Why Goal Setting Doesn’t Work Anymore – And What To Do About It

Why Goal Setting Doesn’t Work Anymore – And What To Do About It
SHARE
THIS



Gihan Perera (pictured below) is a business futurist and speaker who works with business leaders to help them lead and succeed in an uncertain times. He’s also the author of “Disruption By Design: Leading the change in a fast-changing world”. In his latest post for B&T, Perera offers his top tips from turning “idea” into achievable action…

Have you ever set a “SMART” goal? That’s been the gold standard for goal setting, but it doesn’t even come close to helping you achieve a goal. Even a drunken New Year’s Resolution – say, that you’ll finally lose that 10 kilograms of excess weight this year – could be a SMART goal: It’s specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-based. But as we all know with New Year’s Resolutions, most of them don’t survive to the end of January!

Gihan Perera 1

Goal setting is easy – ridiculously easy. The real problem is with goal getting. In our fast-changing world, the future is unclear, the changing environment constantly throws out new obstacles, and the goalposts keep changing along the way. That’s why we need new rules now for achieving our goals.

Make it a project, not a goal

A project is a small, clearly-defined job. Like a goal, it has an outcome, but it also has a clear plan attached to it. Sending a man to the Moon was a goal; each space flight during that time was a project. Even if you’re not taking moon-shots, work on 90-day projects rather than 12-month goals. That’s long enough to do something significant, but short enough to know the world won’t change too much around you.

Test it fast

Don’t spend the first three weeks planning, strategising, and optimising your goal. As soon as possible, test it! Approach a few customers, build a prototype, try out a “beta” version of the idea, publish a few pages of your book as a blog post, start the new eating plan immediately, and so on.Your project only runs for 12 weeks, and you can’t afford to wait until week 10 to discover you’re on the wrong track. Test it, assess the results, tweak your approach, and try again.

Take a leaf from Google’s book. Gmail was in “beta release” (that is, not officially a product) for five years before Google officially ended its beta status in 2009. By that time, it already had hundreds of millions of active users, who had the benefit of using Gmail, but also provided invaluable feedback to Google.

Make a plan

With only 12 weeks, you don’t need complex project planning software to plan and run the project. Map out the entire project – week by week – on a big sheet of paper, a simple Excel spreadsheet, or a whiteboard. It’s easy to visualise and easy to track. Share it with your team, and make it visible and prominent throughout the 90 days.

Set rules and build habits

Hard work, discipline, and motivation can help, but another factor trumps all of them: habits. Habit trumps discipline because you’re not relying on motivation and inspiration. You don’t need discipline to brush your teeth or wear a seatbelt, do you?

Apply the same principle to your project. Build habits by setting rules for when and where you will work on it – for example:

  • “When I wake up each day, I will write another 500 words.”
  • “At the start of the weekly team meeting, we’ll spend 10 minutes sharing interesting ideas we have seen that week.”
  • “When I pull out my phone to check social media, I will first read an article from my saved bookmarks.”
  • “Every Tuesday morning from 9-10am, I will have meetings with the people I mentor.”

Imagine how you could fail

Traditional goal-setting urges you to imagine success in all its glory. But that’s too optimistic for a fast-changing world. Instead, imagine what might go wrong, so you can plan for it.

In Harvard Business Review in 2007, Gary Klein described a process he and colleagues devised: a “pre-mortem”. In a medical post-mortem, the surgical team analyses what went wrong so they can prevent future deaths. In a pre-mortem, before the project starts, imagine your project has failed after 90 days, identify what went wrong, and then add these obstacles, mistakes, and mis-steps to your project plan.

How will YOU set – and get – your next goal?

Boxer Mike Tyson said, “Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face.” In our fast-changing world, there are so many things that could punch us in the face! But these principles will help you stay on track, so you can set – and, more importantly, get – your goals!

 

Please login with linkedin to comment

Gihan Perera

Latest News

Sex, Sins & Single Source Storytelling
  • Opinion

Sex, Sins & Single Source Storytelling

In this guest post, Jen Dobbie (main image), creative director at Hotwire Australia, says ultimately advertising is merely storytelling and offers her expert tips to put more zing in your brand’s tale… The Wicked Bible is a deliciously named, and tempting title for a storied series of mistakes published in 1631. Its pages house the […]

Opinion

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Blooms The Chemist Comes Up With Creative New Media Portal To Handle Its Physical And Digital Campaigns
  • Campaigns
  • Technology

Blooms The Chemist Comes Up With Creative New Media Portal To Handle Its Physical And Digital Campaigns

Blooms The Chemist is digitising how it manages owned media, rolling out a dedicated supplier media portal capable of managing in-store and online campaigns across its 110+ pharmacies. The Australian pharmacy sector has seen significant growth, accelerated by the COVID-19 response. At the peak of the country’s pandemic, retail pharmacy sales surpassed $800 million, up […]

IDC And Data.ai Study Shows Mobile Vs. Console Gamer Gap Is Getting Even Bigger
  • Technology

IDC And Data.ai Study Shows Mobile Vs. Console Gamer Gap Is Getting Even Bigger

data.ai (formerly App Annie), the first unified data ai company, today in partnership with IDC, released the Gaming Spotlight 2022 report. Powered by Game IQ, the report reveals that mobile gaming represents 61 percent of the overall gaming market which is set to hit $222 billion in 2022. The report reveals that mobile gaming is […]

Emplifi First Quarter Report Shows Investments On Ads Are Up But User Engagement Is Flatlining
  • Marketing

Emplifi First Quarter Report Shows Investments On Ads Are Up But User Engagement Is Flatlining

Emplifi, the leading unified customer experience (CX) platform, today revealed the findings of its Q1 2022 analysis of social media spend across thousands of brands worldwide including those in Asia Pacific (APAC). While overall social media ad spend decreased in the first quarter following an impressive holiday showing, it remains significantly higher than a year […]

Reconciliation Australia Launches National Reconciliation Week Campaign Via Carbon Creative
  • Campaigns

Reconciliation Australia Launches National Reconciliation Week Campaign Via Carbon Creative

Reconciliation Australia and Carbon Creative will launch National Reconciliation Week 2022 tomorrow, Friday, 27 May (running through to 3 June) with the theme ‘Be brave. Make change.’ The theme and campaign, developed by social change creative agency Carbon Creative in collaboration with emerging Torres Strait Visual Artist Tori-Jay Mordey, challenges all Australians—individuals, families, communities, organisations, […]

Today Is National Sorry Day
  • Media

Today Is National Sorry Day

B&T would like to take time out from the usual programming to acknowledge National Sorry Day today.

‘The Sims 4’ Now Lets You Use Your Own Pronouns For Your Characters
  • Technology

‘The Sims 4’ Now Lets You Use Your Own Pronouns For Your Characters

The latest entry in EA and Maxis’ life simulation series, The Sims 4, has released a new update which allows players to customise their character’s pronouns. This new feature is available only in the English version of the game for the time being, with the developers saying that they will soon release it for other […]