What Are Goals and Objectives?

A goal motivates a person to achieve a desired outcome using the available resources within a specified time limit. Having goals helps a person focus on a specific desire and directs them to achieve it. An objective is a specific action and a measurable process to achieve the desired goal. A goal needs a specific action plan, i.e., an objective, to be accomplished.

Goals and Objectives in a Business Setting

For a business, defining goals is crucial in developing a business plan, which has a direct impact on the organization's mission, objective, statement, etc.

For example, let's say a company's goal is to be a profitable promoting agency within the area. The agency decides to extend the sales by 20% every four months and increase the company’s share within a year. The primary goal of the agency is to be a profitable marketing agency. The objective of the agency is to increase sales and company shares, which are measurable. This objective is carried out through the business strategy to succeed in reaching the goal.  

Differences Between Goals and Objectives

OrderSetting a goal comes first, as an organization or individual first creates a mission to accomplish in the future.The objective is formed after deciding the goal, as the objective is a process to achieve goals.
ScopeUsually, goals are not measurable in terms of quantitative units. As specific actions are taken to achieve goals, objectives are measurable.
SpecificityA goal is merely a statement about future achievement.An objective concentrates more on a particular task that must be executed using a specific strategy to achieve goals.
Time limitTypically, goals take a long period to accomplish.An objective takes a shorter time period, as they are smaller steps to achieve a selected goal.

How to Create a Goal

The following process helps to set a goal for individuals as well as firms:

Step 1: Identify a Goal

Goal-setting must be based on a company's or individual’s capabilities. The company or individuals need to identify what must be achieved and what should be done to achieve the goal. Having a targeted goal helps motivate an individual to achieve the desired outcome.

The following questions can help to identify and set a personal goal:

  • What do you want or need to accomplish in the future?
  • What can you do to achieve this goal?
  • What actions must you take to achieve the targeted goal?

As for the company, the following questions can help to set a goal:

  • What has to be done in the future based on industry trends?
  • What changes must be made to improve business performance?

Step 2: Analyze

After an individual or company identifies a goal, they need to analyze whether the goal will help increase the performance of the person or business.

In order for a company to achieve its goal, it must determine the skills of every employee and assign work pertaining to their skills for maximum productivity. Such knowledge and work allocation help a company to achieve its targeted goal. Individual performance is important to achieve a company’s desired result. Individual skills, resources, and knowledge must be analyzed for an efficient outcome.

Step 3: List Pros and Cons

After setting a goal, the company or individual should make a list of benefits of meeting the goal in the future. In the same way, list all the obstacles that are going to be faced in achieving the goal. These lists can invariably motivate companies and individuals to overcome the hindrance of reaching the goal. An actionable plan can also be created to overcome anticipated obstacles.

Step 4: Create Objectives

An objective may be a small task that leads the way to successfully reaching a goal. It makes a goal achievable through plans and strategies. These objectives motivate a person to reach the end goal, as the accomplishment of each objective is like a leap forward towards the end goal.

Objectives are also a way to track progress. By analyzing the progress on each of these tasks, the company can assess its overall progress toward achieving its desired goal.

How to Define Objectives

Objectives should define the ultimate goal by creating small milestones that are SMART: specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound. This makes objectives easier to measure, accomplish, and define than the main goal. The outcome of the objective should create a connection with the end goal.


The objective should be clearly outlined and needs to be understandable by others. Objectives should define the exact action required from each individual.


As the action is clearly defined, the objective should be able to measure the action taken. After executing the plan, it is important to know the improvement, impact, and success of the objective.


The objective must be designed in a realistic way that makes it achievable by employees. It should also be relevant to the specific goal. An impossible objective will demotivate employees and apply pressure on them, which can distract them from achieving the end goal.


An objective should be realistic to be achievable. It should be formulated in a realistic way by considering all available resources and limitations. Only then can the timeframe for completion be established.


One of the significant components of the objective is time. Every actionable plan includes a time limit. The objective should be achievable within a designated time span.

Practice Problems

1. Objective should be designed using the _________ method.

a. ART

Answer: b

Explanation: An objective must be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound.

2. A car manufacturing company wants to be a profitable company in a country. The strategy was designed to improve sales by 30% per month. What is the goal and objective of the company?

a. The goal is profitability and the objective is to increase sales.
b. The objective is profitability and the goal is to increase sales.
c. The goal and objective are not stated.

Answer: a

Explanation: The company's goal is to be a profitable one. To achieve the goal, the objective is to increase sales by 30%. The objective leads to the goal of profitability. A strategy will be used to increase the sales by 30% every month.

3. Goal setting has to be _________.

a. Clearly spelled
b. Clearly defined
c. Measured

Answer: b

Explanation: Clearly defined goal setting is essential because it should be understandable by others, as the objective is designed based on the goal.

4. Identify the correct difference between goals and objectives.

a. Goals are not measured, while objectives are measured.
b. Goals are measurable, while objectives are not measured.
c. Goals and objectives are measurable.

Answer: a

Explanation: Goals are not measurable because the outcome is achieved through measurable objectives.

5. ______ is/are important to create an objective.

a. Actions
b. Tasks
c. Goal setting

Answer: c

Explanation: The objective comes after setting a goal. When a goal is defined, then specific action can be taken to achieve it.

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