Goals and solutions

The difference between goals and solutions are clear. Goals are what you want in relation to the problem, while solutions are what you want independent of the problem.


Working with management teams and individuals to create plans and strategies. Sometimes we get stuck between goals and solutions; they are different.

Goals are what you want in relation to the problem.

You have identified a problem; for example, the existing management staff is too busy doing detailed daily work. The work is being completed late, is over budget, and is below quality standards.

The goal is something you would create in relation to this problem.

  • Development management staff to improve systems and coach subordinates on workflow to develop goal-setting expectations. The existing amount of time managers will measure this spend on front-line work vs. developing management systems, as well as accountability distinctions made by managers-once-removed and executive directors to mentor and coach for the continued development of management skills.
Solutions are what you want independent of the problem.

Using the same problem stated above…the solution may be different.

  • Ensure that we have managerial support to handle the complexity level necessary in that role.
  • Develop boundaries of accountability and authority supported by a shared organizational structure.
  • Create small experiments to see how we can better match skills and current actual capacity with the level of work.
  • Examine our placement and role descriptions and relationship process. Developing a known and solid placement of the people with the skills who have support to work through the complexity of the role.
So What?

While descriptions sound similar, the approach and view are different.

The problem starts with What is wrong and how to fix that problem? It is dependent upon the problem. That is thinking you have identified the problem correctly, and the problem you think is the problem is the problem.

The solution starts with What should be happening, and when it happens, how will we know? We believe the problem is systemic, interactive, and manageable, then determine what the solution would look like and how to continue to build upon what we know to continuous improvement.

Now What?

Both the goal and the solution are helpful. Neither is better than the other. Working with your team and yourself to think about the dependency on the problem vs. the independence you can see with the solution is an emergent way of viewing what works.