By Samantha Armstrong/ AS Graduate Advisor

I recently came across a piece of paper upon which I had written some of the goals I had outlined for myself last quarter. It made me wonder, how many people and how many clubs actually write down their goals in order to guide their actions? I have found, in my personal life and in all of my varied group experiences, that setting goals and referring to them is often the foundation upon which greatness occurs. This being the case, I think it might be helpful to outline some things to consider when you or an organization you belong to engages in goal setting. I wish you luck in all your goal setting endeavors and firmly believe that clearly defined goals will guide you to greatness.

1. DEFINITIONS:

Goal: An ideal, a desired place toward which people work; a state of affairs that people value.

Group Goal: A future state of affairs desired by enough of the members within a group to motivate the entire group to work towards its achievement.

2. IMMEDIATE GOALS: In setting goals choose short-term ones that fulfill the following:

a. can be reached in a specific and reasonable length of time.

b. can be recognized when achieved.

c. can be used as stepping stones to long range goals.

3. OVERALL GOALS: In setting goals set long-range goals that:

a. have specific and identifiable results which allow for evaluation.

b. are realistic, but challenging.

c. relate to the group’s basic purpose of the group.

d. are continual.

e. are compatible.

f. are workable.

4. BEFORE SETTING GOALS, THE FOLLOWING SHOULD BE DONE:

a. decide upon items on which the group agrees.

b. be clear about what the group wants.

c. rank priorities.

d. decide what specific actions will be used to achieve your goals.
This model is based on Dickinson College’s “Striving for Excellence.”

Once you have established your goals, the next step is to list all the things that can be done this week to reach your immediate and overall goals. These may be specific assignments delegated to club members, or group tasks to be completed at another meeting. To this list add everything else your group may need to accomplish during the day or week that does not necessarily relate to the goals you set.

Next, ask yourselves which of these activities will you really enjoy doing. Which do you find a drag? Which do you want to avoid doing? How many of the things that are “a drag” relate to your organization’s overall goals? If you find that many of the tasks you must engage in to accomplish your organizational goals are in the “what a drag” category, I encourage you to develop some positive rewards for those that accomplish these tasks or discuss with them the intrinsic rewards they could feel through the completion of each task.

For more on goal setting, I encourage you to check out the WWU Student Activities Leadership Library and Leadertips on the floor 4 of the Viking Student Union Building.