Thursday, June 7, 2012

Almost Impossible Goals are Not Magic!

Some People get enamored with the idea of setting Almost Impossible Goals, as per some of my recent blogs.  But sometimes I find that silly euphoria sets in, for example:

He:  “I’m psyched!  We set an Almost Impossible Stretch Goal and can’t wait to see our results!”

Me:  “Great!  What new ideas have you brainstormed to try out so you can achieve your goal?”

He:  “Well, we think that the way we have been going about it is pretty good.  I’m thinking that the excitement of setting the new goal will get us there.”

Me:  (What I want to say) “No!  No, No, No!!!  You were not reading or listening closely!  Almost Impossible Goals are not Magic!  The idea is to set the goal at a level where you think you only have a 1% chance of accomplishing it.  And then you brainstorm totally new ways to go about accomplishing the goal.  There is NO WAY you are going to achieve an Almost Impossible Goal using the same process you used before by just relying on enthusiasm.”

Me:  (What I would really say) Same as above – but kinder, gentler, e.g., without the “No, No, No” but still pointing out that “He” is off the mark.

He:  (A little sad) “So we need to come up with a totally different way of going about achieving the goal if we are going to reach it?”

Me:  “Yep.  That’s the way it works.  But remember, the big goal will help inspire creativity in your team.  Get them together and encourage some real brainstorming.  You will be surprised at the new ideas they come up with!”

What do they say, that the definition of insanity is trying the same old thing over and over while expecting a different result?  Almost Impossible Goals are not Magic!  If you want to tap into the power of creative tension that these goals provide, then open your mind to totally different ways of accomplishing the goal.  That will give you an opportunity for breakthrough performance and greatly improved Mission Impact.

For more ideas on how you can lead breakthroughs in your organization, follow this blog and check out my web site at   You will find free resources you can download, including a Breakthrough Strategy Workbook that you can download at no cost.  You can also check out my book, Mission Impact:  Breakthrough Strategies for Nonprofits, and buy it if you are interested.  And you can follow Sheehan Nonprofit Consulting on Facebook.

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