Chartered Accountants and Professional Business Advisers

Goals and objectives that work

Task one - Attributes of business objectives that work

Please discuss with your table colleagues aspects of an objective that make it work.


  • Identify what you want to achieve
  • Write down what you want to achieve
  • Write it in the positive
  • Make it specific
  • WHY. WHY. WHY. What you need to achieve


  • How will you know if you are there, or closer? What's success?
  • How could someone else measure?
  • Will someone else understand it?
  • If objective and what you are going to do to achieve it are muddled up you probably won't be able to measure it.

Attainable / Achievable

  • Realistic - not impossible!
  • Plan the activity - how long will each step take?


Aligned or Results orientated (not realistic - see attainable)

  • Organisation goals?
  • Department
  • Horizontally (avoid duplication)


  • Deadline time frame.
  • Actual, recurring, linked or ongoing (rarer).

It was noted that in some instances objectives imposed by management can restrict an organisations ability to evolve and survive.

Task two - Improved objectives (revised objectives 'RO' and measures 'M')

When the words in bold are included in an objectives they are rarely effective.

a. Liaise with sales force

Why? So know what's selling best, so can start making it, be able to meet orders within 2 days

RO: Make sure sales orders are met within two days of receipt

M: The time between receiving order and completing it.

b. Go on a presentation skills course

RO: Be able to plan a presentation by 31 October

M: You have planned presentations, less than one slide per minute in presentation, less than 50 words on each slide

c. Develop a relationship with ...

Why? So that our departments can start to work together effectively, so that we, the IT group, design software to meet their needs

RO: Make sure new software is designed to meet the needs of the sales department and installed by Sept 15th

M: The date on which the installation is completed.

d. Contribute more to team meetings

Why? Told to, so people know about my project, so they know how it links to their work, they are more effective and avoid duplication

RO: Ensure other team members have the information they need about project XX in order to work more effectively

M: Specific information given to other team members

e. Coach AJ

Why? To improve skills, help her achieve something, to make her more effective - if so how?

RO: Ensure AJ finishes project X by 5 June within budget and complying with quality standards.

M: When project is completed, spend vs. budget, quality measure vs. quality standard

f. Represent the manufacturing department on the new building committee

Why? Asked to send someone, ensure they know our needs, so we get facilities required.

RO: Ensure the facilities needed by our department are provided in the new building

M: Specific facilities identified in the plan are present in the new building when it is finished.

g. Read five journals each month

Why? Keep up to date, so I use most effective research techniques, so I can use latest.

RO: Identify technique updates in the field of X each month

M: Each update to a technique, or a new technique.