Goals: A New Approach

Remember the old adage, Goals are Dreams with deadlines? So if dreams are fun, why are goals so difficult? Now, Mark Murphy, in his book “Hard Goals: The Secret to Getting From Where You Are to Where You Want to Be,” makes it even tougher. But it’s a good tough. Murphy believes that managers and companies really don’t see it properly when it comes to goal setting.

The concept of SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely) has been around for a long time, Murphy advocates the HARD acronym; Heartfelt, Animated, Required and Difficult). Those five terms standing alone will send a chill down a conventional thinker’s spine. His view is to push those responsible outside of their comfort zone by involving a personal connection. When we derive our goals from within instead of from an outside source that dictates a goal, we are more likely to achieve that goal.

This is evident when a manager hands down a business goal to his or her subordinates, there is no real buy in of that goal, just often lethargic compliance. The goal doesn’t become a crusade but an obstacle that one must hit or go over. The people charged with reaching the goal must have a personal investment in the design of that goal, so it becomes their goal. He advocates that managers and executives should ask, “Why do you want this goal?” and “How are you going to grow from this goal?” Excellent questions to bring out the true drivers that will motivate.

Murphy then outlines the pitfalls that derail achieving a goal that has become your own with such nasty enemies as procrastination and excuses. He also notes that people need to work toward goals that do not always play to their strengths. These are challenging, but valuable for self discovery, discipline and as he put it, “an incredibly character-discovering exercise.”

Here are five tips from Mark Murphy:

1. Build goals into the organization’s fabric and make sure they drive the whole organization to the right markers.

2. Anticipate distractions or slowdowns and create processes to refocus energy and attention on goals.

3. Create difficult goals, especially those that require learning. “If we’re learning and challenging ourselves, our brains will be wide awake and our performance will rise to the level of the challenge,” he said.

4. Think of goals as tools that encourage greatness in your workers. “We need to create situations where they achieve and reach their potential.”

5. Identify a friend who will call you regularly to ask you a few questions about your goal and the progress you’re making.

Now its time to put the calendar on those dreams and get them done!

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