Recent echoes on the on-going discussions about setting a new target for Biodiversity in 2020, make us think the question seems to be if the target must be either realistic or something more close to the ideal we want to achieve.
Indeed a target seems not just to be only a goal (the ultimate goal we’d like to achieve would be to halt the loss of biodiversity and restore the lost one), but “target” seems to mean an actually achievable goal. I copied below the 11 meanings of the word “target” and put in red the one useful for us.
However, people need ideals to put traction on their lives and action, not just expectable, mid-average realistic goals!
When we deal with the methodology of strategic thinking of organizations, we use the word “Vision” to define the ideal scenario we would like to achieve one day, somewhere in future. Then we define the “Mission“, which is what we are or will be doing to get there or to contribute to get there. And finally many organizations also define their “Values“, which may be points were we have to put some effort and act as orientation references in future decisions or options (many like to adopt transparency, participation, etc).
Targets and indicators are things we define at a lower and more detailed level, on specific items.
The problem therefore, in my view is first of all a linguistic one and also a problem of lack of metodology on strategic thinking, here applicable to our “planetary organization”.
First of all: what is our Vision, in terms of an ideal planet? Which biodiversity would we want for an ideal world?
Then, what is our Mission? What are we assuming/saying we will actually do in order to contribute to that ideal situation?
Not to mention the Values: What are our values, regarding our relation as humans with biodiversity, or the options to save biodiversity, or halt its loss? Could it be competitivity? Could it be cooperation? Frugality? Or the opposite of greed? Etc. This part is harder to define.
Maybe all the methodology of strategic thinking around the “target” for biodiversity is wrong. People should have to think first on those things, and only then, in the final result to be achieved. I personally believe that the effort people do to achieve some ideal situation is often more valuable than the final result they actually achieve, which might be limited by outside factors. The will, the effort, the determination is something valuable. And depends on us, not on any meteor that might fall upon the Earth and cause some new extinction again.
Hence, I think we should put more emphasis on what are we committed TO DO do actually, in order to achieve that something. The new phrasing should commit people.
And then eventually we could change the phrasing of “2020 target: (…)” into: “2020 – One Vision, one Mission: (…)”
Definition: A kind of small shield or buckler, used as a defensive weapon in war.
Definition: A butt or mark to shoot at, as for practice, or to test the accuracy of a firearm, or theforce of a projectile.
Definition: The pattern or arrangement of a series of hits made by a marksman on a butt or mark;as, he made a good target.
Definition: The sliding crosspiece, or vane, on a leveling staff.
Definition: A conspicuous disk attached to a switch lever to show its position, or for use as a signal.
Definition: sports equipment consisting of an object set up for a marksman or archer to aim at
Definition: the goal intended to be attained (and which is believed to be attainable); “the sole object of her trip was to see her children”
Definition: a reference point to shoot at; “his arrow hit the mark”
Definition: the location of the target that is to be hit
Definition: a person who is the aim of an attack (especially a victim of ridicule or exploitation) bysome hostile person or influence; “he fell prey to muggers”; “everyone was fair game”; “the target of a manhunt”
Definition: intend (something) to move towards a certain goal; “He aimed his fists towards hisopponent”s face”; “criticism directed at her superior”; “direct your anger towards others, not towardsyourself”
Source: “Target” at The ARDictionary
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Note: this article was last updated in February 10th, 2010
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