Texas Tech University

Student Organization's Goal Setting

Goals provide direction to student organizations. They enhance their operation, contribute to group maintenance and development and give group members a sense of cohesion. The process of setting goals should be tailored to each organization. Some benefit by using a highly structured goal setting process, while others prefer a more informal process.

Definitions In Goal Setting

  • Mission: A statement defining a group's function and purpose
  • Goal: Broad, abstract statements describing an ideal state, or condition
  • Objectives: Specific statements which describe desired behavior in measurable terms and acceptable performance.

Advantages of Goal Setting

  • Provides clear objectives
    • People work better if they know what their goals are
    • People have clear ideas about what they hope to accomplish
    • Progress is measured in terms of what one is trying to make progress towards
    • Intrinsic goals produce more energy than extrinsic goals; therefore, people will work better if they set the goals for their own jobs
    • People are more comfortable in their job situation when they know how they will be evaluated.
  • Allows for feedback
    • Reinforces the principles of participatory management, establishes the proper environment for constructive feedback and enhances communication between the individual and the officers
    • Facilitates a fair and clear evaluation of performance of the organization

Characteristics of Organization Goals

  • Realistic, attainable and feasible, yet provides challenge and growth
  • Target date for completion
  • Measurable results
  • Clear, specific, and understandable
  • Meaningful, relevant and beneficial
  • Flexible with more than one method of attainment
  • Created by all members
  • Beneficial to all members

Process of Goal Setting

  • Why - Clarify the needs and purposes that are the basis of the set goal
  • What- Generate possibilities and narrow down the alternatives
  • When - Specify when planning the work sessions and when the actual event will take place
  • Where - Determine locations of events
  • Who- Delegate responsibilities equally to all members
  • How - Decide how to implement the selected alternatives


Planning is the process of laying out a course of action to achieve a goal.

  • Goal - What is the overall result to achieve by executing this plan? The goal should include a target date for start-up and completion.
  • Objectives - Each objective should state the result desired. Distinguish between long range and short range objectives.
  • Assumptions - What are the factors that may affect the plan as it unfolds? What is the degree of probability that they will?
  • Resources - What is needed to carry out the plan? Resources include money, people, machines, materials, time, experience, and energy.
  • Constraints - What are the limitations to achieving the goal? Constraints may be limitations on resources or outside considerations.
  • Tasks - What activities need to be undertaken to achieve the goal? How long will they take? Who will do them? What resources are needed for each task?
  • Schedule - Which tasks need to be done in sequence, or that can be done in a parallel? Are deadlines realistic?
  • Implementation - Begin the plan.
  • Evaluation - What are the milestones? What cross checks are needed to assure that tasks will be done properly?
  • Recycle the Process - Other planning needed to reach the next goal? Is there more planning needed for a complicated step of the plan?

Goal Setting Tips

  • Schedule time wisely
  • Make a "To Do" list
  • Update goals as plans change