More than just my favorite past time, setting objectives is a critical aspect of nonprofit management.  With competing tasks, shortening deadlines, and a never-ending to-do list….objectives are necessary to prioritize responsibilities and to plan for success.

Setting objectives can be a difficult task, so let me recommend a framework developed by Peter Drucker:

  • Specific – Do not generalize the objective; be as detailed as possible.
  • Measurable – Consider how you could assess progress in achieving the objective.  How can you say you’ve won if no one kept score?
  • Achievable – Is it possible to attain the objective?  Do not set an objective too high or too wide.
  • Realistic – Take an investory of the available resources.  Do not count on things to which you cannot gain access.
  • Time – Set a specific date for completion.  This will help you push toward your objective.

With these criterion, you could set SMART objectives for a particular day at work, a specific project, a new responsibility received, a developing initiative, or a long-term life goal.  The possibilities are endless.

How do you use objectives to navigate your professional life?  Please leave a comment.