Constrained goal-setting

In the podcast that I referred to yesterday, Bill George used an example that resonated with me.

He talked about Paul Polman’s (of Unilever) approach to goal-setting. Managers are expected to identify 3 quantitative goals and 1 personal development goal for each year.

Bill George uses this example to illustrate the need for us to set personal goals to improve as a leader.

I like the fact that the goals are restricted. This forces us to think about ‘What will make the biggest difference?’, ‘What is my greatest need?’

Having agreed these goals, we need to focus our energy and efforts on achieving them. Working with these constraints should:

  • increase our awareness of opportunities as they arise;
  • simplify our decision-making;
  • help us to de-clutter our agendas; and
  • guide us to concentrate on our impact, not our throughput.

As my own appraisal is due shortly, I’ll have the opportunity to put this theory into practice.


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