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It’s Goal Setting Time

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in Remarkable Leadership with Kevin Eikenberry

It is almost that time of year.

It’s about time to start setting your goals for next year. I know it might not be time quite yet, but chances are it is coming. My advice today may be a bit controversial or challenge your assumptions.

Are you ready?

Don’t set goals.

Am I serious?


Don’t set goals … if that is all you are going to do. If your organization mandates team and/or individual goals, you probably write them. You get people thinking about the possibilities; you might even raise morale a bit — until you take no action. If all you are doing is setting goals and taking no action, it is worse than doing nothing. I write about this now because that may be where you are now — looking at the goals you wrote nine month ago and nothing has really happened.

Don’t set goals … if you don’t have a clear and meaningful purpose in achieving them. The “why” is what will keep you moving forward and is the single most important factor in your ultimate success. Setting a goal without a clear and compelling purpose is sort of like buying a car but never buying any fuel.

Don’t set goals … if you aren’t going to immediately plan for their implementation. At the time of setting the goal, and having a clear purpose, energy and emotion are high. You must capitalize on that moment in time and start building your plans for achievement right then. Besides, if you don’t get started on the plan, you won’t achieve anything anyway.

Don’t set goals … if you aren’t serious about achieving them. You may not reach all of them completely or in the timeline you hoped for. But if you aren’t committed, why even start? This causes a problem in the short term — it is a waste of your time and effort. But in the bigger picture, setting goals halfheartedly or cynically sets a precedent and builds an insidious habit.

Yes, I believe in the power and importance of goal setting for us as individuals, for teams, for families and for organizations. But they must be set for the right reasons and with the right intention. If you have that part right, get on with setting your goals.

If not, stop.

Get all that settled before you set a goal because if not, they won’t work anyway.

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