What the heck do you mean by ‘Achievable?’

We have all heard the conventional wisdom attached to smart goal-setting: Although they should stretch you, make your goals realistic, and make them achievable. I included an expanded checklist in my book, Managing with Aloha:

“”you cannot choose a goal on the merit of the goal alone; it must be judged in the context of the employee who sets the goal and the mission that drove it. The relationship you initiated with Ho‘ohana is already paying you dividends here. The more you have learned about the employee you coach, the better you’ll be equipped to help him or her set goals that are:

  • Realistic for them, and realistic within their job environment
  • Achievable, while challenging them to stretch
  • Meaningful, leading them toward worthwhile work
  • Exciting and fun, keeping them enthusiastic while they work on them
  • Satisfying and rewarding for them, and conducive to your business success.”

Yep, I used the word too. Achievable.

Though it was never intended to have one, conventional wisdom has had a major loophole: “Achievable” is usually up for too much misinterpretation.

Enter the Alaka‘i manager, and just in time. If you’ve been following along in recent weeks, this will not surprise you”

The new Achievable has got to be About Change

If I were to rewrite that section of Managing with Aloha today, and publish one of those “newly revised” editions, I’d definitely spice it up.

It’s an okay checklist, and there isn’t anything about it which is wrong; good Alaka‘i managers will coach Ho‘ohana and ‘Imi ola this way (If you have Managing with Aloha, it came from page 46 and the chapter on ‘Imi ola in regard to mission statements).

In my coaching today, achievable gets defined this way:

The “double whammy” is Goal + Shift: Achieve the goal, and achieve a shift into a re-energized day-to-day beyond everyone else’s ‘normal.’ The goal you choose should be a goal which gets YOU to change versus getting everything/anything else to change (or anyone else to change —that’s a no go in which you set yourself up for failure.)

A quote attributed to organizational change pioneer Richard Beckhard is insightfully accurate:

“People do not resist change; people resist being changed.”

No one can coerce or convince you to accept significant and lasting change: That’s something you have to do for yourself. You’ve got to submit. Submit yourself to an effort that will be hard for you.

Now this is tough, and Alaka‘i managers know this, so they make sure you don’t have to achieve your double whammy goal feeling you’re all alone and without a shoulder to lean on.

Enter the Alaka‘i manager, and just in time

There is one thing about that section I’d written in Managing with Aloha which would not get edited even today —especially today. It is written about the way managers work with their people. Alaka‘i managers set their own double whammy goals in self-management first, and then they coach others with doing the same thing for themselves too.

People who achieve great goals (as opposed to boring, mediocre ones) are not normal in our society today, and they like it that way.

Thus the first truly achievable goal I recommend you reach for, and stretch yourself to achieving, is getting to be okay with the you who is no longer normal.

So here’s the big money question: Do you have a relationship with your manager where you can go beyond normal? Are you going to be okay with them being hard on you?

The ‘just in time’ for today, is that the manager you partner up with could be the one to save you from mediocrity.

So another big money question: Are you willing to be the manager who does that for someone else?

Let’s talk story.
Any thoughts to share?

For those who prefer them, here are the Talking Story copies of the links embedded in this posting:

~ Originally published on Say “Alaka‘i”
July 2009 ~
What the heck do you mean by ‘Achievable?’

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  1. says

    “Shift into a re-energized day-to-day beyond everyone else’s ‘normal.” I like this bit. We need to set ourselves apart from the rest in a positive manner if we want to be saved from mediocrity. If someone wants to be outstanding at anything, they have to work outside of the norm. Thanks for the post, I enjoyed reading it!

  2. says

    Thank you for coming by and sharing your comment Alex, it is good to meet you!
    Welcome to our Talking Story neighborhood within the Ho‘ohana Community: We certainly do aim for being everyone else’s normal!