Goals are the end toward which state planning is directed and should give a clear picture of the direction the Aging Network is going. Goals are broad statements that cut across agency programs. It is important, at the same time, to make them specific and measurable. At the end of the state planning cycle, a SUA or AAA should be able to know if it has reached the goals it has set for itself. Keep in mind, however, that goals typically are articulated in long-range terms. A specific goal, thus, will not necessarily be fully accomplished during the planning period.
Objectives identify concrete milestones to be accomplished in reaching a specific goal. State Plan objectives can cross program boundaries or be program-specific. Objectives are expected to clearly state what is going to be accomplished within a specified time frame, and, thus, are more likely to be accomplished within the state planning cycle than are goals.
Less is more when it comes to setting goals and objectives. State and AAA Plans on Aging should be written such that:
- A goal is attainable even though it may not be possible to accomplish within the current planning cycle.
- Each objective is tied to a particular goal. Accomplishment of each objective is a measure of progress toward goals.
- Goals and objectives should be written in clear and concise language, using strong action verbs, and few, if any, descriptors.
- Internal stakeholders
- Program participants
- Tribal Organizations
A Planning Work Group representing the above interests might be convened to draft the goals and objectives. The Work Group could be convened for one or more face-to-face meetings or do its work through e-mail exchanges. A combination of approaches could also be used. The Planning Work Group can be involved on different aspects and at different levels of decision-making. For example:
- The Work Group could review major issues, needs, assets, and barriers identified through the internal and external scans, as a basis for developing broad goal statements and objectives.
- As an alternative to the above process, staff could develop a "first cut" of the goals and objectives for Work Group consideration. The Work Group could then be invited to finalize and prioritize the goals and objectives.
A third option is for staff to develop a final draft of the goals and objectives, and invite the Planning Work Group to prioritize the issues to be addressed in the Plan.
Key Decision Points
- Mission & Values
- Environmental Scanning
- Issues Identification
- Needs Identification
- Assets Identification
- Barriers Identification
- Goals & Objectives
- Outcomes & Performance Measurement
- The Plan