The Crossover of Goals and Objectives

May 11, 2017 by in category Growth, Leadership tagged as , , , , with 0 and 0


Two of the most popular terms in business are goals and objectives. They are the words you come across in the initial chapter of many business books, article, journal, or paper. We hear people use them over and over again, often without very much thought to what they mean or how they are different.

This month, we will take a deeper look at creating a check-in point for businesses, starting with the clarification of the crossover between goals and objectives.

In professional life and personal as well, people talk a lot about goals, strategies, objectives, and tactics without actually defining or differentiating them correctly. As a business executive, you may choose to understand the difference, so that you know why you are doing what you are doing. Today, we will talk how understanding them can contribute significantly to your business success.

  • Goals are a broad outcome — what we wish to achieve in our business.
  • Strategy is the approach, or the path, we take to achieve our goals.
  • Objectives are the measurable steps we choose to take to execute our strategies.
  • Tactics are the tools and actions we employ to achieve objectives in line with strategies

Goals vs. objectives

Last month we discussed objectives in depth in Setting Objectives in Your BusinessLife. But what is the real difference between goals and objectives?

When you plan your business future, think about the big successes you want to achieve. These are your goals, and the milestones you set to achieve those goals are your objectives. These two terms, objectives and goals, are often used interchangeably, but they have different attributes. Each of them is used at various stages of the business lifecycle and serves a separate purpose.


A goal is what an executive intends to achieve in the future of a business. It is a clear statement of an outcome which will be achieved in the long term. A goal is a general, broad statement which can be difficult to quantifiably measure. It does not tell you how to do something, instead it describes what the results will look like.

Setting goals for a business helps define its direction, increase motivation level, and contribute to higher achievement levels. It is important, however, to set goals that always align with the vision and mission statements of your business.


Objectives are the steps you take to achieve your goals. They are concrete and require particular action to be taken. Objectives are time-bound and can be obtained within a specific time frame. Setting clear objectives is about being SMART, meaning that it is

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Relevant
  • Time-bound

SMART objectives create a benchmark that you can measure and control to achieve your final outcome. The more clear you are about your goal, the easier it will be to set SMART objectives. Without clarity, you risk setting objectives that are misguided.

Your objectives should paint a clear picture. There should be no confusion or question about what your target is. Each individual on the team should be able to understand what the company objectives are and what is expected of each employee. The language for setting objectives should be kept as simple as possible so everyone can comprehend them.

A company’s objectives should be challenging yet achievable. You may want to reach for the stars, but is your team on your side? Do they feel unmotivated because the objective feels too big to achieve? How can you choose an objective that keeps them engaged?

Key differences


  • This is the long-term purpose you want to achieve
  • Based on ideas
  • Long-term
  • Difficult to measure
  • Require generic action
  • The end results you aim to achieve


  • These are the steps you take to reach your goals
  • Based on facts
  • Medium- to short-term
  • Easily measurable
  • Require specific action
  • Serve as a means to an end

Marcus Coaching as an example

Here at Marcus Coaching, we are in the process of growing and expanding our business. Marcus Coaching is growing in the U.S. as well as abroad. With that, let’s take a look at Marcus Coaching as an example of goals and objectives.

  • Goal: Make BusinessLife Global Coaching a category leader in sales revenue by the year 2020.
  • Strategy: Persuade potential clients that our business coaching methods are the best by associating with well-established businesses and life coaches.
  • Objective: To get to 70 percent or more of the active Business and Life coaching market, according to International Coaching Federations benchmark report.
  • Tactic: Through creative content that underlies our messaging, leverage coach partner brand awareness to include key messages about the BusinessLife Global Coaching program.

The goals we set at Marcus Coaching will help guide the business in the future — what it looks like, what decisions are made, and who is brought onto the team. The strategies, objectives, and tactics set are the concrete parts of the plan, and what we will measure as our results.


There is a difference between goals and objectives, but objectives are the steps that you need to take to achieve your goal. Objectives are part of a goal. Goals, on the other hand, form a long ambition that direct you to the destination that you want to see yourself at after a period of time. Conversely, objectives are short-term targets that you set to achieve or complete in a fixed time.

Whether you are deciding your long-term business strategies or short-term seasonal milestones, understanding the difference between goals and objectives is tantamount to business. Both need to be clearly defined, and understanding the difference between goals, objectives, strategies, and tactics is key to a successful business planning.


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