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Do You Make These 3 Goal Mistakes?

So you have a project, and you want yourself and those participating to follow through right down to the last stitch. Harry Hall, a Director of Enterprise Risk Management, writes for The Southern Project Manager about how PMs can achieve optimal efficiency in their goals. He reviews the book What They Don’t Teach You at Harvard Business School by Mark McCormack, about a Harvard study of MBA students who set goals.

Write Your Goals

In the review, Hall identifies the immense importance, not just of setting goals, but of writing them down clearly and concisely. He cites that the 3 percent of students who committed their goals to writing in the study went on to earn 10 times more than the other 97 percent of their peers. On setting goals, Hall writes: 

If you want to make greater strides in life, write your goals and make them clear. Goals can help in every facet of life including financial, spiritual, physical, and relationships, to name a few.

But people make goal-setting mistakes. The big three faux pas of goal-setting discussed by Hall are; 1.Fuzzy Goals, 2.Competing Goals, and 3.Stretch Goals. Knowing them can mean the difference between a perfect project and a perfect mess.   

Fuzzy Goals

If being vague and ambiguous makes your goals seem safe and manageable, it’s time for a new approach. Hall offers some examples of fuzzy goals, such as becoming “a better project manager” and “improving sales by the 4th quarter”. By being more specific (what are the actions, focal points, deadlines, etc.), these fuzzy goals can be much more defined.

Troublesome Non-Fuzzy Goals

Hall goes on to explain how some non-fuzzy goals, competing goals and stretch goals, can make situations just as unmanageable. In general, it is important for a project manager or other decision-maker to ask for input in the goal-setting process, give team members the appropriate tools and resources to do their jobs, and to recognize and reward good results. To do a project right, it pays to have the right approach to goal-setting. 

Read the full blog post here:

About Eric Anderson

Eric Anderson is a staff writer for CAI's Accelerating IT Success. He is an intern at Computer Aid Inc., pursuing his master's degree in communications at Penn State University.

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