Making Progress Toward Big Goals

By: Charlie Martin 3 years ago

Some of us who are high achievers are inclined to set Big Hairy Audacious Goals (BHAG’s). There is absolutely nothing wrong with a BHAG if every goal is not a BHAG.

Even if we do have one of more BHAG’s we need to take the next step and create our action plans so at least we can see that we are making progress toward that meaningful goal.  There is more than enough research that indicates that one of our strong needs as humans is to see that we are always making progress toward meaningful goals.

Authors Teresa Amabile and Steven Kramer provide great examples of the value of recognizing progress toward meaningful goals in their book The Progress Principle. The authors described what they were measuring as the inner work life: what happens to people’s thoughts feelings and drives as they try to solve complex problems inside companies? During their research, the authors discovered three types of events that stood out as potent forces supporting inner work life in this order: progress in meaningful work; catalysts (events that directly help project work); and nourishers (interpersonal events that uplift the people doing the work). Of all the positive events that influence inner work life the single most powerful was progress in meaningful work.

The research is very interesting and the book is great and should be read by anyone who has responsibilities for getting things done through others or in fact anybody that is just trying to accomplish meaningful work whether the work relates to a BHAG or not.

The point of this brief article is that we have a better chance of achieving any goal if we take the time to break the goal down into small steps that we can observe, measure and celebrate as we progress toward the big goal.

The next time you are setting goals for yourself or with a team that you have responsibility for take the time to think clearly about the action steps necessary to achieve the goal and write them down in an action plan that you can follow and observe the progress. It’s always a good idea to take advantage of behavioral research if we want to make the chances of achieving results through others faster and more enjoyable for everyone. If you want to know more about goal setting or action planning don’t hesitate to contact me at [email protected] or 214-869-6148.

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