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Welcome to the GAINMORE Advantage Guide to leadership and team development. You are constantly being asked to do more with less. Whether in business, social or family life. Everyone is striving or being pushed to improve performance - do things better, faster, cheaper. The pressures on every individual to increase their own and their team"s performance is increasing - the more turbulent the environment, the greater the pressure. This guide is intended to help you understand and develop your leadership capabilities and behaviours and enable you to more effectively develop your team. Throughout this guide, I use the game of golf as a metaphor and parallel to the game of leadership to aid your understanding and illustrate with examples. Before the non-golfers panic! You do NOT need to be a golfer to understand this, even if you have never held a golf club. If you know that Tiger Woods is a golfer and not a large cat in the trees then the examples are easy to see and follow. This guide forms the basis of our work with individuals, small teams and organisations to develop individual leadership capability and in developing team cohesiveness and performance. The GAINMORE model, on which this is based, has developed over many years of experience working with many individuals and companies and is a spin-off of my doctoral research into management learning. I trust that you enjoy your journey with me.
This is a guide book rather than a prescriptive set of steps you must take in order to achieve success as a leader of yourself and your team. But just like a travel guide - you can consider each part and focus your attention on those parts that will have the greatest impact on your performance now. You might like to invest some time in doing the GAINMORE Advantage self- assessment. This will help highlight your current strengths and the areas you should consider developing as a priority. Whilst this is guide in book form, the learning process is experiential. Each chapter is laid out like a hole on a golf course only with 4 shots for each hole and a field guide for practice in the world outside. Based on the MORSE learning process:
MORSE for golfers
MORSE for leaders
But I don't do it that way!
The GAINMORE Advantage is a pragmatic personal and team learning model. It is based on the concept of quadruple loop learning (I"ll explain more in a short while) and it works because human beings have a commonality in the way we develop our abilities, learn, create, communicate and choose how we live our lives. The precept is that as a human being you wish to continue to grow and learn and develop. What you want to learn, and how you want to develop - whether what you learn is cognitive (knowledge) or behavioural (physical) does not matter.
The GAINMORE Model, Quadruple Loop Learning, Mind, Body Spirit connection
How the Model works, GAINMORE Advantage and golf, GAINMORE Advantage for Personal Development, GAINMORE Advantage for Coaching, GAINMORE Advantage for Team Development
YALB Yet another leadership book? Yes, and no. The "formal and official version" There are several thousand books on leadership produced each year. There are few aspects of leadership that haven"t, at some time or other, come under the scrutiny of academics, writers and the media. But, and there had to be a but didn"t there? Most of these books and articles fall into one of four categories: 1. Leader biographies - written to extol the leadership practices, behaviour and/or traits of a particular individual. 2. How to be a leader - not dissimilar to biographies though usually a collection of several well-known and highly regarded leaders and their thoughts. 3. The X steps/laws/rules of leadership - a number of predefined steps you must take to develop your leadership. 4. Leadership of a particular industry/sector/type - usually a combination of management and leadership within one particular sector or business as an example for people in that sector or business. Nothing wrong with these books (well some of them are pretty poor), but what about the ordinary man or woman - those not in, nor likely to aspire to becoming the CEO of a major corporation? Do the lessons of Jack Welch apply to the small business owner? What if the 7, 10 or 12 steps to greatness just don"t work so well for you? If you"re in middle management, or you are a supervisor of a team, or self-employed, or a student, a homekeeper... isn"t leadership involved in these roles too? The majority of books and articles I have read and researched (and it by no means includes all of the books and articles out there) seem to foucs on how to be a leader. Some, suggest what I should do as a leader. I wanted to work on something that answered the questions: "How do I lead myself and my team better?"; "Why should I change the way I lead (myself, my team, others)?". We can learn from the great leaders of this world and we can apply their principles and techniques to our own situation but how can anyone and everyone do that? A lot of what is in here will be familiar to you if you have read any leadership books, some of it will be new. It is a learning journey - it is up to you to apply what you learn, sadly I can"t do that for you - and where I suggest that you write things down for yourself, try it out. If it doesn"t work well for you, that"s fine.. it"s your journey. The "real" reason It would be nice to think that anyone writes a book for laudable purposes and, to a large extent, the above is true and there is something beneath all of this that provides my real motivation. I wanted to put some structure around a process that has evolved over years of coaching and training and researching. Why? Because this book achieves several things for me: It is causing me to structure the process so that those of you who like structure can more easily understand and I can communicate the power and benefits of this approach resulting in more sales of my coaching and training. Having published this book I will be a published author and can enjoy the feeling of accomplishment that gives me. I might make some money out of selling copies of the book which will enable me to buy things that I want to buy. Why am I being quite so open about this? For one thing, I think that it is important to be open and honest about one"s motivations. Secondly, I hope it encourages you to look at your own reasons for doing things. To, at least, be brutally honest with yourself. Far too often I work with organisations that purport to be "driving shareholder value", to "place the customer first", or state that "our employees are our most valuable asset". When in fact, the directors are really far more intent on driving personal value into their own bank accounts, that the customer is a pain and we"d all have a much easier time if they just paid up and shut up, and the employees are treated like mushrooms.
