When goal setting, it is imperative that you create a plan to complete your goals. Depending on the nature of the goal, the plan can be short, simple, and to the point. It can also be very long, complex, and require many people and steps to complete. What’s most important is that you have the appropriate plan for your goal.
Goal Setting With An Effective Plan
Although each goal is different and requires different levels of complexity, there are five goal setting keys to create an effective plan regardless of the size of your goal.
1. Create a Clear Picture of the Desired Outcome
The first key when goal setting is to create a clear picture of the desired outcome. Another way of putting it is to “Begin with the end in mind” as Stephen R. Covey would say. When you create a clear picture of the desired outcome, you define what the outcome should be and what success should look in these three terms:
- Complete failure – “I’ll close up shop and go home.” If this happens, you will end the goal and completely re-think what you are doing.
- Expected/desired outcome – this is the result you hope to see
- Over the moon success – more successful than your wildest dreams
Identify key factors to obtain the desired outcome. For complex goals, there will be many factors that determine success or failure. For small and simple goals, on the other hand, there may only be a few factors that determine success or failure.
2. Create Specific Milestones/Benchmarks
The second key is to create specific milestones or benchmarks. Identify what you expect to accomplish and by when. This goes hand in hand with creating deadlines for your goals. When you work on your goals, there will usually be a beginning, middle, and end. The specific milestones and benchmarks will help you determine the beginning, middle, and end. Throughout this process, set check points to follow up and review your progress.
3. Determine Resource Requirements
For your plan to be successful, the third key is to determine resources requirements. Here are some categories the resources will fall into: time, money, people, equipment, and technology.
Let’s take a closer look at questions to ask regarding each resource category:
- Time: How much time will be required throughout the plan? Will it be consistent throughout or will there be peak times and times of limited to no involvement? Will it be all your time or will it involve other’s time?
- Money: How much money will be required for the plan to be successful? Where will the money come from; donors, your day job, savings, sales, or some other source?
- People: Can you do this goal by yourself? Do you need help from others? Will the people that help be required to have specialized skills or abilities? Do you need a large number of people for a single task or a series of tasks?
- Equipment: What equipment do you need to complete your goal? When to you need it? How much will it be used?
- Technology: What technology do you need? Is it currently available? If so, what does it take to get your hands on it? Is it expensive?
4. Identify Potential Resource sources
Once you have identified your required resources, the fourth key is to identify potential resource sources. This sounds similar to point three of determining resource requirements, but it is different because you need to identify where you will get the resources. Will the resources come from your own efforts and equipment? Or, will they come from others? If they come from others, will you be able to hire local experts or will you outsource the work to others that can be based anywhere?
When you understand potential resource sources, you have a better understanding of the size and complexity of the plan and you know who you will depend on throughout the project.
5. Identify Potential Roadblocks
Most goals depend on something or someone else, so the fifth key is to identify potential roadblocks. Potential roadblocks can be related to any of the points listed above. Some example roadblocks are:
- People falling through
- Not enough people
- Inadequate or untimely funding
- Equipment malfunctions
- Technology that isn’t available
- The list goes on and on…
Because there are so many potential roadblocks, it is important to identify the most likely roadblocks. For the most likely roadblocks, identify potential contingency plans that can be utilized if specific roadblocks are encountered.
In conclusion, when goal setting every plan is not the same because every goal is different. What’s important is that you keep the five goal setting keys in mind so create the most effective plan. As a recap, the five goal setting keys are:
- Create a Clear Picture of the Desired Outcome
- Create Specific Milestones/Benchmarks
- Determine Resource Requirements
- Identify Potential Resource sources
- Identify Potential Roadblocks
I hope these goal setting keys will help you create a more effective plan so that you can reach your goals. Feel free to share your thoughts on how they are working for you in the comments section below.
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