Goals versus growth, which is better for business and personal development?
Underlying this discussion is the principle of motivation. Goal-oriented people tend to be positively motivated (myself included). Our natural tendency is to name it and claim it.
We motivate sales teams, we inspire people to follow us and we have an attitude of aiming for the stars and reaching the moon.
Why do we have the attitude of setting big goals and settling for moderate achievement?
It is frankly a self-defence mechanism. We don't want to set ourselves up for disappointment, so rather than stop at “aim for the stars,” we add the insurance clause “and reach the moon.”
By doing that we cannot fail.
I was once mentored by a gentleman who was extremely successful, but claimed he was one of the biggest failures in the world.
He had never reached a goal he had set because he always set such audacious goals. The challenge comes when we continue to fail and our mental fortitude starts to suffer:
- We struggle with self doubt.
- Can I really do this?
- Do I have what it takes?
For some it works. Actor/comedian Jim Carey being one of them. The story is told that he once claimed he would be a successful actor while sitting by the Hollywood sign. He wrote a cheque to himself for an exorbitant amount of money with a date and put it in his wallet.
The visual reminder drove him to keep seeking the prize and you probably know the end of the story — the contract and cheque arrived pretty much around the date he had originally written on his fake cheque.
But is there a better way?
Now that I am a little older and perhaps a tiny bit wiser, I would say that there is. Growth orientation in your personal life and business life is more sustainable, provides more opportunities for development and prevents stagnation.
I have written in the past that the problem with goals is they allow you to say to yourself “I have succeeded” and subsequently take a holiday. You plateau! A big mistake in my mind. You just quit as a leader. Sure, take a break, but don't read the headlines.
In business, that plateau effect can be damaging to your business in this rapidly evolving business environment.
Growth orientation takes a different approach. It enables us to focus on improvements, to reward organizations for metrics other than a fiscal or “hard” goal. It allows us to recognize achievements in customer service or product development.
It is the type of focus that disappears with goal orientation where we are so focused on a fiscal objective that we are often willing to cut corners in other important areas.
On a personal level, we see the disappointment in goal orientation on or around Jan. 2, the day after we made a resolution to achieve something.
One of the most popular resolutions is to get healthier, lose weight etc. So I tried an experiment this year.
I set an objective, a growth objective (kind of a negative growth objective really) to lose weight. I set the objective in October.
I chose October because waiting until Jan. 1 was already setting me up for failure.
I wanted to get healthier and part of that process was to reduce my weight after a hefty business travel schedule last year.
I had a massive objective to find a way to healthily lose one pound each month. I had no end date. My growth objective was to continue to find ways to live more healthily and tune my body for more activity.
It is working.
I have found new ways to prepare food, new foods to eat, new training programs and I have consistently lost one pound per month.
At some point, I will feel I am at a level of optimal weight and health and I can review my growth objective.
A goal orientation would have me look at losing 15 pounds before the end of this year. A large, audacious goal. I might have lost 10 pounds, but at some point I would have reached the moon and celebrated my success. The point of failure would have arrived.
My growth orientation has me researching different ways to eat, live, exercise. It becomes a sustainable lifestyle change that will endure beyond the weight loss phase.
It makes sense, it adds value to my life and helps me feel the objective is a little easier to achieve.
Give it a try.
So U.S. President Donald Trump does not like our “unfair” competition in the gas, oil, lumber and dairy markets, but he wants to work with Canada?
Sounds like Trump, but I have a plan.
This is a grand plan. I am the best at creating grand plans. Better than anybody else, and when I create a grand plan, I mean GRAND. Nobody does it better than me. Truly!
So here it is. If Trump wants a trade war, let's give it to him.
My grand plan:
- Send Tim Horton’s packing. It is unfair competition. It's an American company that poses as a Canadian historical icon. Shut the doors on all of them. Send them home.
- Close Starbucks too
- And Walmart.
- All these American giants that unfairly compete on Canadian soil.
- Let's stop United Airlines, Delta Airlines and American Airlines from landing here.
- Let's make sure that we remove all American programming from Canadian satellite and cable providers.
- Ban Google, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn from the Internet and let's support our homegrown businesses.
From now on Canada First. In every way.
Let's go in heavy, guns loaded; best negotiators to the fore and we will be hard. Because we will fight for Canada.
Or we could just let it play out because so far he has barely done a single thing he has said he would.
Photo: Beautiful B.C.
This has to be the wettest — and the coldest — spring I have experienced in the Okanagan.
