Goal setting is a practice that has served me well and one that most organizations formally or informally put into play. The challenge is goals don’t always get met. When that occurs, leaders get frustrated, managers get demoralized, teams get despondent and the finger pointing begins.
So why don’t goals always get done? What are the roadblocks or pitfalls we encounter? Below are observations I have seen happen in organizations across all sectors and size.
ASSUMING: You know what they say about assuming - it makes a * out of you and me. Often times when an individual is given a “to do” we assume they know how to plan it, then do it. Odds are if it is something they have never done before (i.e., a new activity) they need some help understanding what the desired end result is and what steps they need to take. Let them know that asking questions are not only welcome it’s expected.
THE WHIRLWIND: There’s no doubt about it the day to day “stuff” gets in the way of taking on new projects. Often times the new projects will save us time in the long run but we can’t free up enough time to get at them. Plus the new projects take a lot more brain power than the old comfortable routine. This is where something is better than nothing. Get the wheels in motion. Set aside X amount of time per month to work on this new thing and engage someone else to help you stick to it and hold yourself accountable. Consider getting an outside perspective. When we are in it day to day it can be difficult to see how things can be done differently.
THE NO FEEDBACK FOIBLE: If you set the goal, create than plan, set it in motion and fail to monitor it, there is a high probability you will miss the boat. There is a higher probability we will find the time to get the task at hand done when we know someone is measuring and communicating our progress. Accountability is your friend so do yourself and your coworkers a favour and create consistent check-ins either weekly or monthly to keep the project moving forward. And while you are at it, consider developing an organizational scoreboard that communicates the progress of your goals.
To achieve our goals means we have to do something different, essentially create a new habit. This takes us out of our comfort zone, but the payback is worth it. When we stretch our capabilities and achieve our goals it releases endorphins, gets us into a positive head space and creates a can do culture. So once you have your goals in place, revisit these common pitfalls and put a plan in place to prevent your projects from going off the rails.