Numbers don’t lie. But they also don’t tell the whole story. Relying solely on hard data leads to tunnel vision. Only one piece of the puzzle is being scrutinized, leaving a sense of overall failure, when in fact the success that is occurring outside of the spreadsheet is far more impactful. Goals that rely strictly on achieving a specific number may be easier to grade as a pass or fail, but they leave no room for subjective interpretation.
Your goal is to lose twenty pounds in six weeks. You are eating healthier, putting in time on the treadmill, lifting weights as if you were preparing for a cage match with your most feared opponent. Yet the number on the scale hasn’t budged.
Failure, right? Not really.
You have lost inches and you are stronger. Not only do you stand a good chance at beating your competitor in the ring, you’ll look damn good in your neon yellow speedo trunks while doing so.
You didn’t fail to achieve your goal. Your goal failed you. Goals that are too rigid will often lead to premature abandonment and an unrealistic feeling of disappointment.
Multifaceted long term goals allow for the ebbs and flows of life, consumer behavior, and workforce performance. Where you may fall short in one aspect, you excel in another, creating an achievement well beyond the original intention.
In the above example, a good goal would have read as, “My goal is to become a healthier, stronger, faster version of myself in six weeks.” The number on the scale isn’t the finish line. Committing to taking the actions towards the goal is the objective. This goal is still measurable, and specific. It is attainable, relevant and time-bound. It is stated in a way that promotes success.
Taking this thought process into a business related scenario is just as, if not, more beneficial.
Ted the Tech has a goal set to complete 10% more jobs this month. Ted is knocking his goal out the park and is averaging 15% more productivity than expected. When looking at Ted’s efficiency in completing jobs it appears he is a rockstar employee. Ted hit the goal and then surpassed it. Gold medal worthy?
Ted has a negative attitude towards his coworkers as he believes he works much harder than the rest of them. Ted has a 30% comeback rate due to mistakes and overlooking small details. When confronted Ted becomes defensive and combative.
Ted is not a rockstar employee. Ted needs to reevaluate his goals in order to truly become an asset in the shop.
Next time you are setting personal goals, overarching company goals, or goals for your team take a step back and look at the bigger picture. Make sure to encompass factors that may change what achievement really looks like.
Quality vs. quantity. Productivity vs. percentage. Cost vs. Culture.
Numbers don’t lie. But they surely allow for blind spots.
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