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Creating Effective Goals

by | Apr 28, 2020 | Best Practices

Who does this guide apply to?

School Admin, School Super Admin, Portfolio Super Admin, Portfolio Admin, Educator, Portfolio Super Admin, Portfolio Admin

Innovare Impact Measure:
  • Develop a Theory of Action
  • Apply a Driver Diagram when setting goals
  • Complete 1 Goal, Cycle, and Action in Inno™

Setting effective goals is a critical component of leadership and continuous improvement in any organization. In this section, we will show you how Innovare leverages improvement science and organizational management best practices in order to support you, our partners, to have a measurable impact on the people you serve.

“Just as nature takes every obstacle, every impediment, and works around it […] – so, too, a rational being can turn each setback into raw material and use it to achieve its goal”
-Marcus Aurelius

An organization that wants to improve must not only collect but also use the data it has to impact positive and sustainable change. After careful data analysis, you and your team should develop a plan and set goals that set the strategic direction of your organization for the next cycle of improvement, allocate resources and align people to achieve results.

At Innovare, we use proven improvement science methods to support leaders set the right goals and ensure their organizations implement a process of continuous improvement. Two main components of our impact playbook are a Theory of Action and a Driver Diagram.

Here’s an example of a Theory of Action developed by one of our partner organizations:

As you can see, a Theory of Action or “ToA” is a logical if-then statement that summarizes the inputs and outputs of an organization’s strategy. A ToA articulates clearly the goals you and your team will achieve by breaking down the relationship between inputs and outputs in your work.

What’s a Driver Diagram?

A driver diagram is a visual representation of a system of improvement. It was originally used in the healthcare industry to facilitate strategic planning and is now a common tool of well-known leaders of improvement science methods such as the Carnegie Foundation

In a nutshell, driver diagrams are graphic organizers that can facilitate goal setting conversations in teams and can help individuals at various levels of an organization better understand how their work is aligned to the greater aim.

Bonus practice: The 5 whys protocol

Asking yourself “Why” 5 times in a row may not seem like the most sophisticated approach to problem-solving. However, by starting with some baseline data, asking why, and iterating the process several times, asking yourself “why” each time you come up with an answer, you may start to uncover some not so apparent drivers or root causes of your problem. Try it out at your next leadership meeting. This could prove to be a very useful tool for you and your team to focus conversations, set goals and implement successful plans.

Thank you for sharing!

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