How objective setting will help you harness the power of the positive

“If you don’t know where you are going, how will you know when you have got there?”

Some years ago in a previous life and career I was taught the importance of objective setting. The thinking was that for any undertaking to have a decent chance of success there had to be a planning process that underpinned it. The critical start point of planning is to have clarity of purpose; put simply, know what you are trying to achieve and state an objective.

The principle of having an objective is completely transferable across many settings, business, project management, competitive sport and communications. When starting a project or setting up a new business time spent identifying the objective is certainly time well spent. I don’t pretend this is rocket science, but like much that is obvious it can be easily overlooked, or worse, assumed.  Assumptions and ignorance, can be hugely damaging, especially at moments where you or your organisation finds yourself under pressure.

Dealing with a crisis situation it is vital to spend some time identifying what you need to do and to be clear on your objective. “What are we trying to achieve? What is the outcome I want?” Taking a step back and clarifying a desired outcome is hugely important.

Objective setting comes ahead of the planning process so getting the objective right gives the plan you are about to create a fighting chance of success. It works at a macro level, for the wider plan and responses, and it works at a micro level with smaller individual tasks.

The objective becomes a reference point for planning and allows you to analyse and ask relevant questions, “If I do this, does it help me achieve my aim?” Having a clear objective allows you to focus on relevant and meaningful actions, to concentrate your effort where it counts, and to dedicate time and resources to those things that actually help you deal with the issue.

At the micro level, in a media interview setting for example, as well as wider crisis situations the principle of having an objective holds good. If your purpose is to reassure an audience have you included enough evidence to achieve that? If you are seeking to promote something to an audience have you provided enough positive benefits to get the audience to where you want them to be?

Being clear on your objective allows you to take a positive approach to any situation rather than a reactive one. Clarity of purpose gets you off the back foot, allows you to focus upon positive actions and gives you the forward momentum you need to create solutions.

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