When you’re planning what you want to do and where you want to go, whether organisationally or individually starting with the vision and the mission sets out where you want to be and define what it is you are doing. The goals that you set in line with these, then allow you to outline the targets to achieving these. But at some point, you will need to get down to the detail, to decide exactly how, when and where you are going to activate these plans. Before you launch straight into the activities however, there is an in between step; setting the objectives.
The objectives set out the specifics of the plans and have shorter time frames than goals. They are commonly referred to as being SMART, ie:
Without objectives the goals are a bit vague. Following on from on of the goals example last week (to build a database of all the cycling routes in the city), the objective could be something like; to create a web based database of 100 off road cycling routes in Bristol in map format by the end of June. From this you know the specifics (web based database of off road routes), have something to measure to know how much of your objective you have achieved (100 routes), it sounds achievable (whereas to create a database for the whole of the South West in that time, may not be), it is relevant to your vision, and you have a time scale (by the end of June).
Objectives make things more bite sized, and importantly give you something to measure your success against. When looking at your objectives you can see just how far you are progressing towards your goal.
Once you have your vision, mission, goals and objectives, you are on your way to working out your actions, and your plan is coming together nicely! Of course setting up all these plans is not always that straightforward, which is why it is important to have the right people in the right environment discussing and planning in the right way to ensure it is a success.