Big, Hairy Audacious Goals

Big, Hairy Audacious Goals

Many of you have just finished your annual goal setting process. Often, that includes creating at least a few big, hairy, audacious goals. We’ve all heard about the importance of these types of goals in motivating and engaging our workforce to achieve top performance. So, we create the goals and roll them out. However, to achieve top performance, there’s another step in the process. You need to break them down into bite-sized pieces.

In his blog for Harvard Business Review, Robert I. Sutton lays out the reasons for making those big, hairy goals not so big and hairy. He shares the story of a CEO who sets a really audacious revenue target for his company. The CEO then has the team break the goal down into a campaign that will make it not just possible but probable. When the team lists over 100 tasks, the fear and anxiety level is palpable. When they sort the list into easy and difficult tasks, it becomes apparent that more than half the tasks can happen in a few days. The stage is now set for a series of small wins that will create success.

Take a look at the big, hairy, audacious goals you’ve set for this year. Have they created motivation or fear or just apathy because they seem so out of reach? How can you break them down into bite sized pieces? What’s easy? What’s difficult? Knock off the easy ones. Get some small wins. Build the energy for tackling the more difficult ones.

About Edith Onderick-Harvey

Edith Onderick-Harvey is a highly regarded consultant, leadership and talent expert, and speaker. Edith is frequently quoted in the media including The New York Times, CNN.com, HR Executive, and American Executive. As the President of Factor In Talent, Edith works with leaders to take performance — their own, their team’s and their organization’s — to the next level.

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