Why is it important to write down goals?

What is the difference between a goal in your head and goals that are written down?

Ricky gets Rob to explain the benefits of writing your goals out.

Experts agree the world over that you are more likely to achieve the goals you have written down. In our podcast, Ricky asks Rob why putting your goals to paper could make all the difference?

When it comes to a goal in your head compared to a written down goal, the likelihood of you achieving it becomes so much greater because you have greater clarity. In the podcast, Rob explores how a written down goal suddenly becomes much more important to us. By writing it down, we have committed to it: our thoughts have become crystalized resulting in a more meaningful goal.

Putting your goals to paper has the knock-on effect that we then hold ourselves to account. Sharing goals has advantages too as someone else gets involved. Rob goes onto discuss how written down goals have other benefits as they can be reviewed easily. The goals can be tested and examined to see if they are still the right thing, still achievable and deliverable. The process enables us to sense check the purpose remains relevant. Then there is the question of memory. Many of us are holding multiple tasks and goals in our heads on any given day. By writing goals down, you can capture them.

Ricky goes on to offer some other useful advice. He explains how we can’t rewrite history if the goal is on paper in terms of the original aims. It allows you to be more consistent reducing the chances of drift in terms of timeline, volume or quality. Writing down goals allows us to check there isn’t any duplication in specific areas and has the additional benefit that everyone knows what the organisation is setting out to achieve.

Putting goals to paper increases collaboration and commitment in the workplace and can be a bit like an insurance policy; a useful way to minimise risk. Essentially it all comes back to the issue of clarity and it’s fair to say you get much better value in an organisation if goals are written down.

The Thinking Focus: The Question Is podcast series is available to download on ITunes.

How can you motivate yourself?

 

Everyone has to get involved in things that they would rather not be doing.  To get these things done we need to master the art of motivating ourselves.

Ricky and Rob explore, how can you motivate yourself?

We all know there are times at work when we need to get involved in projects or tasks that we would prefer not be have to do. In our podcast, Rob and Ricky discuss just how to make a connection and get motivated.

On a personal level, it’s likely most people will be more enthusiastic and therefore more likely to do a better job if they make a connection on some level. In the podcast, Ricky and Rob explore how sometimes the only motivation is that we have to do the task because it’s part of the job. How can we learn to attach importance and value to our work if this is the case so it becomes a personal and greater goal?

To be motivated, we need to see the bigger picture. Rob explains if we see things as having to do them, the motivational goal is only ever going to reach a certain level. To attach more importance, we need to see the job as a personal or community goal which will in turn increase motivation levels.

Ricky goes onto explore how if we can make a connection at a personal level, it will make a positive impact on productivity and the quality of our work. We will be able to put in more energy and vigour for the greater good of the organisation.

A useful checklist when getting motivated is asking the questions What, Why and Can I? This will give us focus to move forward with the job in hand. What is it we need to focus on? Why is important personally, to the team and organisation? Rob and Ricky wrap up their discussion on a positive note examining how we all need to believe that ‘we can’. This will instil a level of confidence in turn boosting our motivation.

The Thinking Focus: The Question Is podcast series is available to download on ITunes.

Managers, how to get out of the way and improve your performance

Sshh!  Mastering the art of getting out of your people’s way seems to be one of the best-kept secrets in business.  I mean as managers it takes a leap of faith to allow your people the freedom to get on with it.   
The truth is that treating your people with respect and trusting them to do the right thing will reap real rewards.  Your performance will increase, significantly.  Your engagement scores will rise, your attrition will fall, compliance will improve.
The way we are managed and led continually fails us, the need to report, to know what is going on, the fear of being caught out and exposed by colleagues drives manager behaviours to be more over bearing.  
Dan Pink in his book, Drive, talks about the science behind motivation; where a role requires a more cognitive approach than traditional carrot and stick approach, the latter fails consistently.
Exploiting these three fundamental principles will reap tremendous benefits.
Autonomy
It is highly likely your people understand the direction of travel; it is even more likely that they know what the key issues are along the way, what they want is for you to get our of their way and let them get on with it.  
Allow them to decide how they will get there and you will see a level of engagement, creativity and problem solving that will amaze you.  We see this all the time in our workshops; our clients are continually blown away by their people, they willingly take on business challenges over and above their day job and come back with remarkable results.
Mastery
We like to get better at stuff, we enjoy taking on challenges and making a contribution, and we don’t always want rewarding for it!  Counter-intuitive right?  Not if you look at examples like Wikipedia, built on free contributions, developers give their time for free to improve open source software for the betterment of the user base.   What if, your people could choose the skills they want to develop and focus that time on improving your business.  Win-win?  I think so.
Purpose
Your best people are attracted to more than just the money; they want to feel that their work has meaning.  Your purpose, provided it is meaningful is fundamental to engaging your people, this is the north star, this is the guide for both autonomy and mastery.  If I connect with the purpose and I am allowed to apply myself I will give more than just what you expect; I will excite you with my passion and energy.  Why; because you treat me like I am a person and not a machine, just designed to shift a widget!
Getting out your people’s way makes sense commercially and scientifically, so why not give it a go.
    
