Choosing the Right Goal-Setting Method 

Setting goals is essential for giving your organization a sense of purpose and a drive toward success. With the right goals, you can motivate your employees while working toward a shared vision, leading to higher feelings of fulfillment. However, setting effective goals may sometimes be a challenge for you and your team. While you should base your goals on your organization’s hopes, dreams, and mission, they should aim to represent more than that.¬†

Your organization’s goals should anticipate obstacles, identify clear targets, and create an impact on your business strategies. You can practice intentional goal setting with several different methods to help you track your progress and measure organizational performance.¬†

In This Article

10 Methods of Setting Goals 

While the numerous ways to set and plan out your goals may seem overwhelming, it’s an excellent opportunity to find new, efficient ways to make your objectives more manageable and successful. Consider one of these 10 ways to set goals for your organization.¬†


Choosing the Right Goal-Setting Method

Finding balance when setting goals will ensure your chosen method works well with your organization. For instance, if your go-to goal-setting strategy is too general or becomes too complex, you risk running into problems down the line. In this case, you may need to restructure your plan for execution to save your time and resources. Visualizing your goals as an entire plan, with different levels is a great way to break them down into actionable steps:

  • Level one:¬†Organize your plan by theme.
  • Level two: Define the goals¬†you want to accomplish.
  • Level three: Quantify objectives with metrics.
  • Level four: Define your strategy or plan of attack.
  • Level five: List your tactical¬†action items.

As you can see, these levels emphasize specific terms ‚ÄĒ “theme,” “goals,” “objectives,” “strategy” and “tactics.” This overall structure, known as TGOST, can help you and your team execute your goals properly. With these five levels, your goals become a full plan to see the light of day rather than being stuck in the goal-planning stage. When you divide your goals into reasonable tactics, everyone in your work environment can benefit.¬†¬†

Be sure to track and monitor these steps to see your strategic initiatives come to completion and meet your intended outcomes. 


Perhaps one of the most popular ways to implement your strategies is through the use of SMART goals:

  • Specific: Ensure you have clearly defined your goals and written them out, leaving no room for ambiguity or miscommunication.¬†
  • Measurable: You should be able to measure your goals in terms of desired increases, decreases, or items remaining the same. You can also track and communicate your progress¬†with numbers.
  • Achievable: Try to aim for actionable goals that get you out of your comfort zone and feel challenging but are still realistic enough to achieve.
  • Relevant: Your goals should align with each other across the entire organization, otherwise, you may lose focus in important areas.
  • Time-bound: Always set a timeframe or deadline for when you want to see your goals implemented to create a sense of urgency.¬†


While these acronyms have evolved into different interpretations over time, their purpose remains the same. Using SMART goals can help your organization see the results of attainable goals by guiding your progress in manageable steps.

3. BSQ

Another way to set goals is to create an upside-down pyramid in which your larger goals are at the top and your actionable steps are at the bottom. This method can help you implement BSQ goals, which stand for:

  • Big: This level contains your end goals. You can “think big” here and then move on to break these goals down.¬†
  • Small: With your big goals in mind, create small, detailed steps to ensure your plan has a set path with a clear endpoint.¬†
  • Quick: Finally, ensure you move quickly and create deadlines that hold you accountable for every action you take toward your goals.¬†

4. OGSM 

Another goal-setting method that starts on a broad, generalized level and becomes more specific, the OGSM method describes:

  • Objectives:¬†Set the¬†long-term target you wish to achieve. This target, your objective, may take longer to accomplish than other goals.
  • Goals: Create realistic goals that will help you accomplish your objective. You should be able to implement your goals as daily or weekly actions.
  • Strategy: The strategies create minor, functional ways to make small improvements, similar to the “small” step in BSQ and the “tactical” stage in TGOST.
  • Metrics: Assess your goals’ and tactics’ success by tracking percentages, numbers, or any other method of verifying you have met your target.¬†

5. HARD 

Despite the name of this method, these goals are easy to plan and implement. HARD goals stand for:

  • Heartfelt:¬†Your goals should connect with the passion, inspiration, and motivation that helps your organization thrive. If you strive to grow your organization, use these sentiments to set your goals.
  • Animated:¬†Envision what you may feel when you achieve your goal. Use your imagination to bring your goal to life and think about how great it will feel when you accomplish what you set out to do.¬†
  • Required:¬†If you’ve had trouble getting your goals off the ground in the past, consider connecting them to something you must do. Plan your goals according to your organization’s obligations, ensuring you complete them.
  • Difficult:¬†It’s always good to be optimistic and think about the future. Set specific goals that are challenging enough to boost your confidence when you and your team accomplish them.


Sometimes goal setting can become repetitive when you use the same goal-setting techniques repeatedly. To add some variety, consider using the WOOP method:

  • Wish: Creating a goal is a lot like making a wish.¬†Ensure your personal goals are helping you meet a positive outcome and exciting you and your team.¬†
  • Outcome: Think about how you will feel when you see the results of your hard work. Envision the best possible outcome of reaching your goal.
  • Obstacle: Always anticipate roadblocks that could hinder your progress and slow down your workflow. Make room for these in your plans.¬†
  • Plan: Establish solutions and practice different means of overcoming the obstacles that can occur with most long-term goals.

