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Goal Setting in the Workplace: Filter to Make the Right Choices

Goal setting in the workplace requires making choices about how best to use limited resources. Having thought about the future you’ll quite probably have too many ideas.

These ideas will no doubt compete for time, both with each other and with what you’re currently doing. There’s always more to be done, in or out of work, than time allows! So you need to screen for the best ideas and the best processes.

Goal Setting in the Workplace is part of our series on Business Goal Setting : Using the “F-Plan”. The series consists of a structured process designed to help you improve your business planning and goal setting. Think about goal setting in terms of:

1 – Future: Company Goal Setting: Two Kinds of Future.
2 – Filter: Goal Setting in the Workplace: Filter to Make the Right Choices.
3 – Frame: Frame Your Goal Setting Plans.
4 – Focus: Goal Setting Strategies are Underpinned by Focus.
5 – Fast: Goal Setting Exercise – Are You Fast Enough?
6 – Faith: Goal Setting Facts Need Faith.


Goal Setting in the WorkplaceAs we often advocate here on the Happy Manager, the first key to success often rests in asking yourself some questions. Try these to begin with:

  • What do you do well now, that can sow the seed for future success?
  • Which of your past business goals have you successfully met? How? Why? What did you learn from those successes?
  • Do you have the capacity and capability to realise the future ?

Deciding what you are going to do is important but it’s often as useful to decide what you won’t be doing. To give time to your “future” ideas, perhaps some things need to stop!

Part of your approach to goal setting in the workplace should be to review and perhaps stop aiming for some goals you’ve previously set. Or try clarifying where you don’t want your business to go, regardless of other pressures. Here are some more questions to begin with:

  • What are you going to stop doing?
  • What no longer fits your needs, or those of your customers, or markets?
  • What products, markets, areas for development will you definitely not be interested in?

The Three Filter Tests

Peter Drucker proposed three criteria for assessing new ideas. To help you screen your ideas try applying these three filter tests:

  1. Operational validity – can you take action on this idea, or can you only talk about it? Can you really do what’s needed realise the kind of future you desire?
  2. Economic validity – will the idea produce acceptable economic results? What would be the early indicators that it was working?
  3. Personal commitment – do you really believe in the idea? Do you really want to be that kind of people, do that kind of work, and run that kind of business?

Goal setting in the workplace is about making clear choices. Both about what you are going to do, and about what you are not going to do. Filtering those choices helps to ensure you set goals that you can resource properly, and that have the best chance of making the future you desire a reality.

Following our Happy Manager F-plan, to help get your goal setting into shape? Then your next step is to think about how to frame your Goal Setting Plans.


Now put goal setting in the workplace to work!

Find our how in our e-guide: SMART Goals, SHARP Goals. The guide contains 30 pages and 5 tools to help you to set SMART goals, then take SHARP action to achieve them. It includes:

  • How do you define goal setting?
  • What features of goal setting are important, if we want to ensure they are more likely to be successfully achieved?
  • What kinds of goals are more likely to make us motivated to achieve them?
  • How do you set SMART goals?
  • Why do goals matter?
  • What kind of goals should you pursue to be happier in what you do?
  • How do you set team goals?
  • What strategies can you apply to overcome barriers to setting goals?
  • How do you develop SHARP plans of action that help you to achieve your goals?
  • What techniques can you use to get things done?
  • How do you set personal goals?


  • Tool 1: Conventional goal setting
  • Tool 2: Setting SMART goals that motivate
  • Tool 3: The kind of goals that will make you happier
  • Tool 4: Taking SHARP action
  • Tool 5: Team goals flowchart
  • Tool 6: Eight personal goal setting questions

Goal Setting Resources

You can find more of our goal setting resources by reading our featured pages (below).

Goal setting in the workplace

You’ll find our new e-guide: SMART Goals, SHARP Goals is a fantastic, goal setting resource. It’s packed with advice and tools – use it to help you set SMART goals then take SHARP actions to achieve them!

One of our affiliate partners also has an excellent, on-line, goal setting resource. GoalsOnTrack is a “personal success system that will help you really accomplish goals by getting the right things done”.



Where to go from here:


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