Extra Point for the Win: How to Set Goals for Serious Success

by Kate Morrical
- Sep 27 2014 - 2 min read
how_to_set_goals
Micke Tong

You’ve probably already heard about writing SMART goals. But have you heard of GoalPOSTs? Not like football, but the analogy does ring true. It’s another framework for goal writing designed to help you define exactly what you want to accomplish. GoalPOSTs can help show you how to set goals.

As you may have guessed, POST is another acronym. It stands for Position, Opportunity, Strategy, and Tactics. Each of those words stands for a question, and the answers to those questions spell out your goal.

Here’s the basic idea behind each of the four points in a POST.

1. Position. Where are you now? What’s the current state of affairs for the issue you’re trying to solve? What’s going wrong? What’s going right? In the Position section, you’re just evaluating where things stand at the moment.

goal strategy

2. Opportunity. Where do you want to be? What does your ideal situation look like? What problems have been solved? You don’t have to know what the solutions are while you’re thinking about Opportunity. You just have to know where you want to go.

3. Strategy. How could we get there? What are some possible methods you can see for achieving your Opportunity state? You can have multiple Strategies per goal; just remember to keep them high-level.

4. Tactics. How will we get there? Now it’s time to get specific. What actions will you take to carry out your strategy? Again, you can have more than one Tactic per POST.

The distinction between the last two elements in a POST can be difficult to understand. The best explanation I’ve seen was on Brand Insight Blog: A strategy is an idea… A conceptualization of how the goal could be achieved. A tactic is an action you take to execute the strategy.

Examples. Let’s see how this might work in practice with a simple example. Maybe you want to go on vacation.

P. I’m in Washington, DC. It’s nice here, but it gets awfully hot in the summer.
O. I want to be in Maine. Can’t miss lobster season!
S. I could fly, or drive, or take the train. Flying is fastest, but then I’ll need to rent a car when I get there.
T. I will research flights and rental cars, then decide whether flying or driving will be best.

goalPOST setting

Here is another example. This one is BIM-related.

P. Our employees do not have sufficient knowledge of Revit to work efficiently.
O. If we were better at Revit, we could log more billable hours and increase our profit margins.
S. We could get training for our existing employees. We could also hire a Revit expert.
T. We will purchase a subscription to an online training program. We will also begin to advertise for a Revit technician in local media and online.

See how there are multiple strategies and tactics, in this case one tactic for each strategy? In a real POST, you might have several more, but you can see how the two sections align.

When you’re writing your POST, you don’t have to go in order. Maybe writing out some Tactics you want to use will help you define the Opportunity. Or maybe brainstorming on Opportunities will help you identify Positions. Whichever way you go, GoalPOSTs will help you get there!

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