7. OKR 

This method helps set goals across your entire organization or within a large team tasked with working toward an important, specific goal. OKR goals stand for Objectives and Key Results. Begin with identifying and choosing your goals, then establish the specific steps to help you reach this goal. For example, if you want to grow your customer base, consider implementing special deals or developing a social media campaign to attract new customers. 

Once you confirm these steps, you can monitor your smaller goals and, eventually, your results. You and your team should review and reevaluate your steps as needed throughout this process. 

8. Micro 


Micro goals are several smaller goals that combine to help you achieve a larger, more significant goal. If your organization has a very broad goal, such as increasing revenue by a certain amount, you can create a chart that tracks your progress with micro-steps. Passing through these smaller increments will help keep you motivated because you will feel as if you are actually accomplishing something. You will be able to remind yourself of how far you’ve come with these micro-goals.

If your goals feel like they will take months to complete or seem out of reach, set aside a block of time each day for a task that will lead you to that goal. Achievable goals require small, everyday actions that will maintain your momentum as you move toward your end goal.

9. Backward

Like BSQ, this method also uses an upside-down pyramid.  

You must take certain steps to achieve a goal. When you look at your action plan from the end to the beginning, you can see exactly where you need to start. For instance, if your organization’s goal is to increase customer loyalty, you first need to look at what drives them to keep returning.¬†

Trace these steps backward according to your industry and determine the best course of action. For your organization, this might mean creating a social media platform and hiring a social media manager to reach more customers. You might also think about developing a customer loyalty program that provides incentives for returning customers. 

You must take certain steps to achieve a goal.

Working backward lets you break your plans down to start at the most essential steps. You can also use this method to bring your organization’s future or general vision into clearer, structured goals.

10. Anti-Goals 

Anti-goals are a unique method that may work for you. These goals are set to help you reflect and avoid the things you don’t want, to aim toward the things you do want. For example, if you want to simplify your overwhelming meeting schedule, try setting an anti-goal that ensures you never schedule meetings that you can replace with an email or phone call.¬†

The purpose of anti-goals is to connect an undesirable element of your day to the conditions you want to see in your personal or professional life. Consider the things you are unhappy with and then create anti-goals with solutions that eliminate or avoid these things.

What to Consider When Choosing a Goal-Setting Methodology

Now that you know plenty of options to choose from when setting goals, how do you know which one is right for your business plans? The method you and your team choose will depend on a few different factors within your organization. Consider these tips when deciding on and implementing a goal-setting methodology.

What Are You Trying to Achieve? 

Think about the needs of your organization. Some goal-setting methods are more specific than others, which can benefit you in different ways. If your organization has many goals you want to implement at the start of the new quarter or year, consider using TGOST or SMART goals. However, if your organization has several smaller goals you want to introduce, you can try the OKR or micro-goal methods. 

Keep in mind that just like progress, success is not always linear.

Keep in mind that just like progress, success is not always linear. You may try out a method of goal-setting that isn’t the best fit for your organization. In this case, you and your team should discuss which method will replace it or try out different ones to determine which one produces the best results.¬†

What Resources Do You Have? 

Ensure you have the necessary resources to implement the goal-setting method of your choice. Those resources could include various software, templates or other means of organizing¬†and managing your plans and initiatives with an integrated approach. If you have limited resources, you can add a new system, such as AchieveIt’s automated platform, to help you oversee these new goals.

This software can help you reduce lengthy manual processes while increasing visibility and accountability across your organization. Uniformity and alignment can improve execution, streamlining your goal-setting and implementation. 

Do You Have Transparency in Your Organization? 

Establish transparency throughout your organization to help you choose your goal-setting methodology. You need to initiate clarity before your team can decide on the best techniques. Is everyone on the same page? Do they understand the role they will play in reaching these goals?

Improving your operational planning and execution starts with generating consistent and efficient methods and maintaining them over time. 

Do You Have Incentives in Place? 

Consider what motivates you and your team to meet deadlines and surpass monthly numbers or milestones. This can help you break down the different types of goal-setting methodologies and find the one that works for you. For instance, does your team prefer one big reward or prize at the end of meeting your goal, or would they opt for smaller, incremental rewards as you slowly work your way to your target? 

Develop a list of incentives that your team would appreciate, such as gifts, performance bonuses, parties, raises, and office improvements. Incentives to overcome common challenges can also encourage collaboration across planning efforts to enhance your project management process. 

Learn How to Achieve SMART Goals With AchieveIt

Every organization needs goals to set the standards for what you wish to accomplish. Choosing the right methodology, like SMART goals, lets you customize your strategy to best fit your business motivation and needs. AchieveIt’s integrative platform molds to your demands, letting you see your goals and plans come to fruition.¬†

AchieveIt provides you with unique solutions, enabling you to track individual plan metrics, automate reports and dashboards while managing your plans in a single platform. Combine all of your desired tools into one place and see your vision become a reality. Request a free demo today to learn more about our services and solutions for your organization. 


Meet the Author  Chelsea Damon

Chelsea Damon is the Content Strategist at AchieveIt. When she's not publishing content about strategy execution, you'll likely find her outside or baking bread.

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