What’s the difference between a “goal” and an “objective”? A goal is an aspirational statement of a “place” you would like to be in the future. A goal is something that we want badly enough that we are willing to work toward reading it. A goal defines the purpose of the work I am going to do and it isn’t really measurable or tangible, unless I actually accomplish it completely. For example, I used to have a goal to visit all 50 of the United States. In October of 2012 I accomplished that goal by visiting North Dakota, the last holdout on my list. So I made a new goal. After considering multiple options, I made a goal to visit all of the Presidential Libraries. I did some research on where they are located and which Presidents have official libraries. I don’t have a specific timeframe around the goal I just know that I want to accomplish it sometime in the future.
An objective, on the other hand, is a specific action that I will take to accomplish my goal. For example, my 2014 objective is to visit 4 of the Presidential Libraries, the Nixon in February (which I did), the George W. and Roosevelt in July, and the Reagan in September. This objective is measurable (I either do or I don’t), tangible (I am getting a stamp in my Presidential Library Passport), and has a timeframe (2014). At the end of 2014 I will be part way to the accomplishment of my goal, but it will require that I create an additional objective (maybe several) that will result in realizing my goal.
Too often we get these two terms confused. To further illustrate, at Consult 4 Kids we have a goal to serve millions of youth and afterschool professionals by helping them to become positive role models and mentors for youth. This is a lofty goal. Our objective for 2014 is much narrower and much more focused on spreading the word about our high-quality staff development program to practitioners in the field. It is our goal that propels us forward, but our objective that puts “flesh on the bones” and gives us direction and drive.
To help us reach our 2014 objective, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (661) 322-4347 to find out how by helping you develop your staff we are also helping ourselves to realize our objective, and in time our goal.