Big Hairy ATTAINABLE Goals

Making New Years resolutions is not all bad. If you take Steve’s words of advice and make your resolutions positive statements with a clear mission, and break them down into concrete things you can do to reach that mission, a resolution to succeed could be the ticket to success.

In Chapter 1 of the book (pg. 11 to be exact), we list a few examples of initiatives that started out as Management Academy business plans. Here are some of the New Years resolutions that might have been the germs for those plans:

  • Deal with mental health issues in our community
  • Bring private practice behavioral health providers into the orbit of the public health department
  • Increase positive results for low-income, at-risk pregnant women
  • Decrease Medicaid costs for treatment of at-risk pregnant women
  • Provide training options for public health workforce development in Wisconsin
  • Increase physical activity in our community’s children
  • Help the family members of HIV-positive patients to get health care services
  • Improve waste water treatment in rural Virginia

Notice a few things:

  • Each of these resolutions is a positive statement of a concrete (not abstract) goal
  • Each resolution is a reasonable goal for a public health organization
  • Each resolution is easily broken down into specific objectives, tasks, plans

When we talk about BHAGs, the A stands for Audacious, but it could also stand for Attainable. Audacious is better, because it gets your attention, and it forces you to say WHAT should be done and WHY, without worrying too early about the WHO or HOW. But Attainable should be your next thought: WHO’s going to do it? HOW will they do it? And answer positively, as if the sky’s the limit, but stay concrete. WHO will do it? The 10 new people we’re going to hire. HOW will we hire them? By partnering with these potential stakeholders…. WHEN? Maybe not today, but by this particular date, if we do these particular things.

So don’t stop making resolutions. Just keep it real, as they say. And don't wait for January 1.