Goal setting is a very misunderstood and poorly used tool in business. The net result is a workforce trapped in a state of false urgency because the effort is derived from misleading notions in their mind creating misguided effort toward what we think will be effective and measurable strides toward our desired outcome. What usually comes from this is false urgency (explained in the book, Leading Change by Dr. John Kotter). False urgency is the frantic, ramped up behavior that leaves everyone exhausted at the end of the day without advancing the ball any further down the field. It is certainly miss-guided effort. I am not talking about ethereal goals or idealistic goals such as, “I wish” or “I hope” but actual measurable goals with built-in action steps. If the big dream or big opportunity is the launching pad, the rocket is the measurable goal.
Five things occur when we set measurable goals with actions steps:
1. Goals set a fundamental structure that sets people up to win.
2. Goals allow us to exercise extreme effort. 100% effort is the necessary ingredient that allows great competitors to maximize their talent.
3. Goals move us from a position of involvement to one of commitment. Can you receive a paycheck if you’re involved? Yes you can. But you’ll never be world class.
4. Goals allow us to effectively use our full potential by generating true urgency.
5. Goals create contagious can-do attitudes. Funny, isn’t it, how we hire on aptitude and fire on attitude?
Too many potential winners are competing in life-like the cross-eyed discus thrower. The cross-eyed discus thrower doesn’t score a lot of points, but he keeps the crowd awake—because he’s all over the place. Measurable goals keep us focused on important issues and tasks allowing us to be significantly more effective than the vast majority who expend wasted energy and never reach their destination.