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Step 11: Set objectives and targets

This is the eleventh of 20 steps in the in the Energy Management Action Programme (Energy MAP).
Learn about Energy MAP and what it can do for your business.

This step has a number of guides associated with it. Guides provide detail and tips to help you complete this step.
Step 11 Guide 1: How to set objectives and targets

What to do and how to do it


Develop objectives and targets based on your energy policy goals, significant energy users and savings opportunities. Also consider legal requirements and other policies of the organisation.


Involve the different levels within your organisation – from top-management to middle management through to operational staff. This will help build commitment, and responsibility for achieving targets can be shared.

Develop objectives and targets

The basic steps in developing objectives and targets include the following (further explanation is provided in the Step 10 Guide 1 and in Guide to Setting SMART Objectives):

  • Identify the potential for improvement (see Step 8 on performance indicators);
  • Develop preliminary objectives and discuss with relevant decision makers;
  • Agree and finalise objectives with all those involved, including top-management;
  • Establish targets to achieve the objectives, and develop measures for tracking progress;
  • Communicate objectives and targets, and how to achieve them;
  • Review progress on a regular basis and inform all relevant people;
  • The final Management review (see Step 20) reviews performance against objectives and targets, and modifies, where necessary, the targets for the following year.

Tip: consider starting off with a limited number of objectives and then increase these in line with the outcomes of Pillars 1 and 2. In this way you can gain some early success by concentrating on 'quick-wins' for reporting to management.

Tip: objectives are not only for improving performance, but also can be for maintaining current levels of performance.

Possible problems and how to deal with them


Certain constraints may exist on achieving objectives and targets. These include: financial resources, personnel, other resources, technological know-how or potential conflict with other organisational objectives. It is therefore important to have the full backing of top-management in establishing your objectives and targets to ensure that sufficient resources are provided and that the objectives are integrated with other organisational policies and goals.

Co-ordination and commitment

The achievement of objectives and targets can often fail due to a lack of co-ordination within the organisation and a lack of commitment from others involved. It is important to involve the people in the relevant functional areas when setting objectives and targets. This helps establish clear roles and responsibilities from the outset and builds commitment from those involved.

Badly defined

Badly defined objectives and targets are a recipe for failure. Each objective must have a measure of success, without this you will not know if a target has been achieved.


Clear ownership of the target is also vital to success. If there is no specified person(s) responsible for achieving the target, then it may not be achieved.

How long does it take to complete this step?

Setting objectives and targets is not simply a number-crunching exercise. Equally important is agreeing them with relevant personnel and getting their commitment. You can carry this out over a period of weeks and hold a number of relatively short meetings with key people in your organisation.

How do I know when I have completed this step?

You have completed this Step when:

objectives and targets are agreed and finalised with key personnel including top-management;

a means of tracking progress is identified (see also Step 17);

objectives, targets and means of achievement are communicated within your organisation;

In the future, you will have:

progress reviewed on regular basis and all relevant people informed;

performance against objectives and targets reviewed by top-management and modified where necessary.

What do I do next?

Once you have established your objectives and targets, the next thing to do is to decide how to achieve them. This is done by establishing an Energy MAP Programme Plan.

With a plan in place you can then start to allocate resources in order to achieve your energy saving objectives.

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