What is the significant difference between a goal and an objective? Many people use the term interchangeably, but they aren’t the same thing, and they should be clarified in your daily business and personal lives.
In this article, we’re going to do a deep dive on the difference between goals and objectives, explain how you should use both in your planning processes, as well as detail the best software to help track both in ways where you can measure progress across all of your devices.
Definition of a Goal
Webster’s dictionary defines a goal as the end toward which effort is directed.
A goal is a high-level item that everyone should be striving for in a company. If the company wants to add 1,000 new customers in 2021, then that is considered a goal. If you’re going to lose 15 pounds in the next six months, that is viewed as a goal. A goal is an idea of what you or your company want to attain in the future that a person or a group of people envision, plan and commit to achieving. Having a goal for yourself or your company is the guiding principle that will keep everything in your company moving forward in that time period.
Many companies set goals as they approach a new fiscal year. Without goals, it’s easy to wander along aimlessly without knowing if what you’re doing day to day is making an impact. Goals and objectives are two sides of the same coin, though. They work hand in hand. You cannot have one without the other, so it’s important to understand how they work together.
Definition of an Objective
The definition of an objective according to Webster’s, is something toward which effort is directed: an aim, goal, or end of the action. As we mentioned above, goals and objectives cannot be separated as they go hand in hand when looking at how to progress towards your personal and business lives with respect to where you want to be in the future. Objectives are the flashlight to keep you on the right path to your goals.
In our overview of goals, we saw someone set a goal to lose 15 pounds in the next six months. An objective tied to that goal might be to work out three days a week while cutting sugar from their diet in order to reach that intended goal. So the goal was to lose weight, while the objective was to create a fitness routine. Suppose the goal is to gain 1,000 customers in the next fiscal year. In that case, the objective might be to come up with a new marketing campaign, hire a new sales director to oversee daily strategy, and have your UX team optimize the website to funnel prospective customers to the sign-up forms.
The goal is where you want to be, and the objectives are the steps you’re planning to take to put yourself and your company on the right track to be successful.
How to Set Smart Objectives
When you’re developing your objectives to reach your goals, you should keep in mind the SMART method. If objectives are the flashlight to guide you to your goals, the SMART planning process is the battery to power it. Let’s dive into what SMART stands for in your objective planning.
The S in SMART stands for specific. Ideally, your objectives should be clear enough that they can be easily explained and understood by anyone else. When it comes to objectives, use specific numbers, deadlines, or stats when developing them so you can easily have a target in mind.
Specificity means less ambiguity and more direction when it comes to what you want.
Measurable is an important part of the objective setting because when something is not measured, it’s not considered done. If there’s no way to measure something, there’s no way to know if what you’re doing is propelling your objectives towards your goals.
Having numbers so you can build, chart and track progress is an easy way to measure progress and should be tracked weekly.
An attainable objective should be something that your team or yourself has a realistic chance of reaching given your resources and timeframe. Using achievable objectives balances realistic expectations and where you actually want to dedicate your time and allocatable resources. If you don’t set attainable goals, you and your team will become frustrated by working towards objectives you never had a chance of achieving.
Relevant might seem trivial, but plenty of companies waste time and resources on things that don’t make a meaningful difference to the company. Especially as an organization grows, people can get caught up in how it’s always been done vs what’s essential for its success. It’s a good idea always to be willing to take a step back and look at your processes and tasks to make sure they’re relevant to the success of your organization.
Time-bound objectives help give processes a clear timeline. Without time-bound objectives, your team might be on the right path but moving way too slowly to make an impact in the long run. If your goal is to become a profitable company, one of the objectives might be to lower your cost of goods sold. A better way to set that objective is to reduce the cost of goods sold in the next two quarters. Having the time-bound aspect of the aim motivates everyone on the team to move at a pace to make a meaningful difference.
How Spike can Help you Reach Your Objectives
Spike’s digital workspace is the perfect tool to help you and your team reach your objectives. Email is one of the primary ways that teams communicate, so having an efficient way to chat back and forth about company objectives is one of the most important things to implement as part of your goals and objectives. Spike streamlines internal communication by making email seem as easy as a messenger application. Spike email also includes Groups, a collaborative workspace for teams and clients for personal and business needs. With Groups, your team transforms complicated email chains into easy-to-follow conversations that can be separated by topic. All files, messages, and links will be housed in an easy-to-use system.
Spike Notes are the perfect place to track all of your SMART objectives as they can be worked on simultaneously with everyone in your organization as well as external contractors using only a web browser. You can add a to-do list, import files, make comments, and more. As your company grows, having Spike as the backbone of your business will help you meet your objectives.
The first step in building a company focused on reaching objectives is building a system, so check out Spike’s business plans to get started.
For a company to be successful, it needs to have goals. To reach those goals, you need to build objectives to create an environment to be successful. To track your progress and efficiently meet your objectives, you need to implement the proper technology solutions. The proper technology solutions won’t reach your objectives for you, but it’s nearly impossible without them. A company must implement a SMART objective system using the best available digital workspace for your organization to communicate, share documents, track progress, and more.
If your organization is ready to meet your goals, develop SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound) objectives, and implement them using a digital workspace platform so everyone can track progress, ask questions, find necessary resources, and more.
Are you struggling to reach your goals and objective? Tweet us at @SpikenowHQ to let us know what you and your team are working with, so we can help you make Spike the best digital workspace for reaching everything your team is set to achieve.