Facets of Goal Setting

Since it’s the beginning of a new year, when we typically feel obliged to set goals, let’s take a look at the different facets of goal-setting and goal achievement.

The Internet is an amazing tool. However, we want to approach much of its content with a fair amount of skepticism – not everything claiming to be “fact” really is. It is usually opinion, based on the writer’s own bias. Take the matter of organizational goal-setting, and what one writer referred to as “the cult of positivity” in American corporations while setting big, audacious goals.

One such article posited that “the pro-goal consensus is starting to crumble,” because rigid goals may encourage employees to cut ethical corners in order to achieve these big, audacious goals. Ethical corner-cutting would seem to have more to do with the internal culture of an organization and its leadership, than the goals themselves. This ethical corner-cutting is more a hallmark of passive-aggressive cultures than the results of effective goal-setting.

This same article goes on to submit that goals may also lead to underachievement, and provides the example of New York cab drivers making less money on rainy days, because they hit their “mental target” (which would be called a “goal”) of a good day’s earnings, and head home. This isn’t really goal underachievement, but actually achievement. If it is anything, it is goal-setting up to a pre-set goal, and not through it to the next level higher goal.

We’ve all done this. It’s been a long, hard day at work, and all we want to do is get home to relax and spend a quiet evening. So, we get home, maybe even have dinner, and then do nothing much until it’s time to go to bed. We might even just sleep in the chair, if we have the energy to turn off the television!

Goals come in all shapes and sizes, and in as great a variety as there are people on the planet. It’s all about knowing where we want to go, and discovering the different paths to get us there. First things first, we need to know where we want to go, today. Then, as we close in on achieving that first step, moving the next goal further out, harnessing the energy and creativity present in us to grow even further.