Friday, April 2, 2010

Goals v. Duties

Beware: Side rant ahead.

Goals. Every library system seems to have them. Every annual evaluation that I've had has included a "What are your goals for the coming year?" component. That's great -- we should have goals.

But here's the thing: it seems we frequently confuse goals with duties. If I say that my goal for the coming year is to provide good reference service to my community, that's admirable but it isn't a goal -- it's a duty. It's part of my job description. How lame is it that we routinely are allowed to say "My goal is to adequately do my job"?

Managers out there: please give your staff members some clear guidance on the difference between goals and duties. Duties are expected and required. Goals are things that include the coordinating of pieces that lie beyond my immediate control. If I can do it today, it isn't a goal.

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