Ok, goals and objectives do have some value, but they cannot stand alone. Goals and objectives by themselves are nothing more than unobtainable milestones along an unbuilt road.
I might seem a little harsh in my characterization of goals and objectives, but after years of being told to create goals and watch good things happens, I have come to despise goals and the think good things mentality. Why? Simple, it is a fallacy. It is an untruth repeatedly told to sell a product and help people temporarily feel better about themselves and their businesses.
Goals, objectives and thinking good thoughts are only the starting point; whereas, many teach they are the end point. To go from where you are today to where you want to be tomorrow requires action; improvement requires action. Now couple goals, objectives and thinking good thoughts with action, then I am on board, and I will be the captain of that ship.
Good Strategy Bad Strategy finally gave me the answer to "How do I go from creating my goal to reaching my goal?" The answer is a set of actions resulting from a developed strategy.
The book is designed for business, but let's start simple - New Year's Resolutions. How many people make better fitness their New Year's Resolution? A quick search online shows losing weight and improving fitness are top resolutions every year. Why are they top resolutions every year? Because the resolutions are rarely obtained.
I do not make New Year's Resolutions, but losing weight and improving my fitness level have been a goal of mine for a while. I would run occasionally and play in soccer leagues; yet, I was still a little overweight and did not have the fitness level I wanted.
I no longer want to improve my fitness level and lose weight, because at the time of writing this article, I am getting fit and losing weight. Why? Because I created a strategy when I first started reading Good Strategy Bad Strategy, and I am completing a simple set of actions from that strategy.
To reach my fitness and weight goal, I completed Richard Rumelt's kernel of good strategy.
The first step is to Diagnosis the challenge; my challenge/goal/objective was to improve fitness and lose weight.
From there, I identified my Guiding Policy; I needed to exercise more and eat healthier.
Finally, I created Coherent Actions to resolve the Diagnosis. To create a set of Coherent Actions, I used what I call the How Process. From the Guiding Policy, I asked "how". After answering the question, I asked "how" again. I kept this how and answer process until I arrived at a set of Coherent Actions.
To walk through the process, I asked myself "How will I exercise more?" I decided to run. Then, I asked myself "How will I run?" Two miles a day. Next, I asked myself "How will I run two miles a day?" Answer, on a treadmill.
Simple as that, I started with my Diagnosis to improve fitness and created a strategy to run two miles a day on a treadmill. Through the same progress, I started eating healthier by increasing my fiber intake, decreasing my sugar intake and limiting fried foods to once a month.
As you now know, good strategy is essential to implementing change and reaching your goals and objectives. Of course developing solid business strategy can be more difficult and in-depth than improving my fitness level and losing weight, but the strategy development process is the same.
Richard Rumelt's Good Strategy Bad Strategy opened a window into an area of development and planning I had not previously looked into. His book significantly expands on the limited discussion of strategy presented in this article. I highly recommend Good Strategy Bad Strategy if you want to learn how to improve your business or yourself.