What Are Goals?
A goal is a written definition of what you expect to accomplish within a specified period of time. There are four different types of goals:
- for continuous job responsibilities: maintenance goals
- for specific one-time projects, new services and operations: innovative goals
- for developing new skills: developmental goals
- for improvements: problem solving goals
Sometimes the last 3 overlap, e.g., you may learn HTML so you can make a web page to enhance communication.
The Anatomy of a Goal
What do I hope to accomplish?
What do I need to do?
What steps must I take and what is my timeline?
How good is “good enough”?
How will I know that I have achieved this goal?
When is a Goal not a Goal?
It is not a goal:
- When it is a job description.
- When it is an itemized list of activities. A goal is not what you do, but the result you want to achieve.
- When it is beyond your control. If you have not been given responsibility for the outcome, you should not write a goal for it.
- When it is not your responsibility.
- When it can be done quickly and with little effort. If it can be done next Tuesday morning, it is not a goal.
Some Helpful Definitions
MAR (Major Area of Responsibility) is a general area of performance. Using job description as a reference, MAR’s are general categories of responsibility for the coming year. Depending on where you work and what kind of work you do, there may be up to 5.
Goals are written definitions of what you expect to accomplish within a given time period. Some types of goals will not be applicable every year. Typically you will write one or two goals per MAR.
Performance Measures define the expected level of achievement and indicate how the goals will be measured.
Action Plans outline the steps to be taken to accomplish a goal, set a time for each step, and establish a completion date. Action plans accompany all goals that have a limited time frame and final result.
“These are working definitions of the types of goals. Maintenance goals are clear-cut. Many other goals contain elements that are innovative, developmental, and problem solving. Try to identify which of these three is the primary focus of the goal; invest your energy in writing the goal, not in labeling it.”
Maintenance Goals are major substance of your work and should cover primarily ongoing job responsibilities. Maintenance goals do not normally need an action plan.
Innovative Goals are new plans, one-time efforts that require special planning.
Developmental Goals apply to learning a new job or developing a new skill.
Problem-solving Goals offer the opportunity to improve quality, services or productivity.
“Performance of these goals (innovative, developmental, and problem solving) is measured by the degree of success in completing the steps on an organized action plan with the desired result.”
Tired of the same old verbs—maintain, organize, revise, handle? Amaze your friends and astound your enemies with the variety & nuance in your vocabulary!!!
- define, state, list, name, write, recall, recognize, label, underline, select, reproduce, measure, relate, repeat, describe, memorize, record
- accept, challenge, judge, praise, value, select, question, attempt, listen, favor, dispute, volunteer, like, receive, reject, decide
- interpret, employ, dramatize, predict, select, explain, find, choose, assess, show, perform, construct, find, use apply, operate, demonstrate, illustrate, practice, schedule, shop, sketch
- appraise, compare, revise, score, judge, support, identify, attached, evaluate, defend, avoid, rate, determine, attach, select, assess, recognize, criticize, choose, value, estimate, measure
- grasp, operate, bend, act, handle, react, turn, shorten, move, relax, rotate, stretch, position
- prepare, construct, create, set up, combine, argue, select, compose, restate, discuss, relate, manage, organize, summarize, generalize, plan, derive, conclude, design, propose, formulate, arrange, propose, formulate, collect, assemble
- report, review, tell, identify, justify, select, indicate, represent, name, explain, judge, contrast, translate, classify, discuss, compare, express, restate, describe, recognize, locate
- solve, categorize, calculate, experiment, test, diagram, criticize, analyze, identify, conclude, elect, separate, differentiate, compare, examine, justify, contrast, distinguish, resolve, appraise, question, break down, inspect, debate
Questions and Suggestions for Developing Goals
1. When you review your job description
- it is complete?
- is it accurate?
If not, you need to meet with your supervisor and bring it up to date.
2. When you review your unit goals
- which elements are relevant to your work?
3. When you write maintenance goals, ask yourself
- have I covered my entire job?
- have I covered only my job (and not someone else’s)?
- have I included supervisory, as well as technical and service responsibilities?
- have I described how each goal will be measured?
4. When you write problem-solving, innovative, or developmental goals
- do these goals support unit goals or the strategic plan?
- are they worth doing?
- are they challenging?
- are they reasonable?
- are they innovative (if applicable)?
- are they realistic?
- are the resources available?
- do I have control over these accomplishments?
- are action plans included that describe the major steps needed, the expected
- results, and the completion dates?
- have I included regular feedback and assessment in the action plan?
5. When you write the performance measure, think in terms of
- time allowed
- comments and feedback from patrons or staff
6. At the end of this year, when you review these goals and begin working on next year’s goals
- are there any unfinished goals?
- should the unfinished goals be carried over?
- do any goals require follow-up?
- should any goals be repeated (e.g., a maintenance goal)?