It’s Nike Time

The results from my survey on goal-setting were pretty wild! I figure people who self-selected to do it would be the ones most likely to set goals. A couple things jumped out:

1. Only 25.55% (70 of 274) believe in annual goal setting and do it religiously.
Another 36.86% (101) believe in it and “do it some years.” Almost 33% (90 of 274) “think annual goal setting is probably valuable but seldom do it.”

Less than 5% don’t believe in it.

COME ON YOU GUYS!!! You can do this. Goal setting can be enormously helpful. What could be lost in taking a half hour or a half day and really getting it done?!

2. How to make goals work once you’ve written them. Here were the top responses people gave for creating circumstances that had helped them to be successful with their goals (with the percent saying it was “essential” over “very helpful”)

  • Setting it up so that you have to review them periodically: 60%
  • Explicitly sharing the goals with someone else: 54%
  • Having written pages to return to to check progress: 51%
  • Doing it with a trusted other, e.g., coach, spouse or friend: 48%

People think goals are helpful, yet so many don’t do it.  And there are ways to get them right!  I’ve always found they have a pull of their own.  Just articulating them opens your eyes and heart and mind to new ways of

Leading with that best self!

  • Hi Dan:

    So I’m one of those people who thinks annual goal setting is an abomination. That’s because, in my experience, within 6 months, most goals are overtaken by events. I cannot tell you how many annual or half year reviews I’ve been in (as supervisor or supervisee) where the parties said “you know, these goals no longer make sense”. This may be because I work in high tech research — a world where a research result or achievement can completely change the trajectory of a long-term project. So I’m a believer in setting goals for each day (I take 10 minutes at the start of each day to make sure I’m going to get the most important thing done), and week and month. To avoid complete short-term focus, I try to clear a day or afternoon every so often to do the most fun thing on my list of goals rather than the most important. But other than setting goals for skills (“I’d like to get better at …”), I find long-term goals a mistake.

    Thought you’d find this useful grist for the mill!

  • I spent 20 years at a global speciality-chemicals company. Annual goal setting and periodic reviews were part of the culture. “What gets measured, gets done.” Difficult to direct my team and measure their success if their goals did not flow from mine and mine did not flow from my manager. I used those completed goal forms, with the period reviews/feedback, on multiple occasions for multiple uses including: making a case for higher/lower merit raise, drafting job descriptions, and writing a plan for personal/professional development, among other things. Taking the time to articulate the goals, gain agreement, and periodically review may sometimes feels like busy work because the world does not stop, customers don’t stop calling (thankfully) and other immediate needs don’t go away for the day. But I always found it to be time well-invested.

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