If you have read a lot of my posts here or on my other blog, you have seen me write about the fact that too much emphasis can be placed on goal setting. Not because setting goals isn’t important, but because too many people exert effort to set goals, then feel like the job is done.
This is like going to the starting line of a race, crouching down in the blocks and getting ready to run, but feeling like you don’t need to run the race because your work is already done.
It happens all the time, and it is just as foolish as our ill-fated runner.
But even if you set goals and even if you plan to move forward with an action plan to achieve them, you are still missing an important step — aligning those goals to a higher purpose and aligning them to the most important next steps for success. This alignment is important in all cases, but it is especially important that I highlight it here — because it is your job as a leader to make sure that alignment is created.
So setting goals, personally or professionally, is a good start, but not enough. If you aren’t doing that, that is step one. But an important part of that step is making sure those goals are in alignment with your priorities and vision. Setting goals without these screening criteria is clearly like getting the cart before the horse.
To connect to our earlier analogy — while it makes no sense to get to the race, but not run, we must also make sure we show up for the right race. Getting in the starting blocks and running the 1500 meter race is a waste of effort if the right goal would have been to race the 200 meters.
While what I have said so far is all true, the order in an organizational setting might be off. To actually create clear alignment, the alignment must start with the setting of the goals themselves — not just trying to “find” alignment once the goals at all levels have been set.
Starting at the beginning will make your task far easier and your results much better.