Writing Goals That Solve the Problem

Article 2 min
Understand the process for establishing a solid, workable goal from a problem statement or an opportunity.

After you complete your research, you are ready to start action planning, and that means writing a goal. Setting a goal can be as nebulous as changing hearts and minds or as specific as increased engagement on social media channels. How you word your goal sets the stage for your objectives, strategies and tactics.

What is a goal?

  • A one-sentence solution that solves the core problem or seizes an opportunity
  • Reframes the problem into a broad, positive statement
  • Relevant to command goals, but specific to communication strategy

What are some terms to avoid when writing your goal?

  • Sell
  • Advertise
  • Generate media coverage
  • Create propaganda/materials
  • Hide/misrepresent
  • Cure
  • Fundraise
  • Maintain (without a specific situational issue that threatens the ability to maintain)

Explore and compare how goals are written for different scenarios you may encounter in the field. No matter the scenario, reframe the problem statement positively and constructively in reference to the command's values.

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SCENARIOS FOR GOAL WRITING

Campaign

Campaign goals are intended to inform the audience and motivate them to act.

Examples

Problem Statement:
Tensions between U.S. Army and Native Hawaiian groups have escalated.

Goal:
Strengthen the relationship between the U.S. Army and Native Hawaiian groups and residents on Oahu and Hawaii Island.

Opportunity Statement:
The Army is celebrating its 245th birthday.

Goal:
Strengthen bonds by focusing on families during the Army's 245th birthday month.

Social Media

Social media increases awareness and engagement using a social media platform.

Examples

Problem Statement:
There is a breakdown in relationships between the on-base and off-base community.

Goal:
Increase awareness of military engagement in community activities.

Opportunity Statement:
Social media provides more direct reach to your service members.

Goal:
Promote trust with your unit.

Mission/​Operation

A military mission or operation is a coordinated response to a developing situation.

Examples

Problem Statement:
An outbreak of an infectious but preventable disease is happening in a community surrounding an allied base.

Goal:
Increase awareness of preventative measures.

Opportunity Statement:
Food and supplies are being brought to help the citizens affected by a hurricane.

Goal:
Promote positive relations with the people displaced by the hurricane.

Exercise

An exercise is showing strength and building relationships with allies in both military and humanitarian scenarios.

Examples

Problem Statement:
Thai citizens expressed disapproval about increased military presence.

Goal:
Educate citizens and soldiers about the military and humanitarian partnership between the U.S. Army and the Thai Royal Marines at Exercise Cobra Gold.

Opportunity Statement:
The Thai population is unaware of how battlefield technologies benefit them.

Goal:
Increase understanding of community benefit.

Crisis

Crisis communication is immediate and imperative.

Example

Problem Statement:
An active shooter breached the security gate and is on base.

Goal:
Ensure personnel takes the appropriate action during the incident.

Opportunity Statement:
Critical information is being lost in the normal, daily distribution of news and events.

Goal:
Put timely information and instructions on key platforms to ensure receipt.

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