Setting and achieving objectives

Objectives have been in the news recently with the Covid-19 situation affecting the country. The two Government objectives attracting regular review from the media, have appeared to have varying levels of success. The objectives in question are the provision of Intensive Care beds and the number of tests completed in a day (100K).


The Intensive Care objective

Let’s look at the Intensive Care objective first. With an eye on the situation that affected Northern Italy, the Government was keen to avoid the same occurring in the UK. Plans were put in place and key venues around the country were selected to be converted into ‘Nightingale Hospitals’. There were a number of challenges to overcome; beds being the primary challenge. However, closely linked to that was the provision of ventilators. No good having one without the other!

The first Nightingale hospital was up and running on 3rd April with patients being received on 7th April. Pretty impressive given that the announcement was only made on 24th March. A string of other Nightingale hospitals followed across the UK. The Armed Forces were involved in the process and probably had been trained to deploy emergency hospital facilities in Theatres of War. The wards were specifically designed to care for people already intubated and ventilated at other London hospitals.

Not wishing to underplay the achievement, but there was experience, training and equipment to draw on to achieve this objective. I think it was a herculean effort and an overwhelming success.


Covid-19 Testing Objective

Contrast that to the providing testing for Covid-19. Testing is being perceived as essential to managing the pandemic. Given the performance of countries like Germany, where mass testing has been undertaken and a comparatively low death toll experienced, it seems like the right thing to do. An objective of 100K tests per day was set. The objective was set on 2nd April with a deadline of 30th April.

In this case, there was little to no experience to draw on with such a new virus, so it was not just a case of handing the job over to the Armed Forces. Achieving this objective depended on sophisticated testing facilities, marshalling huge numbers of samples, planning workflow through newly set up labs and providing results to the people tested. There was apparently little expertise to draw on, possibly affecting how the target would be achieved. It looks as though the target may have been met by 30th April, although this is still being debated! However, it has been awkward for the Government throughout April to report the progress, or lack of it, against this objective.


Lessons to learn

So, the lesson to learn from this is that when you set objectives, you need to understand what is involved and have some previous experience to draw on. It is then likely you will achieve your objective. If you have no previous experience or understanding, that objective will take more time, more effort and more resources to achieve it.

Finally, it is good to remember that objectives need to be SMART – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-Bound. If you need some help with setting (and achieving) your objectives then give us a call on 01284 330400. Or complete our Contact Me form and we’ll call you.