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Goal Setting

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What is a goal?

A goal is an end toward which effort is directed. A meaningful goal has the following elements:

  • An accomplishment to be achieved.
  • A measurable outcome.
  • A specific deadline.
  • A link to UOIT's strategic goals and objectives and/or the faculty or department's objectives.

Why set goals?

There are always new things to be done and more effective and efficient ways to accomplish work. Goals can focus on continuous learning and improvement as it applies to the role.

By setting specific targets and desired outcomes, individuals and organizations will be able to:

  • Define priorities
  • Establish direction
  • Identify expected results
  • Enhance teamwork
  • Improve individual performance
  • Clarify expectations
  • Link individual contributions to the overall success of the university

How to write S.M.A.R.T. goals:

A good way to create constructive goals is to use the S.M.A.R.T. method.

S.M.A.R.T. goals include all of the following necessary elements:

  • Specific - clearly states what is to be achieved.
  • Measurable- can be quantitatively determined or observed.
  • Achievable - within reach given the role and responsibilities.
  • Results-oriented - indicating what action is to be performed.
  • Time-bound - including a deadline for completion.

What is the process for setting goals?

1. Define the accomplishments to be achieved.

Identify 3 to 5 key goals. The goals are worded as outcomes (the intended affect of your efforts). These may be based on:

  • Activities and/or projects to help the department or faculty or university achieve its goals.
  • Activities and/or projects that focus on providing better service or process improvements.

2. You and your supervisor agree upon a goal statement, focusing on observable, measurable performance using the S.M.A.R.T. method.

Your goal statement must also take into account measures for success. Ensure your goal statement contains one or more performance indicators. Performance indicators are results or observable processes that describe the quality and productivity (quantity, cost, timeliness) to be achieved within the year in order for the goal to have been met.

Example of a goal statement

For the next academic year, increase complement of new international students enrolled in UOIT's undergraduate programs by five per cent.

3. Develop a specific action plan. Include what needs to be done, who is responsible, and when each step will be completed.

Example of an action plan

Read related immigration policy papers identifying issues that could impact upon granting of student authorizations.

Summarize findings and present to Executive Team in March and receive feedback by April.

Get glossy brochures from Communications by end of April.

Implement changes by end May.

4. Identify resources needed to accomplish the goal and how they will be obtained. Additionally, you need to identify all of the challenges and considerations required to complete this plan. These include outlining conditions (beyond individual control) that may impact the achievement of your goals. Highlight the support you require from others (such as help from IT Services), and indicate additional resources (human, financial, time) that will be required to meet the objective

Example of resource identification

Assuming the university will have the ability to provide essential services (i.e. housing, advance standing assessment, course enrolments) to these international students.

HELPFUL HINT - to ensure your goals are SPECIFIC and MEASURABLE you need to have at least one performance indicator in your goal and action plan. Below are some types of indicators and examples:

1. Efficiency indicators - the proposed ratio of relevant outputs to relevant inputs (example: Cost per registration).

2. Effectiveness indicators - the extent to which the university, faculty, or department is achieving the objectives of its mission/strategies (example: Increase UOIT's financial self-sufficiency by increasing private funding by 20 per cent).

3. Output indicators - the amount of anything produced in a given time - usually measured by volume (example: Conduct realized per month).

4. Deadlines/timelines - the end date for completing a particular output (example: To be rolled out as a pilot by January 1).

5. Input - the amount of resources (money, staff, time) used in producing outputs (example: a $2 million ceiling on the costs to support project X).

6. Customer service - the degree to which the needs and expectations of the recipients of the service are satisfied with the level and quality of service provided (example: A minimum of 80 per cent of customers to indicate they are highly satisfied with the service provided).



How to respond to changes:

During the period that elapses from the time you set your goals until the end of the performance cycle, there may be unforeseen challenges or obstacles. These challenges may directly impact whether or not you can achieve your goals.

Unforeseen challenges may include:

  • A change in the university's strategic plan or direction.
  • A shifting of priorities for the department or faculty.
  • A change in job responsibilities.
  • Resources (e.g. staff, funds, etc.) may no longer be available.

Under these exceptional circumstances, it may be necessary for you and your supervisor to revise your goals and document the changes. Ongoing meetings are encouraged between you and your supervisor to ensure that your goals are still appropriate.

Completed example of Part 1 - Individual Performance:

Screenshot of performance management - part 1 sample - full pdf can be viewed in link at top of page