Differences between Goal and Objective

GOALS AND OBJECTIVES

What are the differences between goal and objective? Goals and objectives are two terms which are most commonly used in businesses and organizations. However, people often confuse the two. These terms may sound similar but there is a huge difference between them. Basically, we can say that a goal is an idea and an objective is an action plan. The goal is something that you want to achieve and objective is a milestone on the way towards reaching that goal. Let’s jump into details on goals and objectives and discuss their differences.

So, what are goals?

Goals are defined as the achievements or results towards which effort and ambition are directed. For instance, in our childhood, all of us set some goals for our lives. To achieve these goals, we usually have an idea of a timeline so that we can reach what we want in a desired time. 

The term goal can be used in project management for the three most important target values such as time, performance and resources. Usually, a goal is the answer of what is the main target of the project.

Differences between goal and objective

What are objectives?

Objectives are defined as the targets that we want to achieve in a limited time. Hence, objectives are milestones that help us reach our goals. It is a step to reach something particular which is taken by an individual or a company. For instance, trying to have a good score to be offered admission to a university is an objective.

In project management, an objective should meet the decided budget, time and quality restrictions.

It is easy to measure the success of an objective. For instance, a company wants to increase its sales by 60% in the upcoming 6 months. The success can be easily measured after 6 months.

Differences between goal and objective

Comparison Chart

GoalsObjectives
Plan:Broad PlanNarrow Plan
Action:General actionSpecific action
Measure:Goals cannot be measured easilyObjectives can be measured easily
Time Frame:Long termShort or medium term
Principle:Based on ideasBased on fact
Example:Increase salesIncrease sales by 60% in the upcoming 6 months

Importance of Goals and Objectives

Setting goals helps you define the direction that a business will take. Because of that, goals must be consistent with your business strategies and missions. The language used for defining goals might be more sentimental than the one used in objectives. Goals allow business owners to consider conceptually.

At the same time, companies and organizations use objectives to measure their success and progress towards their goals. Without objectives, it seems that it would be impossible to reach the goals. Objectives should be motivational for business owners and employees. If your objectives are easy to write, that means your business is on the right way to achieve the goals. Let’s take a look at more differences between goals and objectives.

Differences between goal and objective

GoalsObjectives
A goal is a long term targetAn objective is a short term achievement
A goal is broad in scopeAn objective is narrow in scope
A goal is generalAn objective is specific
A goal is incorporealAn objective is corporeal
Goals are abstractObjectives are solid and concrete
It is hard to measure goalsObjectives can be measured easily
Goals are huge in sizeObjectives are small in size
Goals are endObjectives are end in themselves
Goals are the resultObjectives are the means to end
Goals start with ideasObjectives start with facts
Example: I want to discover something new in physicsExample: I will complete my degree project within 4 months

Differences between goal and objective

In Conclusion

Based on the discussion above, we can say that the differences between goals and objectives are clear. However, we can also see that objectives and goals are related to each other.

Objectives are the steps you need to take to achieve your goals. For example, you need to get a college degree to become an officer. We can say that objectives are the actionable parts of the goal.