Goals and Groundhogs: What Leaders Need to Know about Goal-Setting

Happy Groundhog day!  One of my favorite movies is the Bill Murray/ Andie MacDowell charmer, “Groundhog Day”, where Bill Murray’s character re-lives the same day over and over until he learns a few core lessons and transforms his being.  Many executives in organizations replay their own pattern with the development of leadership goals that are not clearly written with specific plans for how to accomplish them.  Thus, they are doomed to re-live over and over the fuzzy results produced with lack of clear goal-setting.  Now, thanks to Maynard Brusman’s article in the Library of Professional Coaching, you can learn about Creating Goals: Goal-Setting Strategies for Leaders.
Here’s an excerpt from his article, and the full 8 pages are available at the Library of Professional Coaching.

In a Harvard study conducted in 1979, the graduates of the MBA program were asked, “Have you set clear, written goals for your future and made plans to accomplish them?” It turned out that only 3 percent of the graduates had written goals and plans. Thirteen percent had goals, but not in writing. Fully 84 percent had no specific goals at all.Ten years later, in 1989, the researchers interviewed the members of that same class again. They found that the 13 percent who had goals that were not in writing were earning twice as much as the 84 percent of students who had no goals at all. And most surprisingly, they found that the 3 percent of graduates who had clear, written goals when they left Harvard were earning, on average, 10 times as much as the other 97 percent of graduates all together. The only difference between the groups was the clarity of the goals they had for themselves when they graduated.
Yes, you read that correctly. The 3 percent who had clear, written goals earned ten times as much as the 97 percent who didn’t have clear, written goals. Almost all successful people have goals, and outstanding high achievers have clearly defined written goals. That said, how come so few people actually write out their goals?

In the article, Maynard explores the psychological reasons why we don’t set goals properly, why the goals we do set might not work, and how to align purpose, identity and values to create goals and sustain  your motivation over time. He explains the SMART goals and what to do when goals are incomplete. Check it out!  There are several fabulous articles by Maynard in the Library, so you can search for other articles by this author here: http://libraryofprofessionalcoaching.com/author/maynardbrusman/.

Comments (2)

I love these retrospective studies, but they miss another much more interesting phenomenon. In examining those industrialists whose salaries today are more than $1 million per year, they told a different story. When asked if they had any idea 20 years ago that they’d be where they are today, the majority said “No.”

So that’s an interesting point, Rey! Do you take that to mean that they arrived at their current success without a clear vision, intention, roadmap, and strategic plan? Does that mean multimillion dollar success is organic, accidental, or unpredictable?

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