When Goals are Negotiable, Obstacles are Excuses
Have you ever gone through a day dodging accountability, finding ways to avoid the hard work of delighting a customer, or looking for reasons why you can’t accomplish your responsibilities? Then, that same evening with tenacious focus and resourcefulness you figure out how to get the lawn mowed, find a babysitter, prepare for tomorrow’s webinar, and still make it to the poker party with your friends?
Funny thing about desire. “Want to” will empower almost anyone to find a way.
The difference is that poker night is non-negotiable.
There is a big difference in how people approach goals that are negotiable vs. non-negotiable.
What if the same were true for the goals you and your team set at work? Here are tips for increasing initiative AND finish-ative in your work goals.
If you decide on an outcome or goal, document it. Document who is responsible, what they are going to deliver, and when it will be done.
Inflexible on the WHAT, flexible on the HOW
Negotiable goals produce a lot of discussion about the HOW. “I don’t know how,” “I couldn’t find the phone number,” “Where were we supposed to go again?”, “Aren’t we just setting ourselves up for failure?”
Stop discussing how! Focus on this one question, “Did you deliver on your responsibility?”
The surest way to a negotiable goal is to rescue someone. This means doing it for them, saving them from the difficult work, telling them how to do it instead of reinforcing their accountability.
Accountability with a side of compassion
It’s OK to provide support, affirmation and resources. Just because it’s your job and we want it done by Friday doesn’t mean we aren’t here for you. Of course we will offer support. Of course we have resources you can access.
Use positive conflict to deal with failure
I admire the tenacity and optimism behind the philosophy, “failure is not an option.” I don’t admire the way it freaks people out and influences them to do unhealthy and unethical things.
You will fail. Accept it but don’t let it deter you from giving it everything you’ve got. When people fail on non-negotiable goals, engage in positive conflict. Ask questions like,
“What will you do next to make good on your promise?”
“What happened that we can learn from?”
“I am angry because I am relying on you.”
“How can we prevent this from happening again?”
I don’t think the magnitude of the goal should determine whether it’s non-negotiable. Are there any promises too small to keep? The discipline of treating goals as non-negotiable is a critical factor in your success.
Are there any promises too small to keep?
Make your goals non-negotiable and experience greater productivity, integrity, accountability, and satisfaction in your life.
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