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What is the purpose of an Objective?

In this short video series, Peter Rogers from Mango Global discusses "what is purpose of objectives in your management system?" We have gathered compliance consultants from around the world to give you some helpful advice to ensure that your objectives that you set are effective for your organisation and not just ticking boxes for your external ISO Auditor.

This is the first video in a series of four compliance conversations around objectives.

Andrew, IRM Systems, Australia

All ISO management standards have a requirement in Section 10 for continual improvement.

Setting objectives allows us to identify what we're aiming to improve and develop a plan of action on how we are going to achieve that.

Chris, FQM Ltd, United Kingdom

One of the main purposes of objectives is to try and have an organisation going in the same direction and have everyone in the organisation on the same target, the same line, to try and achieve what the ultimate objective is for the business.

Gary, QSM Group, Australia

Within that context of management systems; be they safety systems, quality systems or integrated management systems, the purpose of the objective is to establish a focus for the continual improvement or development of the management system.

It's also a very effective way of engaging people within the organisation and providing them with a common sense of purpose.

Importantly, objectives that don't have clearly established accountabilities and plans with them, are found to be largely ineffective. Unfortunately, in too many management systems, that's the approach that's taken, just to make the auditors happy.

Nicholas, SRM, South Africa

The way that I look at objectives is they create structure and clarity for the organisation and for individuals. Either in the short-term or long-term goals, everybody needs a very clear picture of where they're going, and they also understand what they're going to be measured against.

Whether it be at an organisational level, or a job functional level, everybody needs objectives, they want to know:

  1. What they've got to do in the short term?

    1. What they've got to do in the long term?

    2. What they're going to be measured against?

For me, it's a key tool around creating clarity for the measurables for the organisation or the individual.

One of the key culture drivers in an organisation is where people know exactly what they've got to do and where they're going.

If there's a clear vision statement, and steps along the road, it's key to creating a good culture in an organisation.

Ben, Total Management & Training, Australia

An objective is set as a way for the company to guide where it's going to go.

We want to set some sort of pathway or road that we want to head down.

Those objectives can be set from market staff, or it could be set from internal objectives or key goals that you want to achieve.

Primarily, the places that I use objectives is when I'm setting up policies. A good policy should look back at the objectives and ensure you've covered it and have put some guidance in there on how to achieve those objectives.

Objective is a good tool to use when you are trying to make corporate decisions.

If a new business prospect is coming along, or there is a new market opening up to you, you need to sometimes make a call on whether you should pursue that and often objectives are a good way to measure that.

I’ll also mention that it should be used by all parts of your team.

Let's just say a senior manager isn't available and a critical decision has to be made, the members of the team should be able to go back to your objectives, and see if it's a key thing that they need to try and target.

Michael, Momentum Safety and Ergonomics, Australia

I think the purpose of an objective is to set a standard for what your company wants to achieve in a certain domain, be it quality, safety environment and different parts of those domains.

My experiences that most companies set their objectives because the standard tells them to, but if they do it, well, then they find that it actually does actually serve a purpose.

The honest truth is, for some the purpose of them is to so I can get my certification. But as we know, once you start doing things well, those systems actually start to improve the results of your company.

It's just basically to say:

  • Where do we want to be?

    • What do we want this particular part of our service to look like?

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