What do we mean by a 'goal'? It seems that these things are important, yet, so few people have them and some have been woefully misled by the term.
Everyone in the future in their lifestyles has heard that it's some distance important for us to have goals. Goals provide you a map to your future, whether in business, lifestyles, career or indeed sport. It seems transparent, but a football team gambling without a goal to aim for is just kicking a ball around. But, other than the more transparent bodily goals as the target of a particular game, what exactly is a goal? And how do you know when you may have achieved it? Is it even very important to have goals? A sporting goal is a useful analogy though, here we are more interested in the non-sporting kind.
The OED definition of a goal is "an aim or a desired result".
That's useful, but I prefer the Wikipedia version which defines a goal as "a specific, intended result of strategy."
They amount, ultimately to the identical thing: the intended achievement of a desired result. The dictionary definition, however, suggests that the goal exists with or without you.
Why is this important? I pay attention some question already. Let me share an example: On the horizon is a mountain, its peak visible on this glorious day. It is your goal. You are aiming to reach the peak of this mountain.
According to the dictionary the goal is the mountain peak. According to the encyclopaedia, the intended result is that you reach the mountain peak because of the journey (intended strategy) you make.
What's important, the existence of the goal or the journey to its attainment? Let me refer briefly to come back to soccer… Is the existence of the goal at the end of the pitch the thing that makes the game, or is it the strategy (and tactics) employed by players to score (reach) the goal?
The reason for being pedantic at this stage is to pressure that we refer (in English) to goal as both an entity and as the intended result of our actions. For the purposes of this article, I refer to goal as both – an entity that we are able to describe in a number of of the five senses we enjoy and as a specific, intended result. I agree with that it's some distance critical that a goal can be described in a number of of our senses – otherwise we will never know what it's some distance.
"A man without a goal, you are like a ship without a rudder." Thomas Carlyle
You know people, perhaps yourself, who may be lost without a "To Do" list. Daily, weekly, monthly tasks that result in specific intended results. Many people will consider this as their goals. Indeed, you can call them 'goals' if you wish. But I need to distinguish this concept further. I call these daily, weekly, monthly tasks "Outcomes" – they are important steps on the way to achieving goals but they are a small part of the normal intended result.
I'll borrow from my own To Do list for these days. It includes, strangely enough, writing this chapter. Now, is my goal to a chapter of mybook? Is it to write a book? I can answer yes to both yet it doesn't tell us the full story – my Goal is to develop my business and as a part of that, I need to reach a wider audience for the purpose of building my brand, building my repute and establishing myself as a trusted expert that you will now consider to layout and run a coaching programme or undertake coaching in your organisation. This chapter is just one part of that strategy, and this section, just one part of this chapter. The primary and secondary research I've undertaken to be in a position to write, I trust, knowledgeably about goal-setting has been an opportunity part… and so forth.
It is the goal this is helping us determine the appropriate outcomes necessary to reach the goal, the specific outcomes help determine the actions we undertake to achieve them. The whole series together, makes a strategy.
For ease and clarity, I consider a "Goal" to be longer-term and the intended result of a strategy. "Outcomes" are the result of the steps, milestones or activities that we achieve en-route to achieving the goal.
When I was a child, schoolteachers and relatives may often ask "And what do you need to be when you grow up?" I honestly didn't have a clue. My friends appeared to have got the hand of this and I realized that the expected answers appeared to be focusing around jobs or careers "I need to be a Fireman/Doctor/Train Driver", or perhaps something bolder like "Rock Star/Famous Actor" – or around money… "I need to be a millionaire". Apparently it didn't matter what you needed to be – it nevertheless required that you studied hard, preferably got all A Grades – oh and it was critically important that you "eat all your greens". Quite how Brussels Sprouts are a necessity for success has never been answered completely to my satisfaction. By the time I was a teenager, I was at the "I dunno" stage. And by the time I was choosing my A level subjects it seemed that my probabilities were becoming limited. Artist was ruled out on the recommendation of my delightful art teacher who claimed that my lovingly crafted painting "hurt her eyes" and Author was ruled out because I had little taste for over-analysing Jane Austin's Northanger Abbey.
To my knowledge, none of my friends answered "I wish to be a wage slave pushing paper from one side of a building to an opportunity, politically manoeuvring myself into a position of power and authority, attending unnecessary meetings every single day and commute for 4 hours" so what went wrong?
Well, perhaps it's some distance the goal-setting process. But, that's an opportunity lesson.