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Article -> Concise Objective Provides Advantage

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Date Added: August 2007

As football season approaches, the man many football executives try to emulate reminds us why we follow our team so passionately:
"The objective is to win football games,” said Ron Wolf, former general manager of the Green Bay Packers. “That's the No. 1 objective – obviously within reason."
Concise and engaging, this objective remains a motivator for players, coaches, all Packers employees, and fans. Hardly random, it underscores why the organization’s people go to work daily. The main objective is the aligning principle impacting how success is achieved.
Objective aside, many organizations have vision or mission statements. A vision statement is your desired state – Super Bowl champions, for example. A mission statement says who you are and how you achieve your vision – such as “We are a world-class football team working together toward a common goal.”
Reaching the pinnacle of your organization’s success may not be as decisive as winning your industry’s “Super Bowl.” The ambiguity of success complicates the vision or mission, and in this complexity, these statements can be hard to understand or even recite. Therefore, a main objective becomes critical.
These characteristics are essential for a main objective:
1.      Be grounded in the reality of the organization’s present situation. If not conceivable, it
         fails to engage people. Financial milestones – similar to seasonal statistics – are not
         a “rallying cry” for people as an individual’s goal is not greater than team goals.
2.      Facilitate creative tension for the organization. There should be room for innovation,
         even healthy opposition, in successful corporate cultures.
3.      Result from the integrated thinking of the team, rather than a collection of individual
         objectives. The main objective expresses the organization’s needs and should always
         be team before self.
4.      Represent interests, including stakeholders, employees, customers and investors.  
         Why are we in business? Why do we do business with you? Why do we invest in your
         company? Answers to these questions must be authentic and clear.
5.      Invite and inspire people to want to bring it to fruition. Representing an organization
         that people want to be part of, the objective pushes people to measure their true
         organizational alignment.
Without a main objective, many organizations scramble to find a purpose. As the impetus of strategic planning, the main objective pushes people to understand, develop, and live up to their role in the organization. Hopefully, with enough people dedicated to the Packers’ objective, the Super Bowl is within reach.
This article was published in the Green Bay Press-Gazette on August 19, 2007.
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