How can a Goal Tree help you changing job? Part 5/5 – Reflect on the assessment result and act!

This is the fifth and final part of this series of posts about putting logic into a decision to change a job. In this post, I emphasize how crucial it is to understand how far someone is from achieving his or her Goal and if this Goal is a reasonable one.

Looking at colors

In the fourth post of this series, we have seen how to color-code the entities in the Tree in a self-assessment exercise. Assuming you’ve built such a Tree for yourself, the colored tree provides a holistic view of your actual capabilities vs. the required ones. It is time now to look at the result and reflect about the significance of the overall Tree condition.

Let’s start with the most obvious cases: the greener the Tree, the closer the achievement of your Goal. The more autumn-colors, the further away from achieving your Goal.

By definition, every prerequisite is important. If one is missing, no way to achieve the objective above it. Yet the time and effort to turn it to green can highly vary from one Necessary Condition to the other.

I propose here 3 fictitious examples

Example 1

Some entities near the top are amber, which means that requirements close to achieving the Goal are not totally or not permanently under control. Such a Tree gives confidence at first glance, as there is no red leaf, meaning a prerequisite is missing or failing. This assuming that the mastery of the requirements is not overstated.

Investing time to build a Goal Tree for such a result is no loss of time, as it shows how close you are from achieving your Goal and what needs to be watched closer, worked on harder to secure the last Necessary Conditions.

Example 2

This is a typical Tree in a case of changing slightly direction in a career path and skills or experience in one peculiar field of expertise are still weak or missing. If the gap identified by the red entities can be closed and the other amber ones improved, the change of job is less risky.

The red side clearly identifies weaknesses compared to someone more knowledgeable or more experienced. Having identified this weak side greatly helps to focus on what must be improved.

Example 3

This Tree shows that the journey to achieving the Goal is still long and potentially difficult. Many red entities missing or failing to meet the requirements can be the state of a student at the beginning of his/her way towards graduation and landing a job.

If this Tree is the one of an already experienced professional, it probably describes the desire to drastically change the career path. But with so many reds, assuming that the mastery of the requirements is not understated, the success is still far away. Maybe out of reach? In such a case, it is important to evaluate the investment in time and effort to green-up the Tree and if it is worth it.

Your Goal Tree is a roadmap

Once colored, a Goal Tree is more than a benchmark, it is a roadmap. With the objective to green-up the Tree, it becomes obvious where to focus with priority: on the lower reds! The lower Necessary Conditions are closer in time, and absolutely mandatory to achieve, in order to enable the achievement of higher Necessary Conditions.

If higher amber entities can be turned green easily, go for it. Easy successes bring motivation and enhance self-confidence.

If you like or are familiar with project management, you can flip your Tree 90° clockwise in order to get a coarse project Work Breakdown Structure (WBS), as the Tree entities are mostly milestones, or kinds of gates, to pass in order to get closer to the Goal.

Visual management

You may use the Goal Tree is a visual management tool for tracking your journey to achieving your Goal: color the  Necessary Conditions as they change and monitor the greening-up of your Tree. Remember: the greener the Tree, the closer to achieve the Goal.


Building a Goal Tree for changing the job is a multi-purpose exercise:

  • The Goal Tree requires you to state your Goal with clarity. It is the first step into rationality and getting away from intuition and gut feeling only.
  • It is a rational analysis of the must-haves, derived from your Goal, a benchmark. Without all those enablers, no way to achieve your Goal.
  • It is a (self-)assessment of your current compliance to requirements, as well as a roadmap to achieving your Goal.
  • It is a visual management tool to monitor your progress towards achieving your Goal.

A Goal Tree is scalable. It can be used for defining and deploying the strategy of a whole corporation, structure a project to roll out or provide guidance for personal use.

I used the Goal Tree to get clarity about my personal Goal before eventually changing job in March 2019, after four years with the same company. Facing several options and proposals, my Goal Tree helped me to stay consistent with my Vision and Ambition.

I do hope this series of posts is of value for yourself. If you liked it, let it know and share it!

About the author, Christian HOHMANN

About the author, Christian HOHMANN

View Christian HOHMANN's profile on LinkedIn

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