Home Concepts Decison Making & Problem Solving Creating Goals: Goal-Setting Strategies for Leaders

Creating Goals: Goal-Setting Strategies for Leaders

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Leadership Development Goals: (Part 1)
Are You Part of the 3 Percent?

Do your organizational leaders have clearly defined written goals? Research shows that those people who actually sit down and write out their goals not only end up achieving them, but have higher incomes and ratings for overall success and life satisfaction.

According to Brian Tracy in his book Goals!, there is a study that reveals just how effective written goals can be. Here is what Tracy reports:

Mark McCormack, in his book What They Don’t Teach You at Harvard Business School, tells of a Harvard study conducted between 1979 and 1989. In 1979, the graduates of the MBA program were asked, “Have you set clear, written goals for your future and made plans to accomplish them?” It turned out that only 3 percent of the graduates had written goals and plans. Thirteen percent had goals, but not in writing. Fully 84 percent had no specific goals at all.

Ten years later, in 1989, the researchers interviewed the members of that same class again. They found that the 13 percent who had goals that were not in writing were earning twice as much as the 84 percent of students who had no goals at all. And most surprisingly, they found that the 3 percent of graduates who had clear, written goals when they left Harvard were earning, on average, 10 times as much as the other 97 percent of graduates all together. The only difference between the groups was the clarity of the goals they had for themselves when they graduated.

Yes, you read that correctly. The 3 percent who had clear, written goals earned ten times as much as the 97 percent who didn’t have clear, written goals. Almost all successful people have goals, and outstanding high achievers have clearly defined written goals. That said, how come so few people actually write out their goals?

Why Not Set Goals?

There are four main reasons people don’t set clear goals and write them out. Many people say they can’t be bothered to take the time to sit and write them out, preferring to keep them in their heads. But no one is really that busy, as it only takes a few minutes. The real reasons are probably deeper, involving the fact that if they are kept in “the head,” it is easy to change, revise and ignore them. This avoids accountability issues and facing failure. Looking further into the psychological reasons, we find the following four factors:

1. First, most people don’t realize the importance of goals. If you grow up in a home where no one has goals or you socialize with a group where goals are neither discussed nor valued, you can very easily reach adulthood without knowing that your ability to set and achieve goals will have more of an effect on your life than any other skill. Look around you. How many of your friends or family members are clear and committed to their goals? Successful people are all committed to action plans. They set goals out in writing and follow them.

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