You can't get lost if you don't know where you're going.
In planning any kind of a road trip, common sense dictates that we initially search out our destination and then plot backward to our starting point. When we're ready for the trip, we already have identified our objective as the destination point. Depending on the length of the journey, we may have also defined some subgoals or stopover points along the way.
It is wise to do similar planning for every training effort in which you are engaged. And yet, as startling as it may seem, far too many training programs are started every day with little if any idea as to what the end goal or objective might be.
It's been said that you can never be lost if you don't really know where you're going! While that may be true, it's a sorry state to be in when it comes to human resource development.
It is incumbent on each of us to know precisely what the end product or training objective of each session and program is before the training actually starts. It is equally important for the participants to recognize that we have defined goals toward which we are all driving. Only then can we have a fruitful and rewarding journey.
The terms goals and objectives are often used interchangeably. One dictionary definition states:
goal: an end or objective
objective: something worked toward or striven for: a goal
For our purposes, however, we have elected to differentiate between these terms. We suggest that a training goal be a general statement of what the training is intended to accomplish.