quick brainstorming exercise asking myself some what, why and how questions:

The mission of my blog is to encourage a thoughtful life as a quality professional. I want to ask and explore questions related to building a quality culture and utilizing system thinking to spark a dialogue with my peers. I am to become a leader in quality both internal to my own company and externally to the wider profession.

An acorn

The ACORN test is a check on a mission or project charter goal to determine if it well defined. I am drawing from The Quality Toolbox, but this is a tool you can find all over the internet.

QuestionThoughts
AAccomplishment. Does the goal describe results rather than behaviors? The goal here is to write. Secondary to that I want to spark a dialogue and also be invited to conferences and other speaking opportunities.

The mission statement as is could use some tightening here.
CControl. Does the team’s actions determine whether not the goal is accomplished? If the way the mission is articulated primarily depends on others outside the team, consider rewriting it.
I am a team of one. Everything within my mission statement is in my own power. I can write, and publish and share. Publicizing my posts is within my control.
OOnly Objective. If this and only this was accomplished would it be enough?

O is sometimes also phrased as “Overall Objective” — Make sure that the mission truly captures the organization’s reason for being. Avoid writing a mission that is simply a subgoal of that overall purpose.
My only goal is thinking aloud. I am not trying to sell anything, nor am I concerned about finding a job (I work in pharmaceutical quality in Boston, getting a new job involves going to Kendall square and waving a resume around)
RReconciliation. Will accomplishing this goal prevent another group within the organization from accomplishing its goal? Does anyone else have this goal?
Various units should be working in harmony to achieve the overall organization mission.
As an individual, I do not need to worry about other groups. However it is important for my mission statement for this blog not to interfere or conflict with any of my other goals.

This mission statement is aligned to my personal and professional goals. In fact it helps further several of them.
NNumbers. Can this goal be measured?Blogging has several measurements built in – views, visitors, likes, shares and comments.

I can also measure other things like invitations to speaking opportunities, questions directed to me, and others.

An overall mission statement must pass all give parts of the ACORN test in order to be well defined. In my case I pass but need some tightening in accomplishment.