Ongoing is NOT a Deadline

I love working with managers and my HR team at setting goals. It doesn’t matter whether it is personal or professional or organizational or departmental or long-term or short-term — I love setting goals!

However, I hate seeing development and action plans which list goals as “ongoing.” It’s like nails on a chalkboard!

Would someone please tell me what day of the week is “ongoing”? What month of the year? Oh, you don’t know. Well, I’ll tell you.

It’s Luesday and Nevuary.

Certainly, achieving goals takes time and “ongoing” is meant as an indication of working toward the goal is going to take a significant amount of time. However, for a plan to work, the goal has to be specific and measurable.

Ongoing is neither of these. And no one is really accountable for accomplishing or failing to accomplish an ongoing goal.

If a goal will take a significant amount of time, break it down into smaller goals with action items and assigned dates for completion to each of the smaller goals in the order to be completed. Otherwise, it becomes all too easy to get busy and distracted by other things — and that “ongoing” goal will be continually placed on the backburner because it doesn’t have a specific deadline associated with it.


It’s arguably a cop-out and a way to dodge committing to a goal … Ouch! Truth hurts.

Take a look at your current goals and the goal-setting you’re doing with others as this year starts gaining momentum and plans start gaining speed. Do you have “ongoing” lurking in there? If so, go back and get specific. Because ongoing is NOT a deadline.

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