Determining what the objectives are going to be is the first step towards your goal. For the purposes of this section I am going to use Exploratory Frameworking in that we will assume that the Vision and Mission have not been created. Objectives are simply a description of what you are trying to accomplish. The tighter you frame the objectives the easier it is to develop the framework around them. Conversely a broad set of objectives will in turn require correspondingly large amounts of Strategic Planning and Dynamic Management.
An example of a tightly framed objective might be “Jack and Jill will sell $50 worth of lemonade in a week with their lemonade stand”
A broad objective might be “Jack and Jill will manage the most successful lemonade stand in town”
While the tightly framed objective is simple, to “sell $50 worth of lemonade”, the broad objectives will most likely be much more complex. What are the different measures of success for being the most successful lemonade stand in town? Best tasting lemonade according to surveys, most revenues, most customers, or all of them.
A set of objectives may have internal and external components. By internal components I am talking about the value brought to internal stakeholders. In the lemonade stand example, Jack and Jill would be internal stakeholders. The Internal objective would be to make a profit, which is valuable to Jack and Jill.
An external component represents the value that would be provided to external stakeholders. Using the same example of the lemonade stand, an external stakeholder would be the customers. The objectives in regards to them might be to provide the freshest or tastiest lemonade on the street. It could also be to provide the lowest priced lemonade or even a wide variety of exotic lemonade mixes that customers might not find anywhere else.
There are also those objectives in which the internal and external stakeholders are one and the same. For example a project to improve the efficiency of a manufacturing line would have the company as both the internal and external stakeholder. The company is carrying out the project and the company is benefitting from the project. The manufacturing line becoming more efficient is the value provided which applies equally to internal and external stakeholders.
It is important to recognize if the set of objectives have different sets of internal and external stakeholders. If Jack and Jill’s Objective was to simply provide fresh lemonade to their neighbors and friends, then it may result in a significantly different framework than selling fresh lemonade for a profit. It is pretty easy to give away free lemonade.
To develop a set of objectives you simply translate a set of “Wants” or “Desires” into a set of “Will” statements. Alternatively if you are utilizing Guided Frameworking, you will develop Objectives based on the Vision and Mission in place.
When developing Objectives keep in mind that putting clear metrics in place within the objective will allow you to more effectively look at courses of action. Metrics keep Objectives tight, making it easier to track progress and success.
What I Want: I want to improve student attendance rates.
Broad Objective: My students will attend class more.
Tight Objective: My students will improve their attendance rates by at least 5% next year.
Let’s look at some example desires and translate them into potential Objectives “OBJ”. There may be multiple related Objectives set out for each of the below. As the organization becomes more complex with multiple independent sets of related Objectives, it may be time to consider organizing them into Missions. From there you can unite the underlying theme behind those Missions into a Vision.
Example 1: Bill wants to open and manage a wine bar.
OBJ: Bill will start and operate a wine bar in Toledo, Ohio. He will specialize in providing the largest selection of California varieties, of at least 300 different brands and vintages, which are underrepresented in the area. He will make at least $80,000 a year in profit from his wine bar.
Example 2: Kevin wants to build a shed in the backyard.
OBJ: Kevin will build a decorative two story shed in the backyard of his house. It will have at least 100 square feet of space upstairs for storage which will reduce the clutter in the house.
Example 3: Abigail wants to organize a relief fundraiser for a local family affected by tragedy.
OBJ: Abigail will organize a fundraising dinner for the Doe family. The dinner will be prepared by a local restaurateur and there will be fun and games for everyone. The fundraiser will raise at least $10,000 for the Doe family.
Example 4: The CEO wants Susan to manage a project that will increase productivity in the company.
OBJ: Susan will manage a project to improve productivity by at least 5% in the company. The project will focus on introducing soft improvements which require minimal resources to implement.
Example 5: Charlie wants to improve student test scores in the class he teaches at the local college.
OBJ: The average student test scores will improve by a total of 10%, or from 76% to 86%, over the next three years.
Example 6: Bill wants his business to be the lowest cost provider of computer services in Dayton.
OBJ: ACME will be the lowest cost provider of computer services in Dayton.
Example 7: Pete wants the football team he coaches to win enough games to get into the playoffs.
OBJ: The Jaguars will win at least 8 games this year.
Example 8: Scott is promoted to manager of his team and is expected to maintain current performance.
OBJ: Scott will ensure that the team continues to produce 50 widgets per week and keep the quality scores above 95%.
Now in the coming sections you will find that these Objectives may have to change based on the Resources and Capabilities available. Further examination of the Environment may also necessitate change to the Objectives. Regardless the first thing you should do is to take that stab in the dark so that you can start to build the framework around it. Once the first version of the Objectives is figured out, you can start to examine the various Courses of Action that can be taken to fulfill those Objectives.