I received a question regarding my earlier goal-setting post - how to ensure that we can stick to our New Year goals. So, in today’s brief post, I am sharing what works for me personally. I welcome your comments, suggestions and feedback on what has worked for you.
There are many, many reasons why people lose their focus or desire to accomplish their goals – whether that’s due to poor definition / planning, underestimating the volume of work needed, overestimating the level of skills needed, weak execution, inability to “manage time” (a misnomer as we cannot really manage time but more on this later), etc.
I have long subscribed to the Getting Things Done methodology by David Allen. It took me a while, but what finally worked for me in terms of setting and achieving sticky goals was through using the “airplane model” in the initial definition/planning of those goals.
The underlying premise of the airplane model is that goals need to occur at the 20,000-foot level and above. And, while lower-level work (runway level and 10,000-foot level) may be easy enough to plan / manage, the higher-level goals typically involve incomplete / unclear issues that need to be addressed first. Without resolution of these open issues, the goals themselves will not stick.
So, as we’re defining goals, projects, actions, tasks, firstly, we need to be clear regarding which “horizon of focus” or “altitude level” we’re addressing – starting from the 50,000-foot level and working our way down. And then, secondly, we need to identify the unresolved or unclear issues that need to be dealt with to ensure that the goals will stick and allow us to create realistic projects / activities / tasks at the 10,000-foot and runway levels. This is no easy task, of course. It requires an ongoing goals management process rather than a one-time event – something I intend to dive into deeper shortly.
The image below summarizes the airplane model concept (click it to enlarge and/or print).
What do you think? If you’ve already started your 2013 Goals list, can you define which altitude level they belong to? And, depending on the level, can you cascade them down to the project / action level at least? Are there gaps to be addressed? How do you plan to address them?
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