- It’s unethical to hold people to goals that they have set, because much of what happens after you set a goal is unpredictable.
- Watch out for when goals turn counter-productive. Like prescription drugs, they can have unwanted side-effects.
- It’s important to give yourself permission not to stick to goals when circumstances change and you need your wits about you to deal with uncertainty.
- Perhaps if goals are modest and short-term, they will not be so delusional.
- A deadline by which you have to produce a piece of work can be very productive. I write here as a trained journalist.
- If you work with others, instead of setting goals ask them what they would like to achieve. Then when you meet again, ask them what progress they have made.
Here are 6 thoughts about goals:
A participant on a recent webinar cited a study he’d heard about, saying that visualising a goal can be counter-productive to one’s motivation. Apparently, there’s a danger of feeling that you’ve already accomplished your objective, so you put less effort into doing it ‘again’ for real.
Something I learned while facilitating a three-day event for a 30-member team from various continents was that the impacts of a change programme can be slow to manifest. In itself that’s not an issue - unless your objectives include instant results.
Still, there’s plenty you can do in the meantime to ensure that the results turn out favourably. You can do a great deal to re-assure yourself, your clients, your funders, that you are on the right tracks. It’s called 'positioning for impact'.
Mistakes are events you would rather have not happened (at least at the time), because the intention was to do something different, and the immediate consequence is most often unfavourable.
I like this story of a crisis handled by Hans Zeinhofer, who I met at a conference where delegates were discussing the application of solutions-focused ideas in organisations.
These are the top 10.
1 Deal with it in a timely manner
If there’s something to talk about, act sooner rather than later. Don’t put off something that left unchecked could become a major issue. For example if somebody has a tendency to make minor numerical mistakes in reports, discuss it with them straight away, rather than waiting until they make a significant mistake that causes embarrassment and upset.