The meaning of the term ‘Objective.’
An objective is the target that must be reached if the organization is to achieve its goals. Objectives are the translations of the mission into specific concrete terms against which results can be achieved. Corporate objectives specify what the organization is meant to accomplish. Each objective should answer 3 questions:
(i) What is to be accomplished?
(ii) How much is to be accomplished?
(iii) When is it to be accomplished?
Objectives can be short term, especially when they are expressed in terms of targets to be achieved by a specified date. There can also be long term objectives which could be described as accountabilities for achieving results that are built into the role definition as key result areas and that may be expressed in unquantifiable terms e.g. a long term objective may be to maintain high levels of customer service but a short term objective could be to reduce
to within a specified length of time the period between a customer enquiry and the response to it.
Characteristics of good objectives
Good objectives are:
• Consistent with the values of the organization and departmental and organizational objectives.
• Precise: clear and well-defined using positive words.
• Challenging: to stimulate high standards of performance and to encourage progress.
• Measurable: they can be related to quantified or qualitative performance measures.
• Achievable within the capabilities of the individual.
• Agreed by the manager and the individual concerned.
• Time-related: achievable within a defined timescale.
• Focused on teamwork with an emphasis on the need to work as an effective member of a team as well as making individual achievement.
Many organizations use the ‘SMART’ mnemonic to summarize the characteristics of good objectives.
S = Specific: clear, unambiguous, understandable and challenging.
M = Measurable: quantity, time, money, verifiable.
A = Achievable: challenging, but within the reach of competent and committed person.
R = Relevant: relevant to objectives of the organization so that goal of the Individual goods are aligned to corporate goals.
T = Time-framed: to be completed within an agreed timetable