Most people are huge on goals. Write-them-down-or-you-won’t-complete-them-stick-them-on-the-bathroom-mirror-so-you-don’t-forget-them. We’ve all gotten the message, right? Goals can be very helpful to us. Check.
Could it be that having too many goals, though, is actually a bad thing? When the goals/responsibilities are imposed upon you it seems that the answer is yes.
Susan David, of the Harvard Business Review, published a great article called “Are Your Goals Impossible and Counterproductive,” in which she seems to suggest as much. Specifically she zeroes in on two specific areas:
1. It’s much more productive for a person to have less goals overall, but that are well defined and the responsibilities clear. I think this is a fairly common sense principle. People work better when they can focus better on a few things.
2. Focus on your strengths. She mentions that many organizations give feedback, evaluate, and then challenge people to focus on their weakest area. Seems that this is the wrong move, though.
She says, “No matter how much time and money is spent, it is improbable that a standout low score will become an off-the-charts strength. Instead, low scores are likely to become average. And developing low scores into average creates just that: an average leader.”
This really makes me curious, then about the whole Natural Church Development methodology and principles. In NCD, they evaluate churches based upon 8 quality characteristics and then challenge the church to focus on the weakest one.
So which one is right? Perhaps it’s different when dealing with an organization, but personally, I think it’s much more effective to add people to your team that have complementary gifts and strengths. I would rather focus on the things that I do best, and let people that have strengths in areas of my weakness jump in and help in those areas.
What do you think?
[image by kimmychau]