One of my goals this year is to do away with goals.
I have been wondering about the effectiveness of goal-setting for some time and it is hard for me to accept that setting goals is not worthwhile. Yet… in a world of constant fluctuation, I find goals to be merely placeholders instead of targets.
When you set a goal, one of two things happens. You achieve it or you don’t. If you don’t, typically, you just move the goal. Many people set a goal of “lose weight” at the beginning of the year, for example. Many people do not achieve their goal or, if they do, they quickly slide back. For those that do not reach the goal, they move the goal. “I’ll try again next year,” or, “I’ll just try to lose 10 pounds by March instead of 20.”
The same thing applies to business goals. Sales teams try to hit their target–sometimes they do. Sometimes they don’t. If they do, the target gets set higher–it moves. If they don’t, the date to reach the target is adjusted–the goal still moves.
The point of a goal is to inspire people to do better but I think there is a better way to do that. Rather than living for goals, live by principles.
Principles work differently. If I live by the principles of eating healthy and staying active, then I probably will never have to worry about reaching a weight goal. If my organization lives by the principle of “deliver amazing service for a fair price” then the sales will take care of themselves.
Wherever I see a goal now, I am going to look at the underlying principle that is supposed to be driving it and examine why the principle is not being lived up to rather than why the goal is not being met.
I think if we identify the correct principles, we will never have to waste our time or energy on chasing goals and targets.
Goals are a finish line at the end of a race. Principles are what make you want to run in the first place.
Principles over Goals.