In organisational context we lead people to do specific actions that lead to specific results.
In the end, from organisation's perspective what matters are results, we keep hearing that. Results are what is left after everybody stopped moving.
In order to get results somebody needs to do something, someone needs to MOVE.
In leadership we operate with movement, we lead people to move, in a specific direction, with a specific acceleration and in a specific way. That movement creates results.
Why do we need to talk about RESULTS and the MOVEMENT required for those results?
***For these we will use the broader term of GOALS.
Who can know better what they are able and willing to do than the person who will do it? :)
Goals do some things great:
- Goals direct attention and effort toward goal relevant activities and away from irrelevant ones. This happens in terms of specific actions (I know what I need to do and do it) but also cognitively (I focus on what matters for me)
- Goals are energising. they gather energy toward an action rather than disperse it
- Goals affect persistence
- Goals affect action indirectly by leading to the arousal, discovery and use of task-relevant knowledge and strategies.
***When goals are self set people set higher goals. They are also more committed to assigned goals, find and use better task strategies and respond more positively to negative feedback.
How do I set objectives or goals? What are good/efficient objectives?
Here there is a long discussion and it comprises everything from SMART objectives to SMARTer to KPIs to OKRs. My recommendation is for you to do what is possible in your particular context and what works for you:
· If you can predict specific results that you can achieve you can set goals in terms of results, but even in this case I recommend for you to also have a discussion about what MOVEMENT will create those results
· If you don’t know and can’t know what a good result could be (for example in the case of learning something new) it is best to just set as a goal the action (movement) you want and then clarify that action based on iterations.
When designing goals it is really important to make sure that the actions/movements have some characteristics:
· state goals in terms of approach rather than avoidance (do something instead of avoiding/don’t do something)
· Set some things that will show that progress is made on that goal, the people are getting closer to it
· Make sure you embed small wins (especially if the goals are long term) so people will want to keep going
· Task complexity is another moderator of goal effects. If the tasks are really complex it is best to not have a goal in terms of results but a goal in terms of actions. A suggestion that I have for particularly complicated or complex goals is to rephrase them in terms of learning goals or experience/strategies goals. You can also use proximal goals. Whatever you do, do not define the goal in terms of doing “my best”.
· Incorporate satisfaction in the goal description. Challenging goals are great as long as I know that I can achieve that challenge. This is what satisfaction is, to know that I stretch but I I don't stretch too far.
Should my goals be measurable?
Depends why you set them.
The reason you set goals is to direct and motivate movement. So, in this case it is important to know what gets you going. See the chapter about what influences movement.
What can be goal contents?
Goals can be about results, actions, attitudes or anything that can come as a result of action or the action itself. My recommendation is:
- if you set goals as RESULTS than make sure you are ok with whatever the person comes up in terms of actions necessary to achieve those results