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What is a Goal Setting Framework?

Setting goals is crucial because it enables you to concentrate your time and efforts on the things that are important to you. It assists you in determining your goals and developing a strategy to attain them.

What is a Goal Setting Framework?

Published on:

12 Mar 2024

Goal Setting Framework – Definition and Importance

Setting goals entails choosing what you want to accomplish and creating quantifiable targets and timeframes to support that goal. Setting goals is crucial because it enables you to concentrate your time and efforts on the things that are important to you. It assists you in determining your goals and developing a strategy to attain them. Additionally, it aids with motivation and progress measurement. You can raise your chances of success and enhance your general wellbeing by creating goals.

Goal Setting Frameworks explain how goals should be set and how they should be accomplished in a step-by-step manner. It involves setting milestones for ourselves by developing strategies to help us keep true to our goals. When used in the workplace, it can increase employee engagement, provide clear guidelines, enhance performance and encourage continuous improvement.

“Goals are the fuel in the furnace of achievement.” – Brian Tracy

Short Background on Goal Setting

A 1935 study by Cecil Alec Mace, which was discussed in Ryan and Smith’s Industrial Psychology textbook and later in Ryan, served as the inspiration for goal-setting. Mace investigated how various assigned performance goals affected task performance. Midway through the 1960s, Edwin A. Locke started exploring goal setting. He worked on the topic for more than 30 years. He discovered that people who set precise, challenging goals outperformed people who set broad, simple goals. Locke borrowed Aristotle’s concept of final causality as the inspiration for goal-setting.

Meanwhile, Peter Drucker, a management guru, introduced “management by objectives” in 1954. Under this strategy, employees and their boss would agree on a set of goals and work to achieve them throughout the year.

Locke and Latham’s Goal Setting Theory

In their efforts to research goal-setting, Locke and Latham worked both individually and jointly. Locke published their findings in 1968. These results demonstrated that people are motivated by both sensible goals and positive feedback. Later, Latham reported further findings that supported Locke’s findings.

Later, Locke and Latham worked together on the subject. Their well-known work, “A Theory of Goal Setting and Task Performance,” was released in 1990. They described Locke and Latham’s goal-setting theory and their five guiding principles in this book.

The five guiding principles for goal setting are as follows:

1. Clarity – The goal needs to be clear, specific, and well-defined.

2. Challenge – Goals need to be challenging to be motivating.

3. Commitment – Commitment to goals keeps you focused and is a key factor for success.

4. Feedback – Feedback improves confidence and motivation and encourages the completion of goals and objectives.

5. Task Complexity – Goals must be set at the right level of complexity. Complex tasks and objectives should have multiple goals.

Goal Setting Frameworks Examined

GROW Model

The GROW model is a simple goal-setting framework that helps individuals set and achieve their goals. It was developed in the United Kingdom and has been used considerably from the late 1980s and 1990s in corporate coaching.

GROW is an acronym that stands for:

G – Goal

R – Reality

O – Obstacles / Options

W – Way Forward

An example we can use is with increase in sales as shown in the table below.


To triple my current daily sales in my food business.


Currently, my daily sales is S1000



I do not offer delivery; no online ordering.

Check local drivers I can partner with; see about setting up a website or Facebook Page

Way Forward

Contact drivers to deal with delivery.

Set-up Facebook Page

Set-up Facebook Ads


The Management by Objectives philosophy popularized by Peter Drucker is the foundation of the goals-based structure known as Objectives and Key Results, or OKRs. Andy Grove, who was the CEO of Intel at the time, developed the idea by including a vital results component in the 1970s. The theory was that by connecting objectives to quantifiable key performance indicators (KPIs), individuals would be held responsible for tracking and achieving their objectives.

As the name implies, developing an OKR begins with determining your main objective, then the key results you’ll use to gauge your performance. It can be done using this simple template:

“I will (objective) as measured by (key result).”

Using the earlier example in the OKR template, it can be written in this manner:

“I will make S3000 daily sales within 3 months by making $1000 off food deliveries and making $1000 from new customers Facebook Ads.”


The SMART goal framework was conceptualized by George Doran in 1981 with its easy-to-remember acronym:

S – Specific

M – Measurable

A – Attainable

R – Relevant

T – Timely or Time-bound

Using the previous example of weight loss, here are the SMART Goals


Triple my daily sales in my food business


Make $ 3000 daily sales by adding food delivery and driving new customers using Facebook Ads


Contact drivers who can deliver; study Facebook Ads and managing Facebook Page


Increase sales can mean I can expand my kitchen.

Timely or Time-bound

Achieve this goal in 6 months


MBO is a goal-setting framework that Peter Drucker made popular with his book in the 1950s. It entails establishing particular, quantifiable objectives for people or teams, followed by routinely monitoring progress and offering feedback. MBO goals are frequently centered on medium- to short-term objectives, paying close attention to the team’s goals and creating a coherent plan around them.

The manager and their teams agree upon the goals under MBOs, enabling time for the exchange of input and suggestions at the start of the process. Finding the team’s goals is the first step in the process. Additionally, the manager delegated tasks and made sure that everyone was encouraged and supported.


BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goals) is a goal-setting framework that is designed to help individuals and businesses set ambitious goals. The term was first coined in 1994 by Jim Collins and Jerry Porras in their book “Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies.” BHAGs are organization-sized stretch goals that are nearly impossible to complete but can drive companies and organizations to think big and create long-term success.

BHAGs can be categorized into four groups:

· Role Model – model after a successful and well-known company

· Common Economy – overcome industry leaders so you become the leader

· Targeting – setting a clearly defined objective, such as becoming a Fortune 500 company

· Internal Transformation – used by large, established companies to restructure their systems, processed or positioning.


This acronym stands for “think Big, act Small, move Quickly.” Using this framework, large objectives are planned by achieving small achievements that lead quickly to the goal.

Setting goals is using the BSQ framework is quite simple because it involves only three things:

· Set a goal for yourself. (Think Big)

· Establish a timeline of smaller accomplishments to achieve. (Act Small)

· Set a manageable deadline. (Move quickly)


The secret to success is to consistently work for your goals. It’s a system for defining goals that enables you to prioritize your objectives in order to accomplish them and maintain your progress. Goal-setting frameworks might be complicated tools at times, but they can help you organize your objectives and generate creative goal-setting ideas. These goal-setting frameworks can assist team managers in coming up with creative concepts for generating goals that their team members will love.

“What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.” – Michelangelo Buonarroti, Renaissance artist‍

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