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Reverse planning; An effective approach to achieving the goal

Study guide

If your goal is to become an accounting manager over the next five years, where do you start your planning process? Or if your department is going to rebuild the company’s organizational structure, where do you start?

Most of us have a laid back attitude when it comes to painting a picture about ourselves. That is, what should we do first, then what? What next? And until the end, and by what date should each step be completed?

This is a common form of personal goal setting that works very well, and when combined with the golden rules of goal setting, it becomes a motivational formula that helps you move forward with all your might.

A new approach

But there is another simple and less commonly used method of goal setting that can be just as powerful.

This method is called reverse programming, reverse targeting or reverse design and is often used in the field of education and training. The main idea is to start with your ultimate goal and then move in the opposite direction to develop your plan. By starting from the bottom and moving towards the beginning of the program, you can mentally prepare yourself for success, the specific steps you need to take; Determine exactly where you need to be in the program, energetic or creative in order to achieve the desired results.

This method is very similar to a good presentation; In a good presentation, the presenter says right away where he is going to go. So as the session progresses, you can more easily follow the concepts and think critically about what is being said. If you are going to recognize the main points of the discussion, you will lose the energy you need to follow the presentation.

Reverse programming process

This process works like this:

Step 1

Write down your ultimate goal. Exactly what do you want to achieve and by what date will you achieve it?

Example: “I will be the accounting manager of Khavaran Brokerage Company until March 20, 2017.”

Step 2

Ask yourself beforehand what milestones you need to reach before you can reach your ultimate goal. What do you have to do and how long do you have to do to be in the position to reach the final goal?

Example: “By March 20, 2017, I will successfully complete the training program offered by the management of Khavaran Brokerage Company.”

Step 3

Then move back a little further. What should you achieve before that one last goal?

Example: “By June 20, 2016, I will register my application to participate in a management training program, describe my achievements as an accountant, and I will be accepted in this program.”

Step 4

Keep working backwards. What do you need to do to make sure you reach your goal?

Example: “By March 20, 2017, I will successfully complete my second year as an accountant in the company and I will win the award for the best accountant of the year.”

Step 5

Continue in the opposite direction until you find the first step you have to complete.

Example: “By March 20, 2017, I will complete my first year as an accountant in this company and I will be rewarded for my performance of taking responsibility for the purchase of more than 100 billion tomans per year by customers.”

When you read a reverse program, it does not look very different from the usual forward-looking programs, but creating such a program is very different. You have to force yourself to look at it from a whole new perspective; This completely new perspective helps you to see things that you might have overlooked if you were using a process in the usual order.

This can help you avoid wasting time on unnecessary or inefficient activities along the way. In addition, it highlights the challenges in the program and shows exactly where you need to be creative to be able to take the next step successfully.


Reverse planning; An effective approach to achieving the goal

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