Hope, a recent college graduate, aspires to be a professional gamer and participate in esports league championships. She realizes the first step to entering an official championship is to pick a game. She decides on Call of Duty and plays it for hours to perfect her skills. Her ultimate goal is to win the Call of Duty Championship—one of the most elite esport competitions.

In Hope’s case, her goal is to win the championship and her objectives are the steps she has to take to achieve it. However, more often than not, objectives and goals are used interchangeably. Both may have the same meaning—an aim to be achieved—but there’s a noticeable difference between objectives and goals.

Objectives and goals differ in scale, purpose and timeframe. Objectives are clearly-defined, tangible targets that lead to your ultimate goal. In terms of scope, objectives are at a micro level while goals are at a macro level. Here’s another example:

 Say that you want to work at a tech company such as Google. That is your goal. Getting the right college degree, interning at smaller firms and enhancing relevant skills to achieve this goal are your objectives. Objectives are the stepping stones to accomplish a larger goal.

Let’s differentiate between objectives and goals and explore how understanding this difference can help you set achievable objectives and goals.

Objective Vs Goals

Everyone has a vision for their future. In the workplace, this can include achieving sales targets, improving efficiency, hiring a new team member or even setting up a new office. At a personal level, you may want to enhance your writing skills, become a better friend, or simply, read more. Objectives and goals are unique to each person and organization. So, you must identify your objectives to achieve your goal.

Let’s explore common characteristics to differentiate between objectives and goals.

  1. Objectives Differ From Goals In Terms Of Scale And Scope

The former is narrower while the latter is broader in scope. You can identify and list down your objectives whereas goals are broad statements like, “I want to become a doctor” or “We want to expand our business operations internationally”.

  1. Objectives Are Quantifiable And Goals Are Non-Quantifiable

You can measure your objectives in terms of the specific tasks that you intend to complete. But you can’t measure your goals. For instance, your organization’s production team may want to reduce costs by 25% to increase your sales turnover.

  1. Objectives Are Achieved In A shorter Timeframe Than Goals

Goals are usually achieved over a year or more. If you want to set up a new office in a different city, it’ll take you almost a year to get everything in order. In this case, your goal will be divided into manageable objectives like maintaining your budget, finding the right location and relocating the employees.

Identifying the difference between objectives and goals will help you channel your efforts in the right direction. You may find it hard to chart out a clearly-defined path right off the bat. But if you can divide your goals into smaller objectives, reaching the finish line will become more manageable.

Why You Should Identify The Difference Between Objectives And Goals

Knowing what you need to do and how you have to do it will save you time and help you work more efficiently. If you want to switch jobs or pursue higher education, setting objectives and goals will simplify the process. This will help you prioritize tasks. There are times when we focus our efforts on things that are not going to help us attain our goals. This keeps us from concentrating on the tasks that need our attention.

For instance, if you want to be a good public speaker, you should focus all your efforts on improving your speaking skills.

Another reason to understand the difference between objectives and goals is to gain the confidence to do what’s needed. Being conscious of where you’re headed and what you need to do boosts your confidence. You’ll develop the conviction to achieve your targets without letting ‘what-ifs’ steer you off your path.

 If you want to stay on your path to success, you need the motivation to perform. Understanding these important differences between objectives and goals will motivate you to persevere against all odds. You’ll become more equipped to overcome challenges because you’ll be moving towards your vision.

Discovering Purpose is Harappa Education’s high-impact online course designed to help you understand your purpose in life and how you can achieve it. Find your purpose and work with passion to achieve all your individual and professional goals!

Explore topics such as Goal Setting, Types of Goals, SMART Goals & How to be Focused on Your Goals from our Harappa Diaries section and lead on a path of self-development.

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