When an agency knows what it wants to accomplish and needs to improve, it can then establish goals, objectives and initiatives. Goals are the measurable outcomes an agency uses to monitor the impact of its efforts. Objectives focus on the general activities and efforts that will most likely lead to those outcomes. Initiatives are projects, both large and small, that an agency launches to support these activities. Some small and quickly achievable initiatives, such as a straightforward
communication effort, go far in addressing certain improvement areas. Goals, objectives and initiatives should address the full range of an agency’s assessment results, including resources (e.g., finances, technology, facilities, workforce capacity, front line practice and stakeholder relationships (e.g., partners, legislators, media).
For example, a goal might be to reduce child abuse. A related objective might be to improve the coping skills of families at risk and a related initiative might be to collaborate with community partners to deliver a family assistance program focused on abuse prevention. Another goal might be to reduce the high proportion of African American children entering foster care. A related objective might be to improve the objectivity of caseworker decisions and a related initiative
might be to revamp caseworker decision-making tools and techniques. Yet another goal might be to reduce staff turnover. A related objective might be to improve supervision and a related initiative might be to revamp supervisor selection and development techniques.
To strengthen follow-through and accountability, objectives and initiatives should translate into concrete action plans and
commitments. While an agency’s plan would not include these down to the individual employee level, it should do so for each distinct department or function in the age cy. In turn, these departments and functions would align their more specific projects and daily work plans to those identified here.
The final section of an agency’s plan should establish how progress will be measured and monitored.
When an agency monitors its plans and commitments with accurate data that measures what it truly
seeks to measure (validity) and then periodically reviews its plan progress, impact on the
measures, lessons learned and adjustments to make, its plan will be a vital, dust-free and “living”