In the 50’s the stated goal of NASA was:  “Leading the World in Space Exploration.”

Then John 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.

Let’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?”

Who would you like to share these “3 Simple Questions to Sharpen Your Goal Setting Skills” with?
So, What do You Think of Today’s Post?



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

  1. Steve Morgan says:

    Great post, Bob. Very simple and practical. Thanks.

    You are most welcome Steve! What would you add? Bob Tiede

  2. Paul Cheese says:

    I love this, Bob. I am (in the words of Winnie the Pooh) “a bear of very little brain” so Im perpetually looking for ways to simplify the things we do. This is a really great example of simple goal setting in a format that’s really easy to remember! Thanks Bob

  3. Paul, my pleasure! I love “simple!” If “Leading with Questions” requires a PHD in “Questionalogy” then I am never going to get there! So what other simple, but powerful questions have you discovered? Bob Tiede

  4. terry morgan says:

    Very helpful, Bob! i was just talking with a team yesterday about the importance of strategic planning – specific goals that help to filter options & designate resources. The only thing I might add would be the personal element… WHO is going to help me get to the goal?

  5. Terry–“Who?” is a great addition! Who? What? By When? Bob Tiede

  6. Stephen Adu-Amoani says:

    Hi Bob,
    I like this and will put it into practice. Thanks.

  7. Stephen, You are most welcome!

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