Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Setting ecological goals

Posted on Tuesday, January 22, 2013 by International Coach Federation

First days of the year. A lot is being written and said about resolutions, right?

How can we keep our resolutions, how can we stay on track, how do we set our goals, …?

Setting goals is important. Goals help us to get things done; they help us to get started towards our larger purpose and objective.

They will also help us to evolve or change some of our limiting behaviors and in doing so, will help us learn new skills and develop ourselves.

The first thing that comes to mind, especially if you had to set goals for team members at work, is that goals need to be S.M.A.R.T (specific, measurable, achievable/attainable, realistic/relevant and timely). This is well known, and been practiced for years in our companies.

But I would like to write about is the importance of setting, what I call, “ecological goals.”

Setting “ecological goals” is equally important whether you set those goals for yourself, or for your teams for instance. Ecological goals have 3 main characteristics. Those three are really complementary to SMART goals, or any type of goals you would set to yourself or your teams, really.

In addition, ecological goals are here to support you in accomplishing your purpose and larger vision, assuming you know what you truly want to achieve! Sounds trivial, I know, but would not harm to remind the obvious, right!?

First, ecological goals need to be concerned with the impact the outcome may have on our personal ecosystem: ourselves, and those who could be affected, positively or negatively, and directly or indirectly, by us achieving our goals.

All consequences of achieving the outcome are examined. Outcome needs to fit into the overall plan (both short and long term goals) of the individual (or group). In other words, it is “good for all concerned.”

For what purpose do you want this? What will you gain or lose if you have it? What will happen if you get it? What won’t happen if you get it? What will happen if you don’t get it? What won’t happen if you don’t get it?

Second, intrinsic motivation needs to be taken into account.

Intrinsic motivation is about making sure one will fulfill some of his important needs and drivers in pursing his goals, which will be more rewarding sustainably. To me, having goals aligned with intrinsic motivation will go a long way in making sure we do not drop our resolutions in a couple of months, if not, weeks!

That can be tricky. It is certainly difficult to align our goals to our own intrinsic motivation drivers.

But what about ensuring that alignment with people in your team, if you are a manager setting goals with your team members. Only time and a genuine interest about your team members’ drivers will help you there, I think. And paying attention to the drivers of their intrinsic motivation would be a great start.

“Gratitude check”
Plan for regular checks, and not just to measure progress, change course, or envisage backup plans, but also to be grateful to yourself, and appreciative of what you have accomplished so far.

And if you have small slip-ups along the way, do not throw the baby (and your goal) out with the water, but instead be kind to yourself. Look positively at what you learn so far and about yourself. Even if you are fully on track, keep that regular “gratitude check,” just to fully appreciate what have been done so far. And celebrate!

Today’s corporate environments kind of mold us in a way that we are already jumping to the next assignments without taking the time to celebrate our accomplishments and personal growth. Nor the contribution and growth of others who may have been contributing or impacted as a result of your project being completed.

If you make sure your personal goals (or goals you develop for and with others at work) are ecological, by looking at their potential impact on your ecosystem, your intrinsic motivation and keeping frequent “gratitude checks,” you should be better off.

My resolution for 2013? Trying to set “ecological goals” for myself and for my team!

Happy New year all!

By Eric Marin. Eric has spent 20+ years in the Information Technology industry, and has held several management positions while graduating from an Executive MBA in France a few years ago. He works today as a manager and field CTO (Chief Technology Officer) in a large multinational IT company. More recently, he has been trained in Non Violent Communication, and has started the journey to become an ICF Credentialed Coach. He blogs on "Ecological Leadership." These posts may be accessed a http://www.ericmarin.fr/ and http://ecological-leadership.com/. Eric can be followed on Twitter at @EricMarinGo.

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