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‘Setting Objectives and Seeing them Through’ review


Setting Objectives and Seeing them Through.
Beverley Williams.
Fenman, 1999. A4 ringbinder, £195 plus carriage.
ISBN 1 872483 75 5

The trend for activity collections seems now to be a concentration on a specific subject in each collection rather than the more general, wider application activities of yesteryear. This collection by an experienced and skilled consultant and author is no exception and in this case concentrates on the difficult subject of objectives. This is not to say that objectives are difficult in themselves, but there is a widespread reluctance to actually produce effective objectives, in spite of the obvious benefit of working or training towards specific ends. Setting objectives is a common inclusion on training programmes and this collection of activities should go a long way towards encouraging the learners to accept the need for this essential practice, by having the learners commit themselves by doing rather than listening to a trainer expound the benefits.

The collection contains 16 activities, each follow the pattern of what the activity is about; its purpose; approximate timing; materials needed; resources provided (handouts, OHP slide masters); an overview of the activity; and how to prepare and use it. The activities are self-standing for use in such programmes as personal development; management development; coaching; appraisal; etc, but can also be grouped in family associations. Advice is given for this latter process suggesting groupings for agreeing objectives with individuals in a team; agreeing team objectives; the objective-setting process; and seeing objectives through to completion.

The activities and their resources are clearly written and laid out, and many are accompanied (as OHP slide masters) with humorous and relevant cartoons. The content is more than a simple ‘here’s an activity for you to use’, rather a mini-session on the subject containing at least one, and frequently several, supporting activities. For example, Activity 5 ‘Agreeing Individual Objectives’ suggests how to introduce the subject; a group activity considering advantages and disadvantages; an input on the stages of the objective-setting interview; a full group discussion on potential problems; role plays of various types of objective-setting interviews; and a final group summary discussion.
I can thoroughly recommend this collection to any trainer who needs/wants/has to include material on this subject on their programmes. A welcome addition to the ever-growing tranche of activity collections.

Leslie Rae
September 1999-09-08


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