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Goal Setting

Creating Goal Clarity

July 14, 2012 by Dr. Jon Warner in Goal Setting

In general terms, the process of setting goals helps you choose where you want to go. By knowing precisely what you want to achieve directionally, you know where you have to concentrate your efforts and hopefully you will also quickly spot the distractions that would otherwise lure you from your course.

To be able to even begin the journey of working towards a goal, we first need to ensure that we have complete clarity. Goal clarity can be simply described as your ability to set a clear and specific objective that all affected parties understand and can work towards achieving. The important part of this definition is the word “specific.” A very broad or general goal won’t help drive you or anyone else to succeed. If your goal is simply to “shape up,” that is not a well-defined goal. It may be broadly accurate but is not helpful to describe what actually has to be done and to give others a clear guide as to what is expected.

All goals need to be clear, concise and action-oriented and be expressed in such a way that there can be little doubt about the specific outcome that is being sought. Unfortunately, we are less likely to consistently set such specific goals. People generally tend to stick to the safe and secure status quo and often fail to either get out of their comfort zone or convert loose language into meaningful action-centered words. In others words, people can be lazy and express goals in vague and ambiguous ways and think that they have told people what they need. These are often called “soft” goals.

Soft goals stands for:  S – Some, O – Other, F – Future, T – Time. In other words, on occasions our goals are for show only or to achieve at a time in the future. In actual fact, ‘soft’ goals usually mean that the person setting this goal may not be committed to getting a real result or doesn’t really want to achieve any change or be held accountable for moving forward to a new position or situation. It is therefore critical for any person who is going to be responsible for making a change to clarify exactly what is expected and ensure that there is a clear mutual understanding about what is to be done, by who and by when.

The featured video clip is a short excerpt from the ReadyToManage, Rapid Skill Builder eLearning program, Goals & Objective Setting: An RSB eLearning Course.

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About Dr. Jon Warner

Dr. Jon Warner is a prolific author, management consultant and executive coach with over 25 years experience. He has an MBA and a PhD in Organizational Psychology. Jon can be reached at

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About the Editor and Primary Author

Jon Warner

Jon Warner is an executive coach and management consultant and in the past has been a CEO in three very different companies. Read more

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