This Week in Positive Change Management: Setting CLEAR Goals

01032016 CLEAR Goals


There is a new way to do goal-setting that has come about due to agile methodology that has permeated the global work environment. It is called the CLEAR method. CLEAR stands for Collaborative, Limited, Emotional, Appreciable, and Refinable. For those unfamiliar with the word agile, the agile methodology has come onto the forefront in the late 1990s. Agile derives from the software industry. There are four agile platforms:

  • Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
  • Working software over comprehensive documentation
  • Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
  • Responding to change over following a plan

Here is the Agile Manifesto for reference:

Below is the CLEAR method’s break down for each letter:

Collaborative – No man is an island and teamwork makes the dream work. Collaborative is necessary because we’re in a global economy. Virtual teams spanning across the globe magnify the importance of collaboration.

Limited– Just focus on one thing at a time. By focusing on what’s immediately in front of you helps keep everything in perspective. Worry about the present. The future will take care of itself. For example, there are 5 phases in the process. Instead of focusing on the finish line, clear the 5 hurdles first. Each phase represents 20% completion. You can’t get to 100% completion without progressing through the 20%,40%,60%, and 80%.

Emotional-Buy-in is important towards goal completion. When people are on the same page, it makes work easier.

Appreciable-The Merriam-Webster definition for appreciable is ‘large enough to be noticed or measured.’ In this case, appreciable means disseminating big goals into smaller more manageable pieces. Appreciable is equal to the project management concept of decomposition. You use decomposition to subdivide the work breakdown structure into smaller parts called work packages. Focus on peoples’ strengths are necessary when assigning work packages. The goal to being appreciable is to create synergy from the bottom up in order to bring added value once the goal is complete.

Refinable-Done is better than perfect. Be flexible and add more information once it becomes available regardless of where you’re at in the process. The goal is to deliver the best project. If the customer demands change, get the required approval and change them.

The CLEAR method’s five steps enable people and companies to be more flexible, resilient and able to meet demands in the global economy.