Setting Your Goals – Planning your runway

by | Aug 8, 2018 | 0 comments

In our last post we looked at drawing our vision for the future, putting some colour on it so that the mind starts to see that it is real and looking at ways in which we can start to imagine being in that future and the steps we need to take to get there.  Setting your goals by having a vision is one thing but we also need to set the tasks you have to take so that you can reach your vision for the future.

Next up we need to put those steps onto a runway, this part of the whole exercise really appeals to the logical ones amongst you as you get a chance to put in the steps that need to be taken as opposed to just thinking about the future. In our creative and design thinking workshops we do a lot around divergent and convergent thinking.  We look at how generating as many ideas as possible leads to greater insights into the problem you are looking at but then by designing a set of metrics to measure the quantitive and qualitative nature of each idea you can hone in on specific ideas that will meet the criteria, or allow you to combine ideas so that you meet the criteria you are measuring against.  Well this exercise is build along the same lines.

One thing to remember though is that our runway is for the length of time we specified into the future.  Thus we looked at where you will be 1 year from now and so our runway will look at what you need to do to and by when to get to your vision.  At this stage we are not concerned with the future past 1 year – we will look at this in a later series of articles, but for now it is just the duration of the vision.

What you need is a sheet of paper, the bigger the sheet of paper the better.  When we do this in our training sessions we give each person 2 sheets of flip chart paper.  The reason for making so big is that it is best when you put it on a wall along with your vision.  Then you can see the steps you need to take and the end goal. The more we visualise something the greater the chance we have of reaching your goal.

Now that you have your piece of paper you need to fold it lengthwise. Then fold the lengthwise part in half and in half again.  You should end up with 8 sections.

As you will notice I’ve marked off the centre line – this is our runway – and noted where we are now, 3 months, 6 months, 9 months and 1 year. The top part of the paper we use for the professional / work actions that need to happen at each stage and the bottom half of the paper we use to personal / environmental actions that need to happen. What we are doing here is a mini SWOT analysis if you like only with the Strengths and Weaknesses – the items that we do have control over – and not the Opportunities and Threats – the items that we have no control over.

So now on your sheet of paper mark what needs to happen and by what time it needs to happen. Think about when you need to start something so that you can finish it in time and also if any tasks need to be completed before you can start another associated task. I would suggest that you initially put each separate task onto a Post-it note as you will need to rank each task in order of importance and also if a task is associated with another task then you might need to move things around.

As you can see what we have done here is to create a Project Management schedule to reach our goal. By separating the professional and personal the mind can work on each separately.  If we had combined them together it would have been easier for the mind to get confused. Work away with this until you are happy with it.  List out the resources that you need to get you to where you want to go to and also the people you need to contact to make it happen. Now that you have your project plan, put it on the wall and the next time we will look at transferring this onto a digital system so that you can share the relevant tasks with the relevant people.  Having to be accountable to someone else also makes sure that we are more committed to completing the task ourselves so don’t be afraid about getting other people involved.  No matter what we do we always need other people on our team.

One of the first tasks that I always get any group to do is to highlight the fact that we can’t work solo, that we need people to collaborate with, to work in a team with, people who have better skills in certain areas than we do and people who can challenge us.  If you want to try this task yourself, try making a paper airplane with your wrong hand only on your own.  When 2 of you are making one with your wrong hands all of a sudden the task becomes easier and its the same with our vision. Get others to buy into our vision and all of a sudden we have a great chance of reaching that vision.

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Ian Oliver

Ian Oliver

Head of Artistic & Creative Entrepreneurship


Building change for Sustainable Creative Careers

Ian has over 15 years’ senior management and entrepreneurial experience in the Arts, creative and technology Sectors and 4 years’ experience working with Local Government, Local Enterprise Offices, Local Arts Offices, Arts Organisations and Venues, Universities, Businesses and Community Groups throughout Ireland, auditing and engaging the artistic and creative community within specific geographic regions.

Currently Ian is working on advising and designing sustainable projects that utilise art and creativity as the main driver to effect sustainable economic and social change.  He also teaches and mentors artistic and creative entrepreneurship training to adult learners and undergraduate students.

Ian’s experience includes developing and implementing business / career / marketing strategies, marketing, business development, digital media, digital content creation, communications, project management, developing business, marketing and digital media strategies and implementation, project development, management and budgeting, resource management, team development and cohesion, training and training distribution methods for clients, staff and stakeholders.

Ian regularly gives papers on Artistic & Creative Entrepreneurship including:

  • What is Creative Entrepreneurship, Trans National Creative Exchange, Solent University Southampton, October 2015;
  • The Role of Entrepreneurship in the Arts, Developing Talent and Opportunities, Slovak Government as part of their EU Presidency, Bratislava, September 2016;
  • Entrepreneurship Training in the Arts, 20th Anniversary Conference, University of Pécs, Hungary, November 2016;
  • Developing a Creative Model Canvas, 3E Conference, Cork, May 2017.

Creative Entrepreneurs Academy


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