Rule 9 Despite what some Gurus say, not everything is achievable!
Otherwise known as Jeff's Second Law of Staplers.
“No matter what the adversity, you have to just keep your eye on the goal, and don’t let anything stop you, because you can achieve anything if you believe in it enough, and work hard enough for it”
Clearly the self-help book authors, life coaching experts, sports stars and Reality TV contestants who have uttered this statement were referring to a parallel universe, not any organisation or work team that I have been a part of!
By the way, how many times have you heard this said by a recently-expelled contestant from a TV reality show, just after they have failed to reach their goal?
If that guy is on your team, maybe some things might not be so achievable!
Most of us cannot complete all the tasks on our to-do lists, and then get home to have a meaningful balanced life, get enough sound sleep, maintain a balanced diet and exercise regime, and still stay at the top of our game everyday.
Some of our staff will not be able to produce at the required level or standard because they do not have the skills or in some cases they may lack the aptitude, or maybe they don’t even care!
We may not have sufficient numbers of people or adequate resources to reach some of our goals. Put another way: sometimes the staplers just don't cope or we don't have enough Staple-Application Technicians!
So, we managers need to be realists. By all means be aware of the Bigger Picture Vision and Goals, dream on a large scale, and aim for the best.
Then apply wisdom and deal with what is actually achievable. Be clear on what is not. Apply priorities: of all the things that we might want to achieve, which are the most important and urgent? Which are the ones that we can achieve? Which are the ones that we might be able to make some progress on, or at least have some influence over? What is outside of our control or that are we unlikely to be successful in? How soon can we achieve these things? What do we need to do to get there? What is the best way to achieve it (is this different to the way we have done it in the past)? Who do we need to talk to about the things we cannot do?
Perhaps the defeated TV-evictee should say: “Having a vision and goals is really important and helps to keep me motivated. They help me plan and make decisions on a monthly, weekly and daily basis. They help me stay on track. And they also help me work out what I can take control of and what I can’t. And when things go wrong, or I can’t meet the goal, I can reflect and apply the wisdom next time and maybe change what I aim for, or what I do to get there.”
Then they can say the mandatory bit about: “So, it’s been such an emotional roller coaster...over the journey...a surreal experience...something I’ll never forget...moving forward...it’s changed my life forever! Awesome!"