Goals, Strategies, Objectives, and Tactics

W. Ian O'Byrne
Sep 30, 2016 · 2 min read
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Whether you’re working on a grant proposal, lesson plans, or planning for a project, it is important to write a clear account of your plan of action.

This plan may break down into component parts of goals, strategies, objectives, and tactics.

GOAL — A broad primary outcome.

STRATEGY — The approach you take to achieve a goal.

OBJECTIVE — A measurable step you take to achieve a strategy.

TACTIC — A tool you use in pursuing an objective aligned with your strategy.


Most times we will include goals and objectives in written reports or proposals…but keep the strategies and tactics for our own information. Let’s look a bit more at goals and objectives.

A goal is a brief, clear statement of an outcome to be reached within a specific timeframe. A goal is a broad, general, tangible, and descriptive statement. It does not say how to do something, but rather what the results will look like. It is measurable in terms of quality and quantity.

A goal is an outcome statement that defines what you are trying to accomplish at a large scale both programmatically and organizationally.

In comparison, an objective is specific, measurable, actionable, realistic, and time-bound. It is a series of objectives that must be attained to accomplish specific goals. Objectives define the actions that must be taken to reach the goal.

The SMART chart below may help you consider elements of your objectives.

S — Specific — What EXACTLY do you want to achieve?

M — Measurable — How will you know when you have achieved it?

A — Attainable — Is it something that you have control over?

R — Relevant — Is it applicable to the place you are in your life right now?

T — Time-Bound — What is your deadline?

A goal is where you want to be and objectives are the steps taken to reach the goal.


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