How do you think about goal-setting for yourself and your company?

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Of course, the starting question for everyone who may want to set goals is: Is the goal realistic?  The way I approach the answer to this question is at 2 levels.

The first level is to define decision points.  The points could be either schedule-based or activity-based. A mark has to be placed on the strategic plans as to where a decision will be made.  The second aspect of this first level is to define criteria for making that decision.  That is, what will define a “thumbs up” response, and what will define a “thumbs down” response?  Setting the criteria upon which the decision will be made is absolutely essential.  And (this is the hard part) not allowing any wiggle room with regard to that criteria.  So often, we will define a criterion and then waffle on that criterion.  This aspect requires a high level of discipline.  I will come back to this in a minute.

The second level requires accurately and thoroughly assessing the overt, covert, and unintended consequences that will guide both the decision points and criteria.  These aspects must be considered when evaluating the cost, benefits, and constraints of any decision.

For myself, mind maps or decision trees – or graphical means of that type – allow me to evaluate, and see the big picture as well as the detailed level and the interdependencies of all of these factors.  Using this type of graphical visualization allows the impact of “new” data or information to be quickly and efficiently understood and evaluated.  It is through the assessment of these interconnected aspects that when “waffling” or “wiggle room” is deemed necessary the impact can be seen and evaluated.

I love “pictures” and that is where the fun begins!

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