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Setting the Goal is Just the Start
The Kevin Eikenberry Group The Kevin Eikenberry Group
For Immediate Release:
Dateline: Indianapolis, IN
Monday, November 28, 2022


beyond goal settingAt some time of the year, most organizations spend time focusing on setting goals. It is a common practice that is understandable – you don’t need me to give a list of reasons why goals are valuable. And yet, for most organizations (and many individuals), the track record of achieving the goals that are set isn’t so good. There are reasons for this too – and many of those reasons can be overcome. That’s why it is time to move beyond goal setting.

The Problem isn’t the Goal

There is plenty of advice about how to set your goals, starting with the way to state them (Googling smart goals gives you over 78,000,000 results, and searching for goal setting on Amazon gives you over 10,000 results.)  If we have good advice about how to set goals, why aren’t we better at achieving them?

There are two big causes of our failure rate in achieving goals – and neither is about the goal (or how you write the statement) itself.

The first is attaching a reason or purpose to the target.  Without a compelling reason why the odds of overcoming the obstacles, staying focused and motivated are not in our favor.  Plenty has been written about this.  As important as that is, it isn’t the focus of this article.

The second is that we treat the effort taken to determine the target as an end itself. This is especially true with the goal setting process in organizations. Much time and effort are spent in identifying, clarifying, and finalizing the goals – to the point that it feels like a big accomplishment to have the words on paper.  All that effort can, without a clear head and informed leadership, lead us to a collective deep breath when the goals are approved.

Setting the Goal is Just the Start

Goal setting is important. But we don’t set goals as an end, but as a beginning. Ultimately, we set goals to improve our chances of reaching those destinations. When we set a goal is when we are most clear about what we want to achieve (and hopefully why we want to get there). That time is when we are in the best psychological position to plan our approach to reach that target. Too often we set a goal in a moment of inspiration, without laying out a plan to help us achieve that desired outcome.

Here is where this leaves us – we know how to set goals and we know how to build plans.  Yes, we could perhaps get better at each of these skills, but the more important insight is to do these two things together, like this:

  1. Set the goal.
  2. Build the plan to get the goal.

Moving Beyond Goal Setting

Moving beyond goal setting means building the goal achievement plan as soon as the goal is set. Rather than giving you a template for building your plan, make sure your plan addresses and answers these ten questions:

  • Why is achieving this goal important to me? As we have already said, this is the most important question of all. Without a clear and compelling reason why, you likely won’t do what is necessary to reach the goal. Write this down as a part of your plan to keep you focused on your why.
  • What will success look like? Visualize the result in a three-dimensional, multi-sensory way. Think about what you will be seeing, feeling, hearing, and smelling when you reach this goal. This question helps your brain picture success in a more real way.
  • How will I benefit from reaching this goal? This connects the first two questions together and helps you see the value in the work and effort required to achieve your goal.
  • What is my first step? There is always a first step. It may be small, or it may be large. If it is a small step, it can get you going now. Either way, without a step you will stay right where you are.
  • What step will take me furthest, fastest? The first step question is powerful, but this question is about leverage. You want to get moving, but you also want to move intelligently.
  • Who can help me achieve it? No person is an island. What tools and resources do others have that can assist you in reaching your goal?
  • Who will support me? If you have cheerleaders – people who believe in you and your ability to reach this goal – you might share it with them. Thinking about this early is very helpful.
  • Who won’t support me? This list may be more important than the last one. Don’t let the nonbelievers taint your attitude, energy, and belief. These people don’t need to hear about your goal. Just quietly go about achieving it. Surprising them might be one of biggest rewards that comes with your success!
  • What will be my biggest barrier? Avoiding or denying it won’t help. Figure it out early and you are part-way to overcoming, reducing, or sidestepping that barrier altogether.
  • How will I stay focused during the process? Reaching most goals takes time, energy, and focus. Realizing that at the beginning and building a plan to stay focused and knowing how to get refocused is critical.

Setting and planning for your goals isn’t enough – you still need to go to work.  But if you go to work with a clear goal and your answers to these questions, are you more likely to reach your desired destination?  The answer is clear.  That’s why it is time to go beyond goal setting.


Most all teams and organizations set goals. Fewer achieve those goals with regularity. Why does that happen? One reason is that planning for goal achievement is done poorly, or at the wrong time. If you want to achieve more of the goals you set (as a team or organization – and even for yourself). Join me for this better-than-a-webinar, virtual session December 5th from 1:30-2:30 pm ET.

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Name: Kevin Eikenberry
Title: Chief Potential Officer
Group: The Kevin Eikenberry Group
Direct Phone: 317-387-1424
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