With it being a new year, I think it fitting to discuss setting goals and objectives. Over the next few weeks, we’ll discuss the process I go through each year to set personal and professional goals and objectives. In this way you can follow along each step of the way yourself resulting in the creation of your own goals and objectives for the year. I’ve been doing this for years now and I’ve found it to be motivational and rewarding. In fact, my wife and I began setting family goals and objectives before we had children. Now with them grown to young adults, it’s great to see they actually did absorb some of this process and have adopted this important life skill. Initially it was a forced process whereby they set simple goals and objects such as hosting 2 tree house sleepovers per summer, or organizing a camping weekend with their Grandparents. However, they have created their own methods building off the fundamentals we will discuss, and now set more challenging and important life goals and objectives. Who would have guessed? Hey, one of our objectives has been achieved!
If you haven’t yet read the post Reflections Vs Resolutions – It’s That Time Of Year!, I’d encourage you to do so before going about setting your goals and objectives for the coming year. Reflection is a critical first step that is necessary before setting new goals or objectives.
After completing your reflection process, the next step is to create Mission statements. Whether you are doing so as an individual, family or organization, establishing your mission is a critical step and will act as your compass which sets you in the desired direction. There a many definitions of a mission statement but simply it is:
A short written statement of your goals and philosophies. It should define what your, the family, or the organization is, why it exists, and its reason for being.
The making of an effective and meaningful mission statement takes time, patience, and very careful consideration. The choice of words is important because they must be easily and clearly understood by all and need to stand the test of time of describing a future state or meaning intended. Although the individual mission statements may not have been achieved yet, they should be described as though already accomplished and written in the present tense.
For additional information on vision and mission statements, see Lead with Vision.
Below is an example of one of our family mission statements:
Our health is most important, as it is life. We eat well, look after each other and maintain a physically active lifestyle.
Having a mission is one thing, but how you will achieve it is another. So it is important that you also define the values that the organization, family or individuals will have and demonstrate while setting about achieving the mission. Without the values well defined, the mission may very well be achieved, but not in the way or method originally intended. There is a right way and a wrong way to almost everything! Many leaders have gotten themselves and/or their organizations in big trouble because although they have remained true to the mission, they strayed on their values. Values are the moral principles and behaviours that all involved will exhibit while on the journey to accomplish the mission.
When my wife and I created our family mission and values, it took many hours of thinking, discussing, revising, wordsmithing and healthy debate. However, once it was done we framed it and hung it in our house as a constant family compass which has guided us now for many years. We review it carefully every year. Although we have only made few changes over the years, we use it each year to check our direction and alignment to what is most important to us and use it as part of our goals and objectives process for the year.
This is an example of one of our family values:
Close Relationships: Spending quality time together experiencing life – “People before things”
Although I’ve used the example of our family mission and values, the same process holds true for an individual or an organization. When creating mission statements and values beyond an individual, it is important to be as inclusive as possible in creating and aligning everyone involved to increase buy-in and commitment.
The creation of a mission is important because it is what your goals and objectives need to be based upon. Otherwise, without a mission, any goals and objectives you set are just a bunch of things you want to get done that may not lead you on the desired journey to your intended destination. Without a mission, it is difficult to prioritize and ensure you are focusing on the most important activities. Without a mission you are wandering through life wherever it takes you, not necessarily where or how you want to get there.
Do you have a mission and associated values?
In the next post, we’ll review goal setting.