The Difference Between Goals, Objectives and Outcomes

The terms “goals”, “objectives”, and “outcomes” are often used interchangeably, but they are not actually synonymous. An objective is a specific result to be achieved within a specific time frame. A goal is a measurable end result. A goal is broader in scope, generally including one or more objectives. For example, a goal might be “increase profits”. An objective might be a specific promotion designed to increase sales, and thereby increase profits. An outcome is the assessment of the actual results achieved by an activity against the intended results.

Reflect on these key points:

  • 1Goals tend to be sweeping in nature and much broader than objectives, which tend to be narrower and doable within a specific time-frame.
  • 2An outcome refers to the measurable result of an activity and it’s observable and quantifiable evaluation.
  • 3Understanding first what a desired outcome is makes a goal far more relevant and possibly more achievable.

“One of the big takeaways from the workshop was the difference between goals, objectives, and outcomes.”

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