A Goal Setting Tail

Posted On November 10, 2019

Don’t worry, this isn’t the old story about the insecure dyslexic, insomniac atheist who lays awake at night wondering if there really is a Dog. It’s about the strange but ultimately effective path that my dog takes when I call him and why this could be a valuable reminder about goal setting.

Toby, you see, does eventually come back, fulfilling his contractual obligations to his master and ensuring that he gets fed. At the same time, he thoroughly enjoys himself. The route he takes is always new and original – he checks out known cat hiding places and performs other checklist tasks, strange smells are sniffed (some of them attached to other dogs) and he generally has a good time.

The funny thing is that, although he may be disorganised in many ways, Toby is arguably better than his master when it comes to knowing and sticking to his objectives. The path he takes to reach them is often long and weird, but he gets there in spite of many distractions.

On the other hand, distractions are often fatal to well-planned operations, since they force a rework of the plan, for which there is no time. How often has our well-planned day, week or project fallen foul of such a blow?

But it needn’t be fatal, if our objectives for the day, week or project are clear.

In addition to a dog, I have a ridiculously simple acronym that reminds me of this point: MAP.

My objectives, Audience, Plan. Three key aspects of preparing almost any activity – what we are trying to achieve, who we are dealing with and our plan. There’s a lot to be said about these three points individually, but my message here is that their order is important. The main thing is to know what we are trying to achieve. How we manage it can be unpredictable and distractions on the way can be fun, providing we are confident that we’ll reach our goal in the end.

If you liked this article, then you might like ICONDA’s training and coaching also – please take a look!

Written by Andrew Betts

Consultant, trainer and coach specialising in client communication practices (inter- and intra-company). As a facilitator, I use training, coaching and mentoring in due measure. I enjoy developing original programs and creating new tools, and begin with the assumption that the people I meet are doing their best in complex circumstances. The rest depends on where they’re starting from and where they want to go. As a sales consultant, I strive to walk the talk, applying the values and beliefs that underpin my facilitation work to the techno-commercial domain. I agree with Frankl about the importance of meaning, and believe that this generally comes from work with and/or for others – human animals are wired that way! For myself, I’ve noticed that when I’m working towards the transmission of knowledge and skills, then I feel the greatest sense of fulfilment/flow. I am also rather attached to the Schutzian notion of truth as a fundamental enabler, and to Isaiah Berlin’s idea of plurality – the complex and unfortunately rather dull opposite of extremism – as a sensible approach to the problems of the world.

Related Posts

Adjusting Intentions when Leading a Difficult Conversation

My customer brings up supply chain issues again, just as they did last meeting and the one before, and for as long as I can remember now. As usual, this is done just when I’m getting to topics that are important to me and the question is accompanied by an agonized,...

read more

A Troll-Taming Loop for Reconciling a Difficult Exchange

"Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way" (Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina, 1878). We posit that a key attribute of happy families, and effective people in general, is that they can bring Difficult Conversations to a satisfactory...

read more

Difficult Conversations, Bridges and Trolls

Trolls are trouble when you want to cross a bridge. Especially when the bridge in question is slippery and swaying.  They can takes ages to deal with and, of course, trolls present a health and safety hazard. A Difficult Conversation is like crossing a troll bridge. ...

read more