There is an old proverb that says "Leadership is doing the right things whilst management is doing things right." And the distinction between management and leadership separating the qualities of leaders and managers is traced back to Zaleznick (1977). Kotter (1990) reinforced this distinction, that good management brings order, consistency and quality to otherwise chaotic organisations Contrasting this with leadership which is preparing the organisation for change and helping employees cope with the struggle of changing it. But nowadays organisations are "de-layered" - the defined functions of "management" are less absolute and a manager"s power base of influence has had to shift from positional power to personal. The traditional theories (theory X etc) and frameworks are seen to be lacking and more emergent leadership rather than prescribed leadership is appropriate. The books and articles on management and leadership has been greatly influenced by studies from a predominantly western, male perspective - this is changing. The split may simply be part of the aspirational values attached to leadership over management over being an individual contributor, and thereby gives us a rather false suggestion that the three are always distinct. In a study of the attributes of effective managers, Kenworthy and Wong (2003) found that leadership attributes far from being adjunct to managerial attributes and adjunct to individual contribution are an integral part of effective management. To this end, the next section shows how the GAINMORE Advantage model aligns with managerial and leadership competencies and traits and the talents that every single person brings to the table.
Talent, Identifying talent, Leveraging Talent
Management and leadership competencies
Leadership Dimensions Framework
Mapping the Framework to GAINMORE
Using the competency mapping in practice
I started my own journey with this model in seeking a new and different way to present a subject that has been discussed a zillion times. To differentiate what I had to say if you will. Then, as I delved more deeply into using golf as a metaphor, it became more and more suitable. there seemed to be very little that I couldn"t, in some way, relate directly to the game of golf. Now, it is obvious to me. Golf is a game that tests your self-leadership, it is you against the golf course. few other sports directly compare, where it is just you, the equipment that you have chosen in an environment that is fixed yet dynamically changing, within a formal and complete set of rules that are universally accepted. Sure there are aspects of other sports that work well: Downhill ski-ing (the closest in similarity to golf in this sense) is just far too dangerous and even more dependent on the weather. Motor-racing (has been argued as dependent entirely on the driver) again, far too dangerous. Team sports... great for team-working but each individual leader is dependent on those awkward, changeable characters called other humans. In short, golf provides a metaphor that works well. You don"t have to like the game to enjoy this book, but some understanding is useful. And for those of you that do play the game, well your handicap can drop as a result of this (double-bonus!)
