Getting to Goals

On December 16, 2013, I embarked on a planning exercise for Strong Roots Consulting, specifically in the areas of mission/vision/goals, business practices, and activities for the year ahead. This post is the second update in the process.

When planning, it’s incredibly useful to create a higher-level vision and mission, if for no other reason than to answer the self-posed question “Why am I doing this?”: to paraphrase Nietzsche, organizations with a “why” can endure pretty much any “how”. My first update in this three-month exercise provided a draft set of such statements, and I’m still satisfied with them a month later (though if you have any comments or suggestions please feel free to share them!).

Mind the Gap

Vision and mission looks at the long-haul through an aspirational lens. These broad goals can take a lifetime of work to accomplish, making them great for motivation, but not so much for shaping daily work. Task lists and short-term plans fall on the opposite end of the spectrum, supporting specific actions but running the risk of “getting lost in the weeds” with no obvious connection to the abstract aims of the vision and mission.

Intermediate goals help bridge the gap between the broader mission and vision on one side, and concrete actions and plans on the other. Specifically, the seven goals listed below will (hopefully) help translate the big picture to more manageable chunks and provide direction for decision-making. For example, if I come across an opportunity, such as an invitation to join a community initiative or participate in a professional conference, I can assess the prospect based on how it fits in with the goals. These objectives can also form the basis for assessing intermediate-term outcomes by going beyond a simple count of my actions and direct outputs: at the same time, it’s easier to see the impact I have made towards the goals compared to the overarching vision.

Strong Roots Consulting Goals

Without furhter ado:

  1. Promote the adoption of transformative and systemic approaches, models, and mindsets in the for-impact sector
  2. Support the internal growth and development of for-impact organizations, particularly in the areas of learning and evaluation
  3. Encourage and collaborate with others working to support non-profit and for-impact groups and organizations, especially those new to the field.
  4. Develop my skills and knowledge base on a continual basis, and in turn contribute these insights back to the community.
  5. Bridge knowledge from all its sources, including academia, practitioners, and especially community members with lived experience
  6. Connect people, groups, and organizations around issues that affect the for-impact sector and our community, in Saskatoon and beyond
  7. Follow sustainable and ethical business practices, and support companies and organizations that act similarly.

As with the mission and vision, I welcome your thoughts and feedback, either in the comments below, on social media, or through regular channels.

The last step of this puzzle will be creating some specific plans for this coming year. I want my actions and desired outcomes to be concrete and measurable but with some flexibility built in, recognizing that success or failure can often depend on factors beyond one’s control and changes in external context can provide unanticipated opportunities and challenges. Watch for the full plan to appear on this site next month!