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Objective Setting and Concept Development


Setting effective objectives to guide your team and organisation is very important for a leader to get right. Badly formulated objectives will steer an organisation in the wrong direction.

Here is the process we follow when facilitating sessions with our clients and their stakeholders.

  1. Separate your Purpose from your Objective
    • Purpose is your aspiration
    • Objective is your battleplan
  2. Be SMART – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely.
  3. Don’t try to use that order M-A/R-S-T is often the best way to write objectives.
  4. Measurable is the most important consideration.
    • You will know that you’ve achieved your objective, because here is the evidence.
    • Make sure you state how you will record your success.
  5. Achievable is linked to measurable. How can I decide if it’s achievable?
    • You know it is measurable.
    • Others have done it successfully (before you, or somewhere else.)
    • It’s theoretically possible (i.e. clearly not ‘not achievable’.)
    • You have the necessary resources, or at least a realistic chance of getting them.
    • You’ve assessed the limitations.
  6. If it’s achievable, it may not be realistic. If it isn’t realistic, it’s not achievable. You need to know:
    • Who’s going to do it?
    • Do they have (or can they get) the skills to do a good job?
    • Where’s the money coming from?
    • Who carries the can?
    • Being realistic is about human resources, time, money and opportunity

    Realistic is about human resources, time, money, opportunity.

  7. The main reason it’s achievable, but not realistic is that it’s not a high priority.
    • Often something else needs to be done first, before you’ll succeed.
    • If so, set up two (or more) objectives in priority order.
  8. The devil is in the specific detail. You will know your objective is specific enough if:
    • Everyone who’s involved knows that it includes them specifically.
    • Everyone involved can understand it.
    • Your objective is free from jargon.
    • You’ve defined all your terms.
    • You’ve used only appropriate language.
  9. Timely means setting deadlines.
    • You must include one, otherwise your objective isn’t measurable.
    • But your deadlines must be realistic, or the task isn’t achievable.
  10. It is worth this effort! You’ll know you’ve done your job well, and so will others.

Now that you have measureable, tweetable objectives, you can begin the concept development phase that will achieve them. This requires further communication and discussion with your stakeholders.

Using your newly formed objectives, hold a creative thinking workshop that uses your objectives as a base to create concepts that will achieve them. Some examples of these sessions and techniques used in them are

  1. We’re Going To Jail
    • Here are some concepts that will achieve our objectives, but we might go to jail
  2. Riverjumping
    • One river is your project and the other is a project from a completely opposite industry
    • Find similarity in opposites and develop concepts based on that
  3. Mind The Gap
    1. List your objectives on one side of a whiteboard (A)
    2. List your measurement of success on the other
    3. In the middle right concepts on how to achieve them

Showing you the process we follow is the easy part. The hard part is leading your team, group or stakeholders in a facilitated discussion so that THEY come up with the objectives and concepts, not you. This ensures their buy in.

This is where Capstone Collective can help. With over 100 different sessions with our clients based on this process, we can help you develop measurable, tweetable objectives that develop create concepts and achieve real results.

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