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AGO lesson workcard

4. AGO lesson workcard

AGO = Aims, Goals, Objectives 

You can do something out of habit, because everyone else ls doing it, or as a reaction to a situation. These are all "because" reasons. But there are also times when you do something "in order to" achieve some purpose or objective. It can help your thinking if you know exactly what you are trying to achieve. It can also help you to understand other people's thinking if you can see their objectives. In certain situations the words "aims" and "goals" are more appropriate than objectives, but the meaning is the same.


A developer who is building a large new shopping center has the objective of making a profit for his company and for himself as a result. He also has the objective of putting up a shopping center that will be successful. He must have the objective of pleasing the potential shoppers. He must have the objective of fitting in with the planning authorities. In addition, he has the objective of working so well (on time and within budget) that he will be asked to develop more shopping centers in other places.


1. A student is cheating at school. What are the objectives of the headteacher in addressing the situation?

2. Your family wins $5,000 in a game show - what would your objectives be?

3. Everyone has to eat to live. But people have different objectives with regard to food. Do an AGO for the following people: homemaker, cook, store owner, food manufacturer, farmer, government.

4. Do an AGO for the police and put the objectives in order of priority.

5. You are the commander of a spacecraft approaching Earth from another planet. What different objectives might you have? Do three alternative AGOs.

6. You are a dealer selling Ford motor cars. Another Ford dealer in a nearby town lowers his prices so that they are below yours. What are you going to do about it? What are your objectives?

7. What are your objectives when you tum on the TV?

8. What is the difference between the AGO of a politician and the AGO of a business executive? Examine the points of difference and the points of similarity.

9. You are setting out to design a completely new type of house. What would your objectives be?

10. What are the objectives of a school principal?


  • Is it always necessary to know your objectives exactly?

  • When is it most useful to know the objectives?

  • What happens if you do not have objectives?

  • How important are other people's objectives?

Learning points

A. If you know exactly what your objectives are, it is easier to achieve them.

B. In the same situation different people may have different objectives.

C. On the way to a final objective, there may be a chain of smaller objectives, each one following from the previous one.

D. Objectives should be near enough, real enough and possible enough for a person to really try to reach them.

E. There may be many objectives, but some are more important than others.

These de Bono Thinking Lessons are free to use by parents, guardians and teachers. (This means on this website, or to print and use in home or in the classroom. Not for further distribution or commercial use). 

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