An objective statement is a short statement which describes precisely what you are looking for or what you want. This can either be in job searches or in business dealings. While your goal might be to land a job say as a teacher, in the business context, these statements usually provide clear details and directions on how you are planning to achieve a business objective.
Objective statements were usually found in resumes although they are now outdated because most job seekers prefer to write professional summaries, personal statements or career profiles. Resume objectives were short two to three sentences outlining your qualities and experiences, they were short, precise and direct to the point informing the potential employer why you were interested in the job. One demerit of these resume objective statements was that they were broad and very general.
Statement objectives in the business context on the hand consist of one to two sentences that describe and explain the exact expected outcomes that a business enterprise wants. The statement informs the employees of what exactly they have to do so as to meet the company’s set goals. These objectives usually have deadlines, are specific, are realistic and are achievable. They do map out the criteria that the business will use in order to achieve its targets.
CHARACTERISTICS OF AN OBJECTIVE STATEMENT
A good objective statement should be able to guide actions aimed at achieving a set goal. The statement should be attainable, decisive and clearly defined because they provide the direction used for planning, evaluating and guiding actions and projects. In light of this, a good objective statement should possess the following features:
- Specific: The objective statement should include and indicate what must accomplish and what method will be used to accomplish it. To make the statement more effective and efficient, it should be written and phrased with words that are action words such as ‘build’, ‘design’, ‘sell’, ‘implement’ et cetera. These words clearly spell out what must be done to accomplish a set target.
- Measurable: The objective statement must clearly and precisely spell out what will accomplish and when this target will be accomplished. If it is possible to measure the objective then you can easily determine whether it has been achieved or not. If the objective has been achieved, preferably within the set time limits, then it can be said that the project has been a success.
- Acceptable: There are a few questions you need to ask yourself and answer while the objective. The main question you should ask yourself is, are all people in the firm or organization in agreement that the objective is desirable and necessary? Also, do the key stakeholders and managers agree that the objective is a good one and that it will help move the organization forward?
- Realistic: This simply means that the object can be achieved even though it is probably difficult and challenging. The set objective should be realistic enough in that it should be achievable using the available manpower and machinery. The all-important question here is, is the objective achievable, either in the short or even in the long term?
- Time-bound: The objective statement should clearly state the time limits within which it should be accomplished. If no start time and finish time are set, the objective will either start and finish prematurely leading to problems in the future or take too long to complete leading to losses for the company. A time horizon and deadline are critical for the objective to serve its purpose well.
- Understandable: The objective should be easily understood by everybody reading it. You need to ask yourself whether managers across all levels will be able to comprehend the intention of the senior level management of setting the objective either as a long term or short term goal.
Good objective setting describes and prescribes that a good objective should be; challenging, specific, written, believable, be time-bound and be measurable.
HOW TO CREATE A GOOD OBJECTIVE STATEMENT
In view of this, the following is how to create or write an objective statement:
- Write the objective statement before beginning the project. It is actually a bad idea to start writing the objective statement when you are halfway done with the project. There is every chance that you will get mixed up and confuse yourself. Write the statement first so that it can guide you in accomplishing the project.
- Involve every team player in writing the objective statement, you cannot write it in isolation. You need the input of the rest of the team. The whole team must believe in the statement for them to work towards its realization otherwise if they don’t believe in it, it will be a futile endeavor. If the stakeholders do not agree with the set goals in the objective, then they won’t provide the necessary resources required to accomplish the project. Make a point of working with them until a statement that is satisfactory to all is written.
- A good objective statement should be brief, precise and straight to the point. A short objective statement has higher chances of being read and understood easily as opposed to a long one. If the statement is too long it will discourage the reader from reading it to the end.
- The statement should be clear. Instead of giving options or wide ranges of numbers, ask for what is needed for the project to run smoothly. Don’t use a lot of technical jargon that might leave the reader confused, use plain English that is easily understandable by everyone without having to refer to the dictionary for every word read.
- When writing the statement make sure that the goals set out in the objective are realistic, achievable and that you can actually control them. It is of no use to set goals that are not under your control because the actual person in control might turn you down when the time comes to accomplish the set goal.
A well written and a clear objective statement is very important since it directly affects the way a project is run every step of the way. It gives the team a bigger chance of accomplishing the project in good time.
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