The links between golf and leadership
People at work have both a functional role (their job and function using their expertise and experience) and a team role (that person’s tendency to behave, contribute and inter-relate with others in a particular way). In a study at the Henley Management College into effective teams, Dr. Meredith Belbin identified nine clusters or team role behaviours, each of which is present in the most effective teams. Overall Belbin roles Description Doing / acting Implementer Well-organized and predictable. Takes basic ideas and makes them work in practice. Can be slow. Shaper Lots of energy and action, challenging others to move forwards. Can be insensitive. Completer/Finisher Reliably sees things through to the end, ironing out the wrinkles and ensuring everything works well. Can worry too much and not trust others. Thinking / problem- solving Plant Solves difficult problems with original and creative ideas. Can be poor communicator and may ignore the details. Monitor/Evaluator Sees the big picture. Thinks carefully and accurately about things. May lack energy or ability to inspire others. Specialist Has expert knowledge/skills in key areas and will solve many problems here. Can be disinterested in all other areas. People / feelings Coordinator Respected leader who helps everyone focus on their task. Can be seen as excessively controlling. Team worker Cares for individuals and the team. Good listener and works to resolve social problems. Can have problems making difficult decisions. Resource/investigator Explores new ideas and possibilities with energy and with others. Good networker. Can be too optimistic and lose energy after the initial flush. And each role has an complimentary role - one that supports the weaknesses of the other. If a team is not balanced, it can lead to difficulties. Imagine if you would, a team full of shapers. You may even know of a real "team" like this, I have seen several. Everyone driving everyone else, lots of energy, lots of action yet no-one else is listening. All "busy hot-air" as one client put it. More than one shaper or co-ordinator in a team often results in a power struggle. No plants in the team and innovation and creativity will fade from memory. No monitor evaluator and you may lose honesty and integrity. A team full of monitor evaluators (and there are many) and nothing actually gets done at all. Be aware of your team"s balance and either bring in the roles you need or handle the difference.
Many of you will use a GPS (Global Positioning System) device in your car to gudie you to your destination. Well, each of us has our own PGS (Personal Guidance System). The foundation on which we build our lives and everything we do comes down to two core things: Our values and our beliefs. There are some who argue that we are born with certain traits and that we are predisposed to operate within those traits with a certain margin of change. The suggestion is that we are "hard- wired". Each one of us is unique (with the possible exception of identical twins). We have a particular genetic make-up inherited from our parents which determines our body, our brain and includes some "hard-wired" responses to ensure our survival. Heart beating is quite a useful one, as is breathing and the digestive system. It is sure that our upbringing and environment informs us and most people form their values and beliefs closely aligned with those of their parents or carers, our education, friends, acquaintances, environment, work and so on. Our values and beliefs develop over time. They are tested and shift to new values and beliefs. Yet so few people examine what it is that they believe and what is it they value. Even fewer organisations genuinely examine their values and beliefs. Many will put a statement out declaring the values of the firm, but once inside you soon discover that they are no more real than a statement. Every single action you take in your life is taken in view of your own values and beliefs. They form the foundation on which our lives are built. So it is important that we understand them and how they affect our performance and actions. Definitions for clarity: Values - Worth in usefulness or importance to the possessor; utility or merit Beliefs - Mental acceptance of and conviction in the truth, actuality, or validity of something Every decision that we make is processed through our values and/or beliefs.
Values are the motivational keys that cause people to choose to follow a particular person, path, goal, career. Think for a moment of the value that brought you to the work you do now. Were you motivated by curiosity? Prestige? Success? Financial reward? Security? Enterprise? Community? Service? Advance? There are many other values that may be your personal drivers. Edgar Schein identifies 10 key values that a people have and the sort of associated goal that helps us understand the value: Power The motivational goal of power values is the attainment of social status and prestige, and the control or dominance over people and resources. Achievement The primary goal of this type is personal success through demonstrated competence. Competence is evaluated in terms of what is valued by the system or organization in which the individual is located. Hedonism The motivational goal of this type of value is pleasure or sensuous gratification for oneself. This value type is derived from physical needs and the pleasure associated with satisfying them. Stimulation The motivational goal of stimulation values is excitement, novelty, and challenge in life. This value type is derived from the need for variety and stimulation in order to maintain an optimal level of activation. Thrill seeking can be the result of strong stimulation needs. Self- Direction The motivational goal of this value type is independent thought and action (for example, choosing, creating, exploring). Self-direction comes from the need for control and mastery along with the need for autonomy and independence. Universalism The motivational goal of universalism is the understanding, appreciation, tolerance, and protection of the welfare for all people and for nature. Benevolence The motivational goal of benevolent values is to preserve and enhance the welfare of people with whom one is in frequent personal contact. This is a concern for the welfare of others that is more narrowly defined than Universalism. Tradition The motivational goal of tradition values is respect, commitment, and acceptance of the customs and ideas that one"s culture or religion imposes on the individual. A traditional mode of behavior becomes a symbol of the group"s solidarity and an expression of its unique worth and, hopefully, its survival. Conformity The motivational goal of this type is restraint of action, inclinations, and impulses likely to upset or harm others and violate social expectations or norms. It is derived from the requirement that individuals inhibit inclinations that might be socially disruptive in order for personal interaction and group functioning to run smoothly. Security The motivational goal of this type is safety, harmony, and stability of society or relationships, and of self. You will use the words that best describe your values for you - each will fall into one of Schein"s key values but you may not like the word. "I do this for fun" for example - would come under "Hedonism" - though I have yet to meet anyone who tells me, "well I do it because I"m a hedonist". "I like a challenge" could be about several: "Power", "Achievement", "Self-direction" or "Stimulation" - it would be what you mean by "challenge". What about money? A great many people will consider that "money" is valuable to them, but in and of itself, money does not have value. Strictly speaking, any form of "money" is simply a promissory note or coin (or just a number on a bank statement). "Money" is a means of exchanging it for other things that are valuable. Each of us further has our own hierarchy of values. Values that are more important to us than other values. Our order of values is our order of values. Just because I consider self-direction to be more important than universalism (for example) does not make my hierarchy wrong or right. We are not judging anyone"s values here. We just want to understand them.
