List and discuss five characteristics of well-designed goals.
(1) A well-designed goal should be written in terms of outcomes rather than actions. The desired end result is the most important element of any goal and, therefore, the goal should be written to reflect this. (2) Next, a goal should be measurable and quantifiable. It’s much easier to determine if a goal has been met if it’s measurable. In line with specifying a quantifiable measure of accomplishment, (3) a well-designed goal should also be clear as to a time frame. Although open-ended goals may seem preferable because of their supposed flexibility, in fact, goals without a time frame make an organization less flexible because a manager is never sure when the goal has been met or when he or she should call it quits because the goal will never be met regardless of how long he or she works at it. (4) Next, a well-designed goal should be challenging but attainable. Goals that are too easy to accomplish are not motivating and neither are goals that are not attainable even with exceptional effort. (5) Well-designed goals should be written down. Although actually writing down goals may seem too time consuming, the process of writing the goals forces people to think them through. In addition, the written goals become visible and tangible evidence of the importance of working toward something. (6) Finally, well-designed goals are communicated to all organizational members who need to know the goals. Making people aware of the goals ensures that they’re “on the same page” and working in ways to ensure the accomplishment of the organizational goals.
Source: Management, 11e (Robbins/Coulter)