Don’t take my word for it; Dan Pink says it far more eloquently than me in his book Drive and this short YouTube clip https://youtu.be/u6XAPnuFjJc

What is the point of goals?

Why do we need to have goals, do they have any effect on what we do, or are they just management mumbo jumbo? In our podcast Paul asks Richard, what is the point of goals?

It might feel like a bit of a Nineties throwback to sit and write down your goals but, as we discuss in our podcast, there’s a reason why putting something down on paper still works.

Goal writing is a useful exercise for lots of reasons. Firstly, it channels our motivation and forces us to think carefully about what’s important to us. In the podcast, Richard and Paul talk about how it’s important to identify not just what you want to achieve but also why.

Richard discusses the process of goal writing and how it can help us prioritise. Setting goals and working out why they’re important to us activates our conscious mind and writing them down can help them seep into the subconscious, which means we start to recognise thoughts and actions that contribute towards our goals, even when we are not actively thinking about them.

So what happens when we’re given a goal that we don’t want? It happens all the time in the workplace but if it’s something we don’t want to do, or don’t feel is important, it may never happen. For a goal to be achievable, we need to believe in it.

What if we write down a bad goal and head off in the wrong direction, channelling your energy and motivation towards it? Paul’s got some useful advice on this too and explains how the process of writing goals helps us focus our thoughts and refine our wish list.

How do we make a start? If we have a blank sheet of paper and no goals, where do we begin? As Paul explains, we all have goals, it’s just that they may simply be ideas at the moment that need a bit of development. On a personal level you might know you want to go on holiday next year but you haven’t thought about the detail such as where you’ll go or when.

We all have goals in our head, we just need to get them down on paper and make them happen.

 

The Thinking Focus: The Question Is podcast series is available to download on ITunes.

 

 

5 mistakes when implementing change

Do you wonder why organisational change feels so hard? Why do people react poorly? Why does the original business case for the change seem to get lost? Why has the scope changed so dramatically to the original plan? These are all too common questions in the world of organisational change. At the heart are five easily preventable mistakes.

The secret when implementing change in organisations is to recognise that it is your people who will determine whether your plan is a success.

1. Are your leaders aligned with the change?

All too often change can be undermined by senior leaders. They will be seen to lack enthusiasm; they may even distance themselves from the change or worse behave in a contradictory manner. People are great at spotting misalignment and even better at working out how to play it to their advantage.

2. What are we supposed to be working on?

Businesses are ambitious in their goals. Shareholders demand a return; executives have egos to maintain and a requirement to maintain or keep ahead of the competition. Add to the mix external stakeholders (government, regulators or similar) imposing their will on the business and how they believe it should operate. Confusion reigns amongst your people on what are the priorities and which are the important ones. Even worse when competing priorities emerge, the battle commences for essential resources.

3. Imposition or involvement?

Having made the strategic or tactical decision to change how you engage your people will determine your success. Business is both busy and demanding; it expected the results yesterday. It is all too easy to focus solely on the execution of the plan. Being able to tick off the task on the project plan is one thing, but the lasting effects can be both costly and ultimately fail due to the lack of adoption by the end user.

4. Why do we measure the wrong things?

We all know that businesses move at a fast pace. A symptom is failing to track the impact of the changes implemented. Success gets measured in the execution of the project. The reason for the change gets lost and the impact not measured. Ineffective change represents an enormous hidden cost. Benefits are unrealised due to lack of engagement, employee resistance, and worse, workarounds (the way we have always done it/the way we prefer to do it) are created.

5. Why does it feel like everyone wants a say?

It’s important to decide who you will involve, why you are including them in the process and how you will engage both internal and external stakeholders as getting this wrong can create landmines. Is there agreement on their level of involvement? If not, you will find yourself spending a disproportionate amount of time managing fallout and not advancing your project.