Alergic to Goals?

December 3, 2009 - Mac Lake - Goal Setting

Ken Blanchard says, “Goal setting is the beginning of good performance.”  However in every organization I’ve ever worked for there have been people who seem to be allergic to goals.  Goal setting nauseates them.  They dread them, avoid them and once they set them they lose them.  This is a condition I call “Goalitus”, a severe aversion to goals.  But good goal setting is essential for good management.  Is goalitus prevalent in your organization?  You can recognize the symptoms by what people say.  Here’s a list of symptoms and remedies.

  • SYMPTOM #1 – “I was given a goal I don’t think I can achieve.”
  • REMEDY #1 –  Meet with your direct reports one on one to make sure you both agree on their performance goals at the very beginning. 
  • SYMPTOM #2 –  “My goals always seem to change shortly after I write them down.”
  • REMEDY #2 –  Schedule consistent one on ones with each of your direct reports to discuss goal progress no less than every two weeks.
  • SYMPTOM#3 –  “I forget about my goals once I write them.”
  • REMEDY #3 –  Make sure your direct reports post their goals somewhere they will see them every day.
  • SYMPTOM #4 –  “I don’t find goal setting valuable .”
  • REMEDY #4 –   Make sure your direct reports goals are specific and relevant.  Help them write goals that they are excited about.
  • SYMPTOM #5 – “I’m not a goal setter.”
  • REMEDY #5 –  If your direct reports arn’t goal setters get them to think in terms of problem solving.  Have them read Bobb Biehl’s book “Stop Goal Setting” one of the best books I’ve read on goal setting.
  • SYMPTOM #6 –  “My organization or boss makes too much of goal setting.”
  • REMEDY #6 –  Tell them to quit and go work for an organization that doesn’t care about results.  (Okay that last one may be a little strong, but if they continue to show symptoms of goalitius they may not fit the culture of your organizaton)

Which symptoms of goalitus are showing up in your organizaiton?  What do you need to do about it?

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Mac Lake


My passion is multiplying multipliers

5 responses to Alergic to Goals?

  1. My wife is going to hate you… I just put in *another* book order at Amazon. Symptom #5 is rampant around here, so I’ll take a look at the “Stop Goal Setting” book. Of course that comes a day after ordering about 8 books to read on Christmas vacation, forgetting I already have a stack of 13 waiting 🙂

    Thanks for the tips and book ideas!

  2. I love the title – its so true

  3. Great thoughts Mac! And timely – we’re in the middle or performance plans (with objectives & goals) for all the staff. I sent this on to our leadership team!

  4. Yes, we are in the midst of performance plans as well. Glad you found it helpful

  5. I’m a bookaholic too Larry, maybe we should form a support group! Is there a book for that?

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