In almost every workshop I run and in many coaching sessions, someone will ask for empirical evidence or ‘solid proof’ before they will commit to applying the tools and techniques that will bring them benefit. Beliefs are similar to values in that they are part of our personal guidance system. Beliefs often inform values, and values in turn reinforce our standing in regard to our beliefs. Beliefs are a critical part of what makes us who we are, but there is a distinction that I find helpful. A belief is something that we have no tangible, undeniable (scientific) evidence to support. It is impossible to measure beliefs. We simply believe this to be so. Values, on the other hand, are measurable and quantifiable in some form - this does not make them all tangible, but the very fact that we place the word ‘value’ on something means that we can measure it in relation to other values. Of course, it is true that you can value your beliefs, and you can believe in your values (if you didn"t, you wouldn"t hold them). Have you ever heard someone, perhaps yourself, say ,”I"ll believe it when I see it.” Whatever this is about, from the belief in God to the belief that someone will do as they have said they will do, matters not. According to quantum physics, we have to believe it before we see it! Let me ask you some questions to help explain this and its importance. You believe that you exist? You believe that what you see in front of you right now exists? Can you prove it? I hear of chorus of “of course I can!”. Go on then, prove it! You see, I can prove that you are in fact made up of more space than of matter (or rather there are many very clever scientific people who can prove it), so do ‘you’ exist, or are you merely a collection of atoms that appear to have a tangible presence? So when you ‘miss’ the ball on a swing, you can rightfully state that you chose to move a few lighter atoms but you have in fact struck the air above the ball with great accuracy and that air is now exactly where you wanted it. Dreams Now, you dream, is that right? You"ve had dreams that are very real to you? How do you know that they were the dreams and this is reality? You believe it! Why am I saying this? Because you cannot see something that you don"t believe in. You cannot prove something if you don’t believe first! I am constantly asked for ‘proof’ that this or that works, that this is THE way to improve your golf, or that this is THE right way to develop your leadership. The problem is that, until you believe it works, you won’t see that it does work. If you believe that something will not work for you, the likelihood is that it won"t indeed work for you. If, on the other hand, you believe that it will work for you, then it is more likely that it will work for you. Television Let’s take another small example… you watch television I assume, and you"ve grown up knowing that television works - that radio waves containing a signal are transmitted from a TV station, are picked up by your television through the air, or through cables. Have you ever actually seen a radio wave? No? You believe they exist though? “Yes, but the evidence is seen on the TV”. OK, little voice of disbelief, turn the TV off. Do radio waves still exist? It’s a little like the question “If a tree falls down in the woods and nobody is there to see it, does it make a noise?”. When you were a child, you climbed into the fridge to see if the light stayed on when the door was shut? No, that’s just me, you are wiser than I - by the way, it goes off. Why is this important? Your belief in yourself and using these tools and techniques is critical to their success. Your belief informs your unconscious mind about any particular action - and this will become a self- fulfilling prophecy. In order for us to improve ourselves, in any field of life, we must reach beyond our senses - those of our conscious mind - to what we can be and do with the vast, often untapped, capabilities of our mind. I’m sure that you have seen or read the metaphor of the mind being like an iceberg. What we see above the surface, the readily experienced part of our mind is a tiny fraction of what lies beneath normal awareness. If you consider that our conscious mind makes up only about 5% of our total awareness, we all give a disproportionate power over our lives to our conscious mind - and it our conscious mind that prevents us from reaching our full potential. Our body, the muscles that control movement, everything we do take their cue from our unconscious perception. Remember that vivid dream? If it was frightening, I know that your heart raced, the adrenaline in your system flowed, if it was erotic, you were turned on (hey we’re all adults here right?) Our physiology is the result of our internal state, which is the result of how our mind has changed the external events through our own filters, taken a quick trip through our experiences, wracked our knowledge store, applied our values and belief sets, popped down for further filtration, deletion, distortion and generalisation - caused a personal internal state and triggered a physiological response. Oh, and this happens in a micro- seconds. The more positive self-images you build through repetition, the more intensely allow yourself to experience them, the more powerful is this self-image, the more potent its affect and the greater the impact on your performance. This bit is for anyone still having doubts about this. Should you, by now, still be that voice of unbelief. If