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Getting learning & Development on the national agenda Difference between Vision and Goals The Difference between Goals & Objectives By Mike Morrison - Last updated: Thursday, September 29, 2011 - Save & Share - 9 Comments Contents 1. 2. 3. 4. The Difference between Goals & Objectives Goals & Objectives in a modern business & educational sense What do Goals and Objectives look like if they are different? So what is the real difference between goals and objectives?

The Difference between Goals & Objectives


Often in business and education we talk about goals and objectives, indeed sometimes we use the terms interchangeably but are they the same? Lets start with some history and definitions: Goal 1530s, end point of a race, of uncertain origin, perhaps from O.E. *gal obstacle, barrier, a word implied by glan to hinder. The word goal appears once before this, in a poem from early 14c. and with an apparent sense of boundary, limit. Sports sense of place where the ball is put to score is attested from 1540s. Figurative sense of object of an effort is from 1540s Objective 1610s, originally in the philosophical sense of considered in relation to its object (opposite of subjective), formed on pattern of M.L. objectivus, from objectum object (see object (n.)). Meaning impersonal, unbiased is first found 1855, influenced by Ger. objektiv. The noun is 1738, with sense of something objective to the mind; meaning goal, aim is first as a military term from the American Civil War, 1864 (in objective point), from French; general use of it is first attested 1881
Goals & Objectives in a modern business & educational sense
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It has been said that Goals without objectives can never be achieved while objectives without goals will never get you to where you want to be. Indeed the two concepts are related and yet separate. Using both can enable you (or the organization) to be and do what you want to do. Some management academics would say that the difference between goals and objectives is that a goal is a description of a destination, and an objective is a measure of the progress that is needed to get to the destination. In this context goals are the long term outcomes you (or the organization) want/ need to achieve. More often than not, these goals can be broken into chunks or objectives. Goals are often open and unstructured in nature. Goals can be fluid and are directional in nature. Objectives tend to be single achievable outcomes. They are concrete in statement and purpose. There is no ambiguity as to whether they have been achieved or not. Goals Broad in scope General intention or direction Intangible or soft Abstract Cant be easily measured/ validated Large in size The end The result The whole Longer term In practice what does this mean? The site diffen.com has this useful table: Goal Plan: Action: Broad plan Generic action Objective Narrow plan Specific action Objectives Narrow in scope Specific/ Precise Tangible Solid/ Concrete Can be easily measured/ validated Chunks Ends in themselves The means to the end Part of the whole, often with milestones Shorter term

Example:

I want to achieve success in the field of I want to complete this thesis on genetic genetic research and do what no one research by the end of this month. has ever done. Goals may not be strictly measurable or tangible. Longer term

Measure:

Must be measurable and tangible.

Time frame:

Short to medium term Something that ones efforts or actions are intended to attain or accomplish; purpose; target.
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Meaning:

The purpose toward which an endeavour is directed.

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Principle:

Based on ideas

Based on fact

What do Goals and Objectives look like if they are different?

Examples of Goals and Objectives Goals: 1. I want to be the best musician in the school 2. We will be the number 1 supplier of. 3. I want to maintain a good knowledge of the profession. Objectives 1. we will sell xxx units by June next year. 2. I will pass my stage 3 business French assessment. 3. We will deliver 90% of the contract by In coaching, agreeing the direction of goal, which can often be seen as softer, emotional and more engaging first, helps both the coach and the individual to narrow down the actions into specific SMART Objectives.
So what is the real difference between goals and objectives?

Simple your desired outcome, scope and time frame one is a goal the other an objective.

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About Mike Morrison

Mike Morrison is a consultant and change agent specialising in developing skills in senior people to increase organizational performance. Mike is also founder & director of RapidBI, an organizational effectiveness consultancy. View all posts by Mike Morrison Blog Twitter Facebook Google+ RapidBI is an organizational effectiveness consultancy based in the UK but working internationally. RapidBI & Mike Morrison 2011 - this article/ page is free to copy and use on the condition that an active link back and reference is made to this site and page. Thank you for your understanding and co-operation.
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Comment from Sharon Gaskin Time September 29, 2011 at 11:52 RT@rapidbi The Difference between Goals & Objectives: The Difference between Goals & Objectives Often in busine

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