Posts Tagged goals

directly responsible individual

Apple’s term for the owner of something – who is the directly responsible individual DRI.

This concept helps to drive accountability, and combat diffusion of responsibility


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what’s the difference between a janitor and the VP?

Reasons, situations and excuses all matter in some jobs, and are acceptable at certain seniority levels. Achieving goals, regardless of the situation matters more and more with seniority.

“Jobs imagines his garbage regularly not being emptied in his office, and when has asks the janitor why, he gets an excuse: the locks have been changed, and the janitor doesn’t have a key. This is an acceptable excuse coming from someone who empties trash bins for a living. The janitor gets to explain why something went wrong. Senior people do not. “When you’re the janitor”, Jobs has repeatedly told incoming VPs, “ reasons matter.” He continues: “Somewhere between the janitor and the CEO, reasons stop mattering.” That “Rubicon, “ he has said “ is crossed when you become a VP.”

quote from Fortune on Apple

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victory conditions = effective goals

Many board games have clear victory conditions that encourage you to play (& maximize) within the rules to achieve a specific goal. They offer an end point in what might otherwise be an endless treadmill.

Goals offer the same end point in projects. If you don’t have a goal, you won’t know when to stop. If you don’t have a well thought through goal, you might use the opportunities that occur to achieve an outcome that isn’t required.

With investments, if you don’t have a goal set, you don’t know when to stop and take the benefit (or minimize the loss) of that investment. Holding on to investments might pay off, and it might not… a goal focuses your attention on making a decision.

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understanding goals

Dreams - Goals - Tasks


A dream is big, demanding and aspirational.  It is the why that provides the purpose behind activity. It is not something that you can directly do.

Projects needs a dream, a vision to inspire and a purpose to guide all activity.


Goals are the tangible outcome of actions, on a journey to achieving a dream. A goal should be framed in terms of achievement and outcome, rather than actions that need performing. It is the result not an action.

Setting goals is critical to delivery of projects. A goal communicates the destination & benefit and not the specific steps required to achieve the goal. Goals should be demanding enough to challenge & stretch, more than slack – offering no challenge, and without being too extreme & straining. (Slack – Stretch – Strain)

Goals are empowering, they leave autonomy in the route chosen to achieving them. They are the building blocks of project management and successful delivery.

Focus all of your attention on understand the right goals, when you are planning.


Tasks are smaller steps, the actions and the activities that get you to a goal.

Tasks are what you do, work itself and should get all of the attention during execution.

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goals follow dreams


“Let’s not get confused at the difference between a goal and a dream. A goal is something measurable, trackable, and is built on analytics. Goals have realistic timelines, are measured by weighing the data, the risks, and the current assets. They are essential to success, but they follow dreams. A dream is bigger–it has no boundaries, rules, or past history. It’s focused on transforming business as we know it, and approaching from a direction never pursued–or at least never attained. In dreams, we seek the outstanding change–not just within the products we create but in the results those products inspire.”

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it’s all about outcomes

Outcomes vs. Activity

“…all about outcomes — and not activities.
Focusing on what really matters is a difficult-to-achieve skill in our “attention deficit disorder” world.
…we tend to look at both activities and outcomes as accomplishments.”

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