It is rather depressing that Facebook likes to remind you how beautiful it was on the same day last year with temperatures in the mid-20s and as high as 27 degrees.
But if it is any consolation, flowers don’t grow in a dry desert. Is this penance for a beautiful, late spring? I would like to think so.
My cherry blossom has been trying to show it’s face for a few weeks now and a magnolia in our back yard seems terrified to commence its short-lived, but resplendent, bloom.
I don't mind the rain. In fact, over time, it will recharge aquifers, keep our forests moist and nobody has to water their lawns for a few months after all this rain, so perhaps it is good.
What I don't appreciate is that while it was raining here a few days ago, the temperature was three degrees. In fact, as I write this, snow flakes are falling, on April 13. It is like being back in Canmore.
I have to consider it conditioning. I have a pending move to the Kootenays where there is typically a little more rain than here. Thankfully, that rain (in a normal year) is condensed into one month.
My family and I have had an amazing time in the Okanagan and we will be visiting here a lot. The most important reason will be because we have our first grandchild joining us later this month.
Yes, I know, strange timing, but it wasn't planned that way.
The drive from here to Kaslo (our new address) is delightful and I need to be here every few weeks, so the road will become very familiar to me whether on my motorbike or in the car.
The motivation comes from a deep desire to live in the mountains — the Monashees, Purcells and Selkirks.
After having lived in Canmore for so many years, we have found ourselves missing the mountain lifestyle. For several years, we have been going to Kokanee Glacier and hiking in the alpine with friends. The decision to move just evolved over time.
Kaslo is a delightful, little mountain village nestled on the shore of Kootenay Lake just north of Nelson and the famous Ainsworth Hot Springs. The lake is lined with gigantic and majestic mountains and the climate… well, typically a few degrees cooler in the summer and a few degrees warmer in the winter.
The population of Kaslo hasn't really changed much in about 100 years, which is also part of the appeal to me. It will be a place to rest and recover from frantic business travel and other adventures.
The Okanagan has provided that respite for many years now but frankly, life is an adventure. It is time to create some fresh adventures.
In a normal year, moss would not grow under my feet, this year there is moss on the bottom of my webbed feet.
Photo: The Daily Mail
Is the world conspiring to “gamify” our lives?
This now famous term for trendy corporate management that has us believe we are having fun while working is meant to increase productivity — but does it?
Here is how one website described gamification:
- “Gamification is the process of taking something that already exists — a website, an enterprise application, an online community — and integrating game mechanics into it to motivate participation, engagement, and loyalty.”
I sort of remember some of Maslow's hierarchy of needs from my long-gone education. It was one of those mandatory classes where the professor wore a woolly jumper, told a lot of jokes and asked you out after for a beer.
But where was gamification in his hierarchy? Not in there. While we are on it, why does work have to be like a game anyway?
Let's face it, business is serious and I am a firm believer that if you treat your organization well, you will get the results you deserve.
Don't get me wrong; we should feel fulfilled from work and excited to go to work. We spend a lot of time working, but it is serious business.
Today, I look around me at my phone that “dings” — a lot. In fact, it is really annoying. I find the “pucking” sound even more distracting. It forces you to see who just pinged you. I am sure you can turn it off, but that takes more time than I generally have to figure out.
I look at people wasting time at work on internal “chat rooms” and I wonder where the increase in productivity comes from. I wonder how anybody gets anything done.
Last year, I installed a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system for one of our businesses that also doubled up as a project management system. It allowed people to “chat” on messenger type services.
It was a young and fresh management tool. It turned into a lack of production nightmare as people sent each other hearts and kisses and pokes, photographs, happy birthday messages, job well done stickers. Well, whatever silly things they could instead of working.
So what has happened to our world, I ask myself? Where is our desire, an in-built genetic desire, to just do a job and want to do it well?
I'm not sure.
In a similar vein, today, at my wife’s behest, we started dog-training lessons. Really, they were human training lessons, but dogs have kept that a mystery for years.
Anyway, we are removing some of the gamification principles from our dog. He likes to have fun, but we need to get more done in a day rather than always playing with him, picking up after him or repairing the last couch he ate.
So now, we see progress. I have a more productive life because my dog is not allowed to play as much and disturb me.
I go back to my computer, turn it on, and see three pokes, two emojis (whatever they are), listen to my phone bing, see that 27 of my friends have birthdays or anniversaries today and then LinkedIn tells me 145 people are celebrating job anniversaries and I should congratulate them.
That is when I decide I just want to go back and play with my dog.
What has happened to the world?
Or is it me? Am I just getting older?