you are still of the school of thought that “I’ll believe it when I see it” - I have a couple of questions for you… Did you ever believe in ‘Santa Claus’? When you were young it is possible that you did, and, as a result of this belief, you saw manifest evidence that the belief was true: the mince pies, carrot and schooner of sherry were consumed and stockings filled with goodies. When you stopped believing… the manifestations stopped! It’s no use telling me now that you stopped believing because it wasn’t true and it was in fact your parents… sorry if I’m destroying anyone’s belief here. You believed it then… and then, it was true. This is a conversation I had recently with someone who was struggling with this concept: So if I believe something, it will come to pass? It is more likely that you will do whatever you need to do to make it happen, yes. And if it doesn"t happen? It was either not possible for you, or you didn"t do everything you needed to do to make it happen. That is, you did not value the achievement sufficiently. Surely though, our beliefs alter according to our experience? Yes. Our beliefs are informed by our experience and the experience of others who influence us. How we alter our beliefs to fit with our perception of our experience is our choice. What we will not do is believe something that has no value to us.
Warren Buffet notes that lack of honesty can create adversity. His hiring criteria: integrity, intelligence, and energy. Hire someone without the first, and the other two will kill you." Kouzes and Posner"s excellent book, The Leadership Challenge includes the understanding of personal and company values as key to commitment. Interestingly, they have surveyed organisations around the world linking knowledge of values to commitment. Their findings are presented in the chart below: We can see that it is much more important that each person has clarity of their own personal values than they have clarity of the organisations values. Imagine that you can translate an individual"s commitment into performance and gain an increase of nearly 30%. Just by enabling them to have clarity of what is important for them!
By now you know that understanding your own values and the values held by your team is important. You also know that beliefs play a very important role in shaping and guiding you and your team. That together, an individuals values and beliefs are their guidance system and the very foundation on which they think, act and behave. The good and the great leaders of this world know this. Politicians are elected on their values and the beliefs that they will deliver on them (in spite of continued evidence to the contrary!) Wars are fought over values and beliefs. They strike at the very core of our humanity. So how do we discover our own values and those of our team? Before you embark on the activities and exercises to discover personal values, I"d like to reiterate: This is not about judging another person"s values and beliefs, it"s about understanding them.
Discovering Personal Values
Discovering Team Values
Back in 1973, Henry Mintzberg caused a stir in the academic world by suggesting that managers spent most of their time firefighting rather than managing. Instead of spending their time on matters strategic or even important, managers spent their work days dealing with less important yet urgent matters. At the time, many managers spent a great deal of time wiritng and reading memoranda, sitting in meetings that achieved little, responding to urgent operational matters and busily rushing from one hot spot to the next. So what"s changed? Well, basically, it"s gotten worse. The speed and ease of modern communications, particularly e-mail, means that many managers spend even more of their time reading, dealing with, and responding, than ever before. Increasing demands for transparency and good stewardship require ever more comittees and lengthier discussion and reporting. And, the pressures of the marketplace demand rapid reposnse to the slightest glitch in productivity or hiccough in profitability. Who has time to actually lead others? Surely staff can understand the pressures on modern day business leaders and what is needed is a staff who can effectively lead themselves? We don"t have time to lead, it takes all our energy just to drive forward... and therein lies the rub. A leader and a driver are at opposite ends of the flock - the first requires followership, the second requires outriders under the direct control of the driver. But people are not sheep, I hear an indignant cry! No, they are not - people are far more willful, considerably more self-serving and far more intelligent and have a tendency to scatter further when driven and less frightened of the outriders. So if you, as the leader, have to drive your people, you need them to be able to lead themselves in the direction you"re driving. Or, you can lead from the front, because they share your vision and goals as a means of achieving their own vision and goals. When do you work at your best, or produce the most? When you are being told what to do or when you choose what to do? When you know that what you are doing is moving towards your own goals or when you are miving to someone else"s goals? Either way, everyone needs to lead themselves to a greater or lesser extent. How much better and easier would it be if everyone understood the vision and the goals and that these were so attractive as to pull everyone in the same direction?
