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Goal setting - how not to score an own goal!

Most people would not think they could use help setting goals.
What’s your goal?  Well, there could be a few.  To have another hundred happy customers?  To get a promotion?  To move to a new organisation?
When I work with clients we first agree some terminology to ensure we are both talking the same language!  Getting a certain number of new customers should be regarded as simply a 'result' i.e. a measure of your goal. Usually when we scratch beneath the surface of a result, the client realises there could be more than one way of measuring a desired success and x number of customers is just one of those measures.
There are a number goal setting theories, especially in sports psychology, and all of them attempt to draw out in some way, a distinction between a result and the performance required to achieve that result. The main issue is about degree of control.
What I mean here is that if you examine the goal you are setting, ask yourself how much control you have over its achievement. If other people are needed to make the result happen then you have very little control. However, if no-one else is involved then you have complete control. You'll often hear athletes talk about their coach's instruction at times of pressure to "control the controllables".
Getting a promotion obviously relies upon the selector/s awarding you one and you're certainly not in control of them! Even having happy customers is not entirely under your control as the customer alone will decide if they are happy.
These would be valid and powerful Goals but after you've done some envisaging work on them your attention should turn to your own performance that will be needed to influence the goal.
What areas of 'performance' might you focus on?
When you break down everything that needs to happen between where you want to end up (say with x new customers) and where you start from today, you'll find there will be a list of desired situations e.g.:
  • Your team deliver their best sales performance
  • You release your best leadership behaviour
  • Your product gets good reviews
In terms of your own performance (the only thing you can fully control) then obviously you can focus on exhibiting the right leadership behaviours and set a clear 'outcome' for this. E.g., although you have little control over the team (we can only influence others, rather than control them) your focus could be on your inspirational leadership style and setting a clear outcome for this.
If this produces the desired inspiration in individuals the short term goal of customers signing up will have a much better chance of happening.  An eventual result may be the achievement of a sales number, or a promotion but I'm confident that if you stay focused on this result, rather than your performance (your leadership style) you will be less likely to achieve it.
Put even more simply, a result (sales numbers) is in the future so stay focused on the here and now; what you're doing in this moment. Elite athletes never focus on winning or losing; only on how they are performing now.
If you need convincing then take a look at the record of David Brailsford. He is currently performance director of British Cycling and the general manager of Team Sky.  One might suggest he had a reasonably successful 2012!  He has been clear on countless occasions that he is not focussed on gold, he’s focussed on performance - the right performance will bring gold medals (and boy did that happen during the Olympics!).
'Focussing on the moment' is key.  In a busy office, with things perhaps not going 100% right on a challenging Monday morning, should you be focussed on whether or not you’ll have a £x sales by Christmas?  Absolutely not.  At that time, the goal is to ‘pull it together’, to get everyone in that team to perform to the best of their ability.
Did you hear the BBC commentary as Andy Murray was about to serve for the match, and for the Gold, in the Olympic Final?  The commentator actually said “All he needs to do now is focus on the moment”.  Would it have helped to have thought about the Gold medal, about beating his nemesis, about the countless millions watching on TV?  Quite the contrary.  His goal was to win that one point and his performance outcome was to serve at his best which, I am delighted to say, he did with an ace. Just to make the point - at that moment he certainly wasn't thinking about being Wimbledon champion in 1 year's time!
But do you really need help to set goals?

Well, does the aforementioned Andy Murray have a Coach to help him set and achieve goals?  Or Tiger Woods?  And how about senior executives in the business world?  Or high performing sales people?
What the coach provides is the skill of facilitating your thinking; teasing out what is under your control and what isn't; asking the right questions to stimulate the right thoughts. The very process itself is of tremendous benefit because you're rehearsing success.
Done properly, there is so much more to this than simply writing down some SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time bound) goals and pinning them on the wall. When you really get your brain engaged in hearing, seeing, feeling, smelling and tasting the moment of success before it happens, then I reckon you are more than half way to achieving it.

Ghandi once said, "The difference between what we do, and what we're capable of doing would solve most of the world's problems". The question is, how big is the gap between your current success and what you're capable of?
Introverts - Take Heart; Your Status Will Improve!
Can you imagine a neurotic introvert appearing in the TV show, The Apprentice? Pigs might fly! Of course the go getting extroverts are the people we want to see. However, are they the best contributors to the team in the long run?

Research suggest not.

In fact this research article suggests that although extroverts find it easier to make a rapid positive impact, being assertive and dominant, as time passes their status can fall within the group at the same time as the status of the quieter, introverted ones improves. The extroverts can be poor listeners and less able to cope with others being proactive, whilst the introverts quietly get on and over-deliver against expectations.

Read more.........

The 4 Laws of Stupidity
An interesting idea,proposed in a letter to The Psychologist, is that we have spent too much time studying intelligence at the expense of truly understanding stupidity - a human condition that Galen Ives believes has had more effect on events than our intelligence!

In case you can't be bothered to click below and scroll to the relevant letter, his 4 laws are headlined:

1. Stupidity is a universal human faculty, not found in animals

2. Stupidity is not the opposite of intelligence (you can have both)

3. Whilst the stupidity of others is obvious, one's own is entirely invisible

4. Unlike intelligence, stupidity is additive, so that the stupidity of a group equals the sum of the stupidity of its members

Apparently the famous ethologist, Timbergen said' "I believe I discovered the missing link between animals and intelligent life: it is us".

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To Shake Or To Hug; That is the burning business issue.
Oh I know......when I started my working life in Yorkshire it were very simple: you shook hands, with a firm grip - no limp gestures here! You were lucky if y' mum gave you a hug let alone a female stranger at work!

Nowadays I find myself not knowing what to do. The first meeting with a female business contact used to be reasonably safe; a handshake. Now even that meeting of strangers can be done with a hug....but not always.

As Dr.
Peggy Drexler of Cornell University points out, some women hate being hugged.

What's the right thing to do?

Dr Drexler concludes "'s less about the point of contact than about the attitude
behind it".

Read more.........

Women Just Can't Get Away With Being Tentative.
It used to be true that women in work were pilloried for any kind of proactive, confident action (demonstrating 'agency'). Women were supposed to be more nurturing than pushing and shaping events.

You might think that's all changed and to some extent it has but only to reveal a latent issue.

It seems that whilst we may now encourage 'agency' in all our workers in leadership roles, women cannot get away with any kind of passivity or hesitation. That behaviour is noticed and punished.

However, here's the can get away with it. The researchers still aren't sure why.....

Read more.........

Coaching for Success
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