Setting and Scoring Your Goals: Goals Are Stated Ambitions; and All Leaders Know They Must Set Them and Follow Them Up till They Are Accomplished. for, Failure to Set Goals Reduces Leadership to Management by Chance and Hunches-A Sure Recipe for Corporate Disaster
Kumuyi, William F., Dr, New African
Leaders are familiar with goals. They are driven by them. Their change efforts are bent towards accomplishing them. Goals make leadership tick. Periodically, leaders sit down; think hard, size up the future to design goals that will help ensure realisation of the bottom line and fulfilment of the organisation's mission. Goals are stated ambitions; and all leaders know they must set them and follow them up till they are accomplished. For, failure to set goals reduces leadership to management by chance and hunches--a sure recipe for corporate disaster.
Profits of goal setting
The benefits of goal setting are numerous; but I will outline a few here.
* Definition: Goals help define an organisation's mission and concretise its vision drive. Your organisation's social architecture is partly defined and described by the goals you set and pursue. Your leadership too is rated and characterised according to the goals you accomplish. Simply, people know your organisation's mission and rate what you're doing at the helm by the visions (goals) you pursue. Thus, with neither goals nor vision, your leadership and organisation are essentially without identity.
* Direction: As products of visioning, goals help provide direction for an organisation. The over-arching purpose of leadership is to influence and maintain progressive change. But change is an end-product of realised goals in a particular direction. Thus, if you say you're moving your organisation up, your staff and the public would be itching to know the direction you're heading in. It's your goals that tell them the way. Where no goals exist, there will be no sense of direction, no challenge and nothing to aim at. Consequently, workers become glued to norm and the organisation stagnates.
* Drive: Goals help the workforce know what the organisation is aiming at; and if this knowledge is coupled with appropriate motivation, aggregate productivity invariably improves. Thus, goals indirectly infuse the workforce with the drive for better performances. Leaders looking for an elixir to cure pervasive sloth at the workplace should try goal setting and chasing.
* Diversity: Goals can introduce diversity into an organisation's fossilised work culture. The pursuit of new goals necessarily demands change in programmes and work-style, and the introduction of new production process, programmes, materials, machines and, probably, personnel. Colour and variety are marks of an organisation in sincere pursuit of specific goals.
* Discovery: Goal setting can help reveal the limits of your organisation and your own leadership. The elephant may not know it has no wings until it attempts to fly. Your organisation's strengths and weaknesses come to the fore when you attempt to swim against the tide of norm towards a goal that takes your net-worth to a new height. Leaders who periodically set goals, review and pursue them have a realistic rating of their organisation's capabilities and their own competencies. Those who don't set goals work with a distorted view of whom and what they and their organisations are!
* Development: Your organisation cannot develop without your setting goals and realising them. Development is the cumulative effects of goals set and realised. Leaders of successful world-class organisations are goal-oriented.
* Description: Goals help describe an organisation's successes. In establishments where things happen effortlessly, success is neither celebrated nor appreciated because it's neither sought nor paid for. But where goals are set and their impact measured, the organisation has something to flaunt and the leader has a reason to cheer.
Pitfalls of goal setting
Not all goals are "scored". Both corporate and political leaders are familiar with painful misses, when goals end in mirage. Africa is acquainted with rain clouds of development plans that simply dissolve in the tempestuous wind of transitory governance. Leaders fail to reach their goals because the goals aren't SMART. That means they aren't: S-specific; M-measurable; A-achievable; R-realistic; T-time-bound.
First, a goal should be specific, expressed in clear unequivocal terms. It should be limited to one-shot one-track target(s). For example, a goal such as "education for all by year 2050" is too general, too multi-faceted to be realised. You would need to fire many shots and plough through many tracks in a futile attempt to hit that target.
Second, they should be measurable. Your goal must lend itself to incremental measuring after it has been accomplished. There's no other way to know that the attainment of a goal has impacted the organisation positively but by measuring the quality and quantity of the resultant change.
Third, the goals should be achievable. Authentic leadership doesn't cloud goal setting by embarking on a wild goose chase. You're engaged in self-delusion if you pursue vaulting ambitions that your competencies and organisation's resources can't secure and hold.
Fourth, goals have to be realistic or they will end up as wishful thinking. Yes, goal setting isn't a game of ideals. Facts are needed to conceive and birth ambitions. Of course, chutzpah is necessary but active faith in effective leadership isn't a blind jump. Fifth, goals must be time-bound. There must be a time frame for accomplishing all set goals. Otherwise, corporate commitment and fidelity to the objectives of the goals will be lacking. There won't be any sense of urgency needed to galvanise the workforce and move them to bend their backs in service in order to realise the goal(s). Thus, goals set without a time-frame fade away and are jettisoned by and by.
Process of goal setting
Goals are products of visioning. Therefore, to develop a goal you must have had a vision of what, where and how you want your organisation to be at specific times in future. Break this broad ambition into chunks of passionate desires; and you've got goals.
The birthing of visions and development of goals are major functions of leadership. But, as a leader, you will need the inputs of your team to help brush up the goals and develop objectives for their implementation. For easy control, you may have to raise an ad-hoc committee for each stage of the goal setting process to prepare a workable blueprint for your consideration and approval. The setting up of the final system is, however, your duty.
Once all this is done, the following stages should naturally follow.
* Write it down and say it often: Once conceived and shared with the members, an organisation's goals must be recorded for easy and accurate reference and for review and follow-up when necessary. Recorded and repeated goals often provoke workers' commitment to efforts to realise them; because what people read and hear often tends to stick in their minds and move them to action.
* Weigh it up: When in the 1980s the world was hollering "housing for all by year 2000 ... education for all by year 2000", policymakers across nations didn't consider the demands of the goals together with the screaming slogans. Oftentimes leaders are swift in setting goals without counting the cost. They might promise the people a ride to the moon not minding the lack of a spacecraft for the flight and the unlikelihood of making one in their lifetime. It's of no use setting a goal you know your organisation can't accomplish.
* You must weigh it up: By this I mean you must evaluate the resources for accomplishing the goal. Do you have enough men, money and materials? If you would need to expand your resource base to accommodate the demands of the goal, how do you do this, and to what extent? You may have to reshuffle the staff and create new operation lines. To what extent should this be done and who among the staff should be assigned new roles?
* Believe it: Meaningful goal setting isn't fun. In fact, as a product of visioning, a goal may require an adjustment of existing structures; otherwise it won't be realised. Since the ultimate effect of goals is change, goals can't be actualised unless the organisation's system and structure are adjusted in some way. Change begets change; so if you aren't willing to rock the boat in any way, don't embark on goal setting and chasing! You must count the full cost and be ready to pay the full price before you set at goals.
* Work it out: This is the most crucial aspect of goal setting. And this is where many leaders may bungle it. When a goal is worked out, an action plan is developed for its actualisation. An action plan contains statements on what should be done at a specific time-span to reach the set goals. A detailed action plan should contain statements about: (1) the goal; (2) the objectives; (3) methods; (4) means, money, men/materials; (5) time-frame; and (6) evaluation of the results. I wish I had the space to develop these points!…
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Publication information: Article title: Setting and Scoring Your Goals: Goals Are Stated Ambitions; and All Leaders Know They Must Set Them and Follow Them Up till They Are Accomplished. for, Failure to Set Goals Reduces Leadership to Management by Chance and Hunches-A Sure Recipe for Corporate Disaster. Contributors: Kumuyi, William F., Dr - Author. Magazine title: New African. Issue: 475 Publication date: July 2008. Page number: 26+. © 2005 IC Publications Ltd. COPYRIGHT 2008 Gale Group.
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