For far too long, consultants, trainers, guru’s and leaders have been misleading us about goal setting. We keep hearing the same myth that people with written goals achieve greater success in life. I fell foul of this story myself - after all, it cam from the pages of a famous author and I’ve seen it repeated again and again. Most recently in an article published by the Professional Golfers Association. The trouble is, that this story becomes linked with the concept of setting SMART goals, for which there is some evidence, but written goals? So, I felt that it was time to set the record a little straighter and based on just a little bit of real research… Goal-setting is one of those things that people, it seems, are near unanimous on its importance to life, career, success, achievement. And there are a great many speakers who advocate goal-setting. The latest ‘fad’ in this is The Secret - Rhonda Byrne’s now famous TV/Film Documentary which, in a nutshell, purports that people who envision what they want will attract its actualisation into their life. Now, I’m not going to detract from this appealing idea because there is something in it - but it isn’t new by any means, it’s been written in the Bible for several hundred years. There are others including Zig Ziglar and Anthony Robbins - both of whom quote an oft-used story about the effectiveness of goal-setting: This is the Yale Study of 1953 - some say it is Harvard, and some challenge the year - it matters not, since the study is an urban myth. Let me remind you of the story, you may have heard variations and the precise percentages vary: Yale researchers surveyed the graduating class of 1953 to determine how many of them has specific, written goals for their future. 3% of them had. Twenty years later, the researchers followed up with the surviving members of the class and discovered that the 3% with written goals had accumulated more personal wealth than the remaining 97% combined! I repeat - this ‘study’ is an urban myth - whilst it is quoted by some ‘authorities’ and famous gurus on management and self-leadership, there is NO record of the study and NO paper on it. Yet it’s allure is understandable - it feeds beautifully into the concept that in order for you to accumulate wealth (aka be successful) not only must you have specific goals, but you must write them down. For someone selling a process on written goal setting (see Zig Ziglar and Tony Robbins) it ‘proves’ the process. So is goal-setting really important, or is it just a load of twaddle? To answer this question, rather than rely on stories of spurious origin, it’s important to have some robust research to find out if there’s anything in it.
What is a goal?
What is goal-setting?
Is goal-setting important?
