Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Goal Management

C2/GOMA turns Goal Management into a formal scientific discipline, and it breaks the process down into the following areas of Formulation, Evaluation, Propagation, and Reaching.

We begin with Goal Formulation:

  • Goal Formulation. Defining and structuring a goal.

    • Definition - Definition of a goal in specific, measurable, and time-bound terms. A goal is typically stated using the 5WH principle:
      • Who - Who is responsible or will contribute in achieving the goal? “Who” specifies required resources.
      • What - What is the goal? What specifically shall be accomplished? How can the success of the goal be measured? “What” gives a formal or informal definition of the future desired state to be achieved.
      • Where - Where will the goal be accomplished? “Where” states subjects that the goal is applied to.
      • When - When will the goal be accomplished? “When” defines the time when work toward the goal shall be started and when it will end. Time can be defined in number of different ways:
        • Exact time
        • Relative, in relation to the start/end of another goal
        • Conditional, upon command or when a certain event(s) occurs
      • Why - Why do you want to achieve this goal? What’s the reasoning behind this goal? “Why” usually links the goal to one of its few higher-level goals.
      • How - How shall the goal be achieved? “How” usually defines constraints and directions that guides us towards reaching the goal. In a micro management style, “How” can prescribe the exact breakdown of goal into specific actions.
      • The SMART method (discussed in my first September 2011 post, “Try Personal Goal Management”) can then be used to review and improve the goal’s definition.

    • Structuring - Breaking down a goal into sub-goals. There are several aspects that should be taken into account while structuring a goal:
      • Completeness - Will reaching all sub-goals actually lead to the accomplishment of this goal?
      • Sequencing - Is there any specific order to how the sub-goals will be reached?
      • Clarity/Certainty - Sub-goals should be less uncertain--have lower unambiguity--than the goal itself. If uncertainty increases, it means the breakdown has not achieved its purpose.

There are several techniques which people use for goal structuring:
      • WBS (Work Breakdown Structure) - a hierarchical breakdown of a goal into a series of steps/tasks.
      • Delphi Method / Expert Judgement - the decomposition performed by multiple experts in several steps, with reconciliation after every iteration.

After the goal has been formed, the process then moves to Goal Evaluation:

  • Goal Evaluation. Evaluating a goal from different perspectives before acting upon it.

    • Suitability - Does it make sense? Will it lead us to where we really want to be? Are there any better alternatives?
    • Feasibility - Can it be done? Are we physically able to achieve the goal, taking into account the current state, resources, and other work that needs to be done? Are there any risks that may negatively or positively affect achieving this goal?
    • Acceptability - Are we willing to do it? Is this goal or method in line with company values? Are all possible side effects acceptable?

SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis or Risk Assessment can be used at this stage.

We then move to Goal Propagation:

  • Goal Propagation. Propagating a goal through management levels after it has been structured and evaluated. There are two common ways to propagate a goal:

    • Setting - the primary way to propagate goals. Goals are given at the top and move down, as a boss to his or her subordinates.
    • Seeking - an alternative way. Goals are defined at lower levels and then pushed from the bottom upwards.

When people hear “Command & Control” they often image a highly controlled environment, where every step is prescribed, any initiative is suppressed, and where it’s not much fun to be. That was one of the reasons why we switched to alternative name--Goal-Oriented Management Automation (GOMA). In reality, C2/GOMA doesn’t force us to always set goals top-down. In reality, it is very healthy for organizations to let people at the bottom come up with their own goals. C2 just helps to capture and manage those goals. When a new goal is set, the boss immediately sees it. If he likes it, he can help the achievement of that goal, or even make it part of his plans and push it further up. However, if the boss disagrees with the goal, he can stop the work without spending valuable organizational time and money.

Finally, we come to the last area of Goal Management: Goal Reaching:

  • Goal Reaching. The final step: achieving the goal. Goal Management is able to help in achieving a goal and the processes after. It can turn a painful and blind execution process into an educated balancing act.

    • Balancing - Often organizations try to achieve multiple goals concurrently using limited resources. Goal Management gives formal ways to identify issues between concurrent goals, such as competition and conflict:
      • Competition - a relationship between two independent goals which require the same resources at the same time.
      • Conflict - what happens when differences between the current state and the desired outcomes of two goals point in different directions. For example: A person has a goal to save money for retirement. The desired outcome will require the money in his or her bank account to grow. Another goal, such as spending vacation in Hawaii, will conflict with the first goal, since it has a side effect which will lead to losing money.

There are two primary ways to balance between multiple concurrent and interdependent goals:
      • Arbitration - compromising between two goals by using somebody in charge to make a call between them.
      • Consensus - finding a common higher-level goal (a common ground), making predictions, and optimizing the outcomes by making balanced decisions. Even if the goals do not reach their full potential, the common higher-level goal will be maximized.

After balancing, we then analyze the progress of the goal:

    • Progress Analysis - estimating the current progress of the goal, determining if the goal is achieved, and, if not, making predictions based on the current status of the goal and trends happening around it. This may lead to making additional goals and repeating portions of the Goal Management Process in order to effectively reach the main goal and desire.

Through the Goal Management of C2/GOMA, goals can be achieved intelligently and orderly. The process is there for you. You only have to follow it. If you need motivation or some help achieving your goals through this process, take a look at my earlier September 2011 posts.

Hope you enjoy!

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