There is a lot of theory and a lot of chatter online and offline about goal-setting:
- “Are your goals SMART?”
- “Should you focus on problem solving instead of goal-setting?”
- “Is goal-setting simply wishful thinking?”
- “Do people obsess about setting goals as a way to avoid taking action?”
While I recognize that some people may have a bias toward goal-setting, and others towards problem solving, I still see a problem solving orientation as a form of goal-setting. Classic goal-setting which focuses on where I want to go and what do I want to achieve seems to appeal to those with and offensive mindset whereas problem solving seems to click for those with a defensive mindset. However, if you are a problem solver, you are in a sense focusing on the goal of solving that problem; ultimately you are focused, which is the start of any successful outcome.
Interestingly, both goal-setters and problem solvers can get bogged down with thinking about what they want to do rather than taking action.
My leaning is toward goal-setting, but the reality is that in the nitty-gritty real world of organizational and even self leadership, problem solving often becomes the task at hand.
To address both of these challenges- the tendency many of us have to plan rather than taking action, and the constant mix of the need to both set goals and solve problems, I have developed a little goal-setting worksheet, or goal-setting template to help me quickly clarify my thinking and move toward action. It draws from the best goal-setting principles I have learned over the years and applies equally well to small projects, like planning an event, to larger personal and organizational issues like writing a book or starting a business.
Grab a copy, take a look, work through it in relation to a current goal or problem you are facing, and let me know how it goes.