Edwin Lock and Gary Latham have undertaken a great deal of leading research about goals and goal-setting and neatly suggest that setting goals implies dissatisfaction with the current condition and a desire to attain an outcome Locke and Latham, 2006. Why Specific and Stretching? In Locke and Latham’s 2006 study and previous articles, there is an emphasis on the positive relationship between goal difficulty and performance. Locke and Latham, 1990; Locke and Latham, 2002. That is, the more difficult the goal is to achieve, the higher the level of performance is manifest - allbeit moderated by commitment to the goal. Earlier studies had already identified that specific and difficult goals led to greater performance than easy and/or vague goals Latham and Lee, 1986 Commitment to achieving a goal - Attainable and Realistic Hollenbeck and Klein, 1987 suggest that an individual’s commitment to a goal (building on Locke’s research and many others) is dependent on a combination of the expectancy that the individual has of achieving success, and the difficulty of achieving the goal. In the commonly used nemonic, SMART goals, this is usually considered as the ‘AR’ of SMART - Attainable and Realistic. Though Hollenbeck and Klein help point out that when we set a goal, it may well seem that the goal is attainable - I can do everything that I need to do to achieve this and am prepared for the cost in time, effort, etc. - and it may well seem to be realistic - Given the resources that I have and the current environment, this goal can be practically achieved. Measurable and Time-bound? I don’t think it would be possible to undertake research on something that had no measure nor a time restriction - how would you know that you had achieved success if there was no measure, and if there is no time limit, when would you stop measuring or even not measuring. So these remain ‘common sense’ though a post-modernist might disagree. So there is support for the concept of SMART goals - now why is it so important that we ‘write’ them down? There are some who suggest that writing something down increases commitment to the goal but the evidence is anecdotal. For some individuals, the act of writing something down assists clarity through a conscious process because they consider something written to be a personal commitment. Does that mean it is true for everyone? To help answer this, we undertook primary research to mirror the mythical Yale Study. Through a simple questionnaire, respondents were asked if they had set goals for themself on leaving school, college or university, when this was and if they had written it down. They were then asked to estimate their total personal wealth now. The results are quite shocking. Results from our survey 215 individuals completed the online questionnaire over a seven week period. Respondents were mostly UK-based (80%), with further respondents from Asia (11%) and the USA (9%). This researcher invited respondents through social networks, Ecademy and LinkedIn and direct contact with companies across the UK, Asia and US. 70% of respondents are in full-time employment, and the remainder either self-employed or business owners. Only results shown to be significant at 0.05 are discussed. * At the end of their formal education, 69.8% had a personal goal of whom only 11.2% had written their goal down. Goals and personal wealth * Of those that had written their goal, their average personal wealth is GBP115000, whereas those who had not written their goal down, their average personal wealth was GBP295000. That’s more than two and a half times as much! Completely contrary to the supposed Yale Study. We asked respondents when they left formal education and analysed this against their estimated personal wealth. * Those leaving formal education in the 1970’s have a average wealth of GBP475000, 80’s GBP195000 and 90’s… GBP325000! It seems reasonable that those who have been in the workforce longer would have greater personal wealth and so it is… almost. The anomaly appears to be those who left formal education during the 80’s. * Those leaving in the 70’s have generated on average 13,500 each year since leaving. 80’s grads a miserly 7,800 and those bright young things from the 90’s, a whopping 21,600! So what’s going on? It may have something to do with SMART goals. SMART goals and personal wealth * Those who set Specific Measurable only goals average a low 25,000 * Add Time-bound to specific and measurable and this goes up to 50,000 * Just Attainable and Realistic goals - now this is averaging 150,000 * Specific, Measurable, realistic and time-bound and we rise rapidly to 475,000 * Go the whole hog, Specific, measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-bound - and we reach 605,000 We seem to be finding some useful answers here. Don’t worry so much about writing your goals down, just so long as they’re SMART. So is that it? No. There’s a couple of very interesting additional significant statistics in our survey. They deal with the type of goal.
Goal focus and personal wealth
Outcome goals - some issues
SMART Golfing goals
SMART Leadership goals
Many people set goals for themselves when young. Often in response to questions from aged relatives: "What do you want to be when you grow up?" When we are grown up and people no longer ask us that question, we stop setting goals for ourself. When I ask participants on our programmes why they stopped setting goals, they reply that they ‘tried it’ but they didn’t succeed. And when hey continued with the activity and continued not to achieve the goals, after a while they ‘just sort of gave up’. You’ll realise of course, that if you do something repeatedly, and repeatedly get no success - your desire to continue with the activity diminishes rapidly. So, your mind does you a favour by not setting any more goals. That way, you won’t be disappointed and you can avoid the discomfort of not achieving them. “I don’t like to get my hopes dashed.” “I can’t have my dreams shattered.” “I don’t want to be seen as a goal seeker.” “It’s too painful to not achieve them.” These are just some examples of ‘reasons’ we hear. So the safest, kindest thing to do to ourselves is stop setting goals. So we do. No goals=no pain. “Goals don’t achieve anything!” Several participants have told me. And they are ABSOLUTELY CORRECT! Goals and the setting of goals does NOTHING! ACTING ON THEM does! Why oh why don’t we act on our goals? Don’t fret, you are not alone if you haven’t acted on achieving your goals. So, what we need is a goal setting process that includes the action plan.
