Organizational Leadership: Moving the Goalposts

Posted by Matthew Thomas

(or, Re-expecting After the Fact)

Countless times we have probably seen it: a person or organization declares intent and expectations, actually receives results far and wide of the mark, and promptly sets to the task of justifying the results they actually got against the expectations they had.

  • Sometimes (although more often than we care to admit), this justification takes the form of blame or excuses: “he didn’t do…” or “I wasn’t given the…”
  • Sometimes, the results received were actually equally or more valuable than the expected results.

Nevertheless, a lot of times this re-definition happens because we desperately want not to fail, and not to have failed.

However, this prevents us from learning some key things from the experience:

  • Perhaps our expectations were out of whack to begin with.
  • Perhaps we misjudged the appeal / marketability / buy-in of our product or service.
  • Perhaps we measured the wrong things.

For growth to happen, we have to be intentional when we move the goalposts on ourselves like this: sometimes it may be appropriate, but we have to make sure we are clear that we are doing it – otherwise we will find ourselves stuck and unable to figure out why.

Design Group International has consultants available to help your organization get un-stuck, define and measure good goals. Click on the link below to get the conversation started.

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Topics: Matthew Thomas, Organizational Leadership, Goal-Setting, Design Group International

Organizational Leadership: Setting Expectations when Innovating

Posted by Matthew Thomas

It’s often hard to know what to expect when you are trying something new. Particularly when a group is planning something new or innovative – or even just something the group has never tried before – it can be hard to know what you can reasonably hope to achieve in the first attempt.

Nevertheless, it is important to have some goal in mind. Here are some ways of doing that:

  • Provide ways of differentiating dream goals from real expectations.
  • Determine measurements you may want to take along the way that could provide you with after-the-fact analytical information.
  • Define what actions you intend to take (and measure whether you do or not).
  • Define responsibility clearly.

If you do these things, you will provide yourself with reasonable expectations. Once you actually see the results, you can measure whether the efforts and costs were worth the results you got. Moreover, you will gain new insight as to what your expectations can be next time around.

Design Group International has consultants available to coach you and your group through healthy goal-setting processes. Click the link below to begin the conversation as to how we might work together!

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Topics: Matthew Thomas, Organizational Leadership, Goal-Setting, Design Group International

Personal (and) Organizational Transformation: Happy New Year!

Posted by Matthew Thomas

If you are like many people, you are at least considering making resolutions for the New Year. Others have decided to forego New Year’s Resolutions this year, and not without some level of guilt – the resolutions don’t tend to work out.

Every year it’s the same thing, isn’t it? Great, broad-reaching goals that fall flat within six weeks; small changes in habits from which we revert to our previous way of operating rather quickly; unexpected resistance or difficulty.

This applies to our organizations as much as to our personal lives.

Often our goals lack five things that would give us greater success. If we put these five things into our goals and resolutions, we will find we have much greater capacity for change than we think.

Specificity: Specific goals give us a chance of success because we know exactly what we must do to achieve them. This also means we have greater chance of failure, because we know what we must do to fail, too.

Measurability: If you can’t measure it, it’s hard to tell whether you are succeeding or failing. Even if what you are trying to measure is intangible, with no true corresponding widgets, dollars or noses to count, it is possible to measure success. Likert scales are great: Rate what you need to measure on a scale of 1 – 5.

Attainability: Can you do it? “I want to achieve world peace” is noble, but it is not really specific or measurable (in that form), nor individually attainable. Setting a smaller goal you can hit is better than an enormous goal with no chance of success. Nevertheless, set attainable goals one or two steps beyond what you know is possible, to give you a challenge. Then, when you meet the goals, take another step or two.

Relevance: Does this goal matter? If not, why are we doing it? If it does, why? Does it help us achieve a greater purpose, or is it merely an exercise in proving we can do something?

Timeliness: If we aren’t specific about the time frame in which something is supposed to happen, we don’t have a way to declare success or failure. Things will continue to get dragged out. Timeliness will cause us to have to declare an end date by which we measure our specifics. At that point, we can reevaluate our position and re-set goals.

Resolutions alone might not be worth it, but good resolutions can be extremely helpful. What are your goals for this year?

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Topics: Organizational Transformation, Matthew Thomas, Goal-Setting, Design Group International, The Tao of Action-Reflection