47 years ago yesterday – July 20, 1969 Apollo 11 landed on the moon with Americans Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin. 

In the 50’s the stated goal of NASA was:  

“Leading the World in Space Exploration.”

Then John F. Kennedy became President and changed the NASA’s Goal to:  

“Land a man on the moon and return him safely to earth before this decade is out.”

What was the difference between the two goals?

The first goal certainly sounds noble enough – but what is missing?

What does the second goal have that the first does not?

May I suggest that the second answers the 3 simple questions that every goal should answer:

X to Y by When?

  • X?   Where are you at now?  What is your current reality?
  • Y?   Where do you want to go?  What will be your finish line?
  • By When?  When is the exact date you want to cross the finish line by?

Let’s run the 1950s NASA Goal through the test:  “Leading the World in Space Exploration.”

  • X?  What is the current reality?  Unknown
  • Y?  Where do you want to go?  Vague  What will be your finish line?  Undetermined
  • By When?  Unknown.

Neil-Armstrong-on-the-moon-1969Let’s run John Kennedy’s NASA Goal:   “Land a man on the moon and return him safely to earth before this decade is out.”

  • X?  What is the current reality?  Earth – no American had been to space
  • Y?  Where do you want to go?   Land a man on the moon and return him safely to earth
  • By When?  December 31, 1969

Which decade would you have wanted to work for NASA?  The 50’s or the 60’s?

In which decade was the Goal crystal clear?  The 50’s or the 60’s?

Please pull out your goals – personal and organizational.   Do they clearly answer the 3 simply questions of  X to Y by When?

If Yes – please pat yourself on the back!

If No – how can you restate them so that they will answer the 3 simple questions of X to Y by When?

What will be the benefits to you and your organization if you Goals are all written so that “X to Y by When?” is clearly stated?

What are the benefits of having a clearly stated “Finish Line?”

 (Personal Note – July 20, 1969 was also the day I asked the Best Question of my life when I asked Sherry Faulkner to be my bride!   She said “Yes!” And this coming December 21 we will celebrate our 47th Anniversary) 

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2 thoughts on “Would You Like to Know 3 Simple Questions to Sharpen Your Goal Setting Skills?

  1. Lisa Yetman says:

    First off, congratulations on your upcoming anniversary! My husband and I passed our 35th in April of this year.
    I can relate to this article, Bob, since I am trying to make some changes in my life to benefit or future, and your post helped me see that I need to become more concrete in my goals –or rather, taking the path to reach my goal! Thank you for shining a light onto that path!

    1. Bob Tiede says:

      Thanks Lisa! And Congratulations on your 35th Wedding Anniversary! Lisa have you heard that just writing down your goals dramatically increases the probability that you will reach them?

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