SWING, SWING for golf, SWING for leaders
Setting team goals adds a layer of real complexity to goal setting. Particularly if the distribution of influence and power is shared equally across the team. Many committees are wonderful examples of how the goal-setting process can simply end up in drift mode when little is decided and even less done. In the section on team roles, I mentioned the importance of the balance in the team. Setting team goals is one particular area that is greatly affected by the make-up of the team and the roles within it. We run an exercise in workshops that really gets teams to hone in on personal values and their own particular talent. I will return to this in Team Vision.
Team goal setting activity
You step up to the tee on your least favourite hole on the course. You prepare for the shot, you utter to yourself “I will make this drive, this time it will be different, this time, I will strike the ball square on, the ball will soar through the air, and following a graceful arc it will land right smack in the middle of the fairway exactly where I’m aligned”. Your unconscious mind is informed by this belief and promptly provides you with a swing that will support your belief. How do you train yourself to do this? You spend several practice sessions building a new belief about your ‘nemesis’ hole (any hole for that matter). You visualise making the stroke, sending the ball to exactly where you want it. You do this in your mind’s eye, calmly, cool-ly. Not only have you seen what you will see with your own eyes, you’ve heard what you will hear with your own ears, you’ve felt how you will feel having made the shot, you’ll taste victory and smell success, exactly as if you had achieved it. I’ll repeat that, exactly as if you had achieved it. Let this be true, and it will be so. By doing this, you are stepping into the future and acting as if you had conquered the hole and provided your unconscious with new images and new neural pathways to access now and in the future. This is altering your belief. With practice, you will indeed step up to that tee and your unconscious self belief is of someone who has conquered that hole and will do so now. This is why, in visualisation, we go beyond simply ‘seeing’ a picture of our success to the full range of senses - building a rich, realistic, high fidelity experience as if it were real. This is stepping into the future. And you all know that it is much easier to look back into the past and see what happened to get here than it is to see the future. Hindsight is 20/20 - and stepping into the future provides you with just that. Now that you believe in the tangible, real, success of winning that competition, striking that perfect drive, chipping that perfect lie onto the green and sinking that 50ft put - you can look back and see how you got there - that’s your training plan. “Yes, but, it isn’t actually real!”. Who says that it isn’t real? It is a perception certainly. So let’s pop back in time to the moment when you accomplished something extraordinary, something that beforehand you thought was genuinely impossible for you. It matters not what it is, perhaps, the moment that you took your first steps (if you remember at that age), or perhaps, the moment you successfully struck your first golf ball and it actually went towards the hole, or perhaps you cooked a delectable meal, or got a promotion, or was headhunted for a position. Whatever that moment is - you have a picture in your mind, you can generate how it felt, what you heard, what you could taste, smell - and how you felt. You know that it is real - it happened… but. my friend, what you just experienced was a perception - you perceive your reality to be true - indeed, your perception is your reality. Just as everyone else’s perception is their reality. It doesn’t matter whether you agree with the same perception or not - you are experiencing it from a different viewpoint remember - it is your perception, and it is your reality. Believe in your perception and you will thrive. What we’re doing with altering self-beliefs through our version of visualisation, is creating neural pathways that are real (your brain cells grow and create real new pathways), that your unconscious mind will use as both the quickest route and the route that doesn’t incur conscious objections. Your visualised experience becomes the route that generates the physiological response - which is, yep you guessed it, the one that makes success the reality (but there again, you only perceive reality, so is it true?)
In the section on Team Goals, I mentioned that we run an exercise in workshops that really gets teams to hone in on personal values and their own particular talent and setting team goals.
Modes of alignment, Push mode, Pull mode, Drift mode, Pushmepullyou mode, Which mode are you in?
It"s all very well understanding and believing that our attitude is more important than our aptitude, but exactly what can we do about it? What makes the difference that you can develop? There appears to be three major differences between those that achieve great success in their field, and those who remain in the obscurity of mediocrity. Successful people know what they want to achieve. They have a clearly defined goal and a vision for achieving it, knowing that technical aptitude alone is insufficient. They are constantly seeking ways to learn and improve. They consistently present a positive attitude. This isn"t intended to be an exhaustive and comprehensive list of must haves, but to highlight key difference makers that anyone is able to adopt.
Technical aptitude alone is insufficient
Difference makers have a better attitude, What can I learn?, Prepared to change, A Positive attitude, What's better today?