Twofer Tuesday: Goals or No Goals? Which Works Best?

It’s mid-February, so let’s face it those New Year’s Resolutions are now kaput. “Bring out your dead, bring out your dead”.

But you probably still have plenty of strategic and tactical goals, although if your like many these might be suffering from SPOTS …. Strategic Plan On Top Shelf (getting dusty, along with those goals).

So are goals really useful? And if they are – and there’s an argument below to say they’re often delusional – what’s the best way to frame them?

Here are a couple of interesting perspectives on the whole discussion.

First, an insight into how Google sets objectives for their employees using the OKR method. This is useful, and it even includes some internal slides that were used to explain the process to Googlers.

Read: How Google Grades Employees

And then an alternative point of view from Oliver Burkman (author of The Antidote, a great little rant about “self help”) and reviewed by Maria at the always-fabulous Brainpickings.

Here’s one of Burkman’s useful insights about goal setting:

“What motivates our investment in goals and planning for the future, much of the time, isn’t any sober recognition of the virtues of preparation and looking ahead. Rather, it’s something much more emotional: how deeply uncomfortable we are made by feelings of uncertainty. Faced with the anxiety of not knowing what the future holds, we invest ever more fiercely in our preferred vision of that future — not because it will help us achieve it, but because it helps rid us of feelings of uncertainty in the present.”

(FYI, here’s an interview I did with Burkman.)

Read: The Antidote at Brainpickings

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