What’s the Difference Between a Vision, Goal & Task

June 11, 2013

We wrote recently about long-term, midrange and short-term career plans.  Now we’re breaking it down even further. Each type of career plan needs to be grounded in a vision that is supported by goals and tasks related to those goals.

Vision: This is where you want to be. The place you want to end up at the end of your efforts.  Your Big P career plan is really the strategy you put in place to get yourself to your vision.  It is the anchor and compass of your career plan.

Goals: These are a few key objectives that you need to accomplish in order to achieve your vision.  They are things you need to check off your list to get where you want to be. Normally we recommend having anywhere from 3 to 4 broad goals that support your vision.

Tasks: Tasks are the day-to-day, week-to-week or even month-to-month action items or steps you need to take to reach your goals to be able to get your vision.

For example, if your vision is to be able to take at least one deposition by the end of the year, you may set three goals in support of that vision. Goal one might be getting actual practice.  Goal two may be to build relationships with partners who are likely to have depositions to give you. Finally, goal three might be to attend some formal training on depositions.

The weekly, daily, monthly activities or actions steps have to support each of those goals.  For example:

– Identifying some pro bono cases where you might be able to observe a deposition.

– Identifying partners who may be willing to bring you along to a deposition is another.

– Searching for specific training opportunities at either the local bar associations or that your law firm, legal department or organization may be conducting.

– Identifying books that might be helpful for you to read.

– Identifying senior associates who have taken depositions and interviewing them to learn best practices.

Finally, it is not just sufficient to map this out; you must also track and evaluate your progress.  We recommend setting aside even as little as fifteen minutes a week to measure your plan. Pick a day where you know you’ll have the most likelihood of getting it done–maybe a Monday morning before the craziness of the week or Friday afternoon before you leave for the weekend. It’s as simple as seeing how many of your action items you checked off in that past week and what items you need to make sure get your attention the next week. Establishing even just a quick weekly practice can help keep you on track with your vision, goals and tasks and leads to your ultimate career success.