Goal setting

If you do not know where you are planning to go even a Sat Nav cannot help you – Why should this be any different in business? Once you know then there may be many routes but they all lead to the same place – just slightly different journeys.

The question is how far ahead is the best distance to look? Today, This Week, This Year, 5 years… Further?

Is any journey towards a specific point just a marker along the way? When we are taught to race isn’t one of the first things taught that we should race through the finishing line?

Even when we hit a big target or goal, have a party or get the reward.. the next day will generally be back to the day-to-day. If a long time has been spent up to this point then the potential is for a lack of momentum as the big goal has been completed. This can, of course, be overcome with a bigger & better goal someway down the line.

For some people, there is a further issue of procrastination with big targets and the need for smaller goals to hit to ensure that there is always momentum towards positive gains. Then there are people who feel suffocated by mountains of tasks or goals to hit or the pressure of being pushed to complete some goals. Some goals are entirely arbitrary, we generally seem to aim for specific percentages or numbers over the course of a year or a quarter or whenever. What do we gain or lose by doing so? If these made up figures are not met, especially if a big deal is made of them (let alone if jobs are on the line) how does this make people feel? The flip side is if the goals are not tough enough then they are hit too easily which can reduce motivation to continuously work hard.

The main issues in these points are the figures and dates included which can be difficult to get balanced to continue motivation.

Would a better option be a goal where it can only be strived towards and never truly met? Would this result in a reduction of motivation over time for some when it became clear that the goal wouldn’t be hit?

There seems to be a need for careful balance to avoid many pitfalls created from individual psychologies.

How about the balance of aiming for an ideal which is in some ways a goal but mostly a pinnacle of possibility and understood to be just that, something to always work towards. This could be married with waymarkers along the way to reinforce the direction of travel. Of course, these would be different for any organisation and their overriding goals. Even two companies with the same goal may take very different paths to get there, this would come down to the individual cultures and beliefs of businesses.

One very important point that cannot be forgotten is that no matter what the organisation there is the necessity to maintain sufficient cash flow otherwise there will be problems which eventually would lead to the end of the journey.

This is a topic where there can be many answers which will be different for every company and person. The overall goal seems to be that a momentum of continuous improvement is a necessity with a direction being required so that we know where we are going. How this is determined seems to be down to why a company exists and the culture that exists within it with the people working towards the company’s goals setting the nature of the goal setting structure. This is a difficult task for leadership at every level of an organisation.

The reason a company exists seems to dictate the destination but as with a Sat Nav, there many be many different routes to take depending on your preference. The secrets seem to be having the right people within your culture and knowing what makes them tick to work together and stay motivated to do their best.


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