Learning Loop for Goal Setting and Updating

A couple of weeks ago, I was sitting in a meeting where several different people were unpacking some helpful tools.  One of those was Patty McCain, Field Strategies Regional Director, Upper MidWest.  She introduced to us something she called a “Learning Loop for Goal Setting and Updating”.  This was a tool she picked up from the Willow Creek Leadership Summit some time ago and adapted for our missional teams.

Learning Loop for Goal Setting and Updating

Goals from the bottom up
Missional Teams add up all movement(s) goals for a specific time frame.  (e.g. 1yr or 2yr, 3yr. etc.)

Set appropriate goals
Team goals will come from the goals of each team member. Categories to consider in setting appropriate goals include:

  1. What is the capacity of this individual?
  2. What is his/her ability to expand what he/she is doing?
  3. How much coaching will he/she need? What is your coaching capacity?

Plan for your goals
Individuals create an action plan that is:

  • Specific enough to direct their actions
  • Tangible— What do they need to do for this goal to be accomplished?

Resource your goals

  • Move staff/students toward the goals
  • Budget toward goals
  • Pray toward goals
  • Put energy toward goals

Coach to your goals
Collect statistics monthly to evaluate progress. At the end of each semester, measure actual results and ask the team and/or each team member:

  1. What are you learning?
  2. What are you going to do differently?

Evaluate progress on your goals
As you evaluate progress, is the team and/or individuals:
1.   On Pace

  • Excel still more

2.   Ahead of pace

  • Was it the right goal?
  • What is producing their being ahead?
  • A ministry breakthrough
  • God is working in a special way

3.     Behind pace

  • Was it the right goal?
  • Did they do all they said they would do?
  • Why didn’t they produce the result they expected?
  • Where do they need to be coached?
  • Are they stuck and need new ideas?

Keep a healthy perspective about your goals
When we don’t reach a goal remember—
“It is in the striving…

  • The most fervent prayers are prayed
  • Bold new ideas are born
  • Superfluous activities are abandoned
  • Higher caliber staff get hired
  • Helps us see if we have the right people in the right role
  • The best learning occurs
  • When we collapse on our pillows at night knowing we abounded in the work of the Lord.”        Bill Hybels

Patty’s gave these reasons for setting goals:

  • So we can reach our full redemptive potential
  • So we can move in the same direction together (momentum & synergy)
  • So we know what to focus on
  • So we can learn at a faster rate
  • Helps us to coach well
  • To steward our resources well
  • Helps people experience success rather than frustration
  • Appropriate goal categories provide traction in what God has called us to do

I am thinking that this might be helpful during your Campus Planning Retreats in the next month or two.  As you think about plans for next year and as you transition from this year’s leadership teams to next year’s, this could help with focus on the important things and establish monitoring markers.


2 thoughts on “Learning Loop for Goal Setting and Updating

  1. Ronnie Peirce

    Helpful reminder! The difference between a goal and a wish is what I put energy toward 🙂

  2. Gilbert Kingsley Post author

    Thanks for the comment.
    Dawson Trotman, founder of the Navigators, said something to the effect that “activity is no substitute for production and production is no substitute for re-production.” It is not enough to simply do, but, with God’s help, what do we accomplish by our doing?


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