Leaders Manage Goals To Ensure More Is Not Less
Leaders manage goals to know when more becomes less. Leaders know there is a place where further effort, energy, knowledge, people resources and money don't really add additional value. In fact, more of anything after a certain point may be stealing from other requirements. Leaders know time, money and effort, by themselves, are really inefficient measures - results are what count.
Leaders manage goals to know when more becomes less. Leaders know there is a place where further effort, energy, knowledge, people resources and money don't really add additional value. In fact, more of anything, after a certain point, may be stealing from other requirements. Leaders know time, money and effort, by themselves, are really inefficient measures - results are what count. And knowing what results are needed avoids the "more is less" trap.
Leaders know "more" can keep you stuck in the same place long after you've achieved most of what's really needed. "More" creates a comfort zone based on activity that tells us there is more to be learned - more to be prepared - more to be added. Leaders know that that comfort zone is an illusion, and that goals create action - they keep us from fooling ourselves into believing activity is accomplishment.
A personal example of what I mean:
Whenever I need information - for a client, a prospect, an article - I really dig in and search all kinds of resources to become really prepared. My searches have the potential to lead me deeper and deeper into a subject - or wider and wider into alternative subjects or information. The opportunities for research are endless - and so tempting. That must have to do with my high Theoretical value. I really value information for its own sake. I feel like I'm really accomplishing things as I acquire more and more knowledge. More is better - or is it? Problem is - even the most expert of experts have to set research aside - and act - if they are to become better known, better appreciated and better compensated. And if the search for "more" gets in the way of acting, then "more" is definitely less. I protect myself from that trap through goals.
Another example from my vast archives of "more" not being better:
An exercise I do daily is a hand grip exercise. I started doing it about five months ago when I felt my grip needed strengthening. I use the kind of gripper that has a spring that is squeezed until the handles touch. At the beginning it was a real effort to reach 30 reps for each hand. My goal was to reach 60 reps for each hand. I'm now up to 90 reps for each hand, and I hold the 90th rep for 60 seconds. I know I can do more if I persist, but I don't. Why? I'm way beyond my goal and I think I've reached the point where more is not better - the additional time I could use on this one exercise can be better used on something else - like converting my 24 pack abs into a six pack. In this case I've decided more would be a poor use of my time and energy. Now for the abs.......
On a work level, how often are we persuaded that more is better? In some cases, more is definitely better - like in more quality sales calls. But in other cases, like gaining more information before acting, or spending more time on preparation, more may be less. And that's where goals come in. Goals that measure results, not effort, create a climate of action - action to reach a measurable goal. And then consciously assessing the value of exceeding the goal.
Leaders know the biggest enemy of "more is less" is perfection. Perfection may be a worthy striving, but many careers have gone down the tubes by letting perfect get in the way 0f good. When taking more time to prepare for that perfect presentation, when just one more test may yield the data to make a perfect product, when the acquisition of knowledge, or money, or expertise, keeps action to meet a goal from happening - more is less.
In Harry Beckwith's book - "How To Sell The Invisible," he says "Don't let perfect get in the way of good." When I'm tempted to take the time and effort to make very good become perfect, I stop. And if I'm convinced that what I have done is very good, I tell myself to stop seeking more, and I act to complete whatever it is I'm doing. And how do I figure out what is very good? Goals.
In creating goals, resist the temptation to create them based on the best of intentions. Base them on hard headed, clear requirements to meet the larger goals of the enterprise. Can they be an improvement on performance levels already attained? Of course. But know when to say "enough," and go on to other equally important goals. Defining "enough" is the secret leaders use to ensure "more" doesn't become less.
Take a look at your own goals, habits of thought, behaviors and attitudes. Identify where you can use "more is less" in defining your own actions and success. I suspect you will find, in your analysis, that there are areas - right now - today - where you can change so that perfect doesn't get in the way of good.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Andy Cox helps clients align their resources and design and implement change through the application of goals focused on the important few elements that have maximum impact in achieving success - as defined by the client. He can be reached at http://www.coxconsultgroup.com