How to Achieve Your Goals Faster With Less Struggle and Stress
Have you ever driven a car that is badly out of alignment? You have to constantly fight to keep it on the road headed in the direction of your desired destination. It’s exhausting and certainly takes any pleasure out of the journey.
A similar thing happens when goals are out of alignment. I was working with a company recently to write some website and marketing copy for my business. The process was not going particularly well and we were both frustrated.
When the copy was finalized, the copywriter sent me a note that said something to the effect that as their team got a better understanding of my business they were confident they could nail it the first time. That’s when it hit me. Our goals were out of alignment and that’s what was causing much of the friction.
Their goal was to provide me a perfect product the first time. (And they assumed my goal was to get a perfect product the first time with little or no involvement on my part.) Therefore it was frustrating to them and they felt like they were not being successful when I made edits and revisions.
My goal was for us to work together as a team to produce the best piece possible using all of our knowledge, talent and skills. I had no expectation that the copy would be perfect the first time.
When I realized the misalignment of goals I reached out to the team at the company and communicated my goal and expectations. As a result we are now communicating and I am providing information on the front-end which is leading to a better piece the first time around. They also know to expect an edit or two so it lessens their frustration and the sense that they have not done a good job because I make changes.
A misalignment of goals can occur at many different levels – between two people, between teams within an organization, between an organization and an individual. It is likely that somewhere in your life at this very moment, misaligned goals are impacting your success – personally or professionally.
How can you align goals and increase your success with less struggle and strife?
Unfortunately it’s not quite as simple as pulling into the local garage. But like preventative maintenance for your car, you can alleviate a lot of problems down the road by spending a little bit of time on the front end.
Clarify your expectations and goals up front at the beginning of a project or endeavor. Get those you are working with to do the same. If your goals are not aligned spend some time finding common ground. This will prevent many issues down the road.
Sometimes though we don’t realize ahead of time that there is misalignment and may not even recognize it when it occurs. When there is frustration or conflict between you and someone you are working with or your team and another team within the organization, ask yourself if it could be a misalignment of goals.
You may need to sit down with the other person or group and have each party clarify their goals and desired outcomes as well as what they see as the best approach for achieving the goals. It is often necessary to define the goals more specifically than might have been done in earlier stages.
In one organization that is a client of mine, there is significant frustration between the corporate office and the operational divisions. They are centralizing some shared services with the goal of improved efficiency and cost savings. Clearly that is a goal both groups can embrace. However, the process has been fraught with frustration and conflict.
In a recent meeting it was identified that while they both have the same ultimate outcome, one group sees the goal as cost savings as quickly as possible, while the other group sees it as cost savings with as little disruption as possible. Now that they recognize there is a misalignment of goals they can find common ground between the two goals and move forward with less friction.
Where might misaligned goals be causing problems in your life?
I encourage you to have a conversation, explore ways to align goals and get back on the road to success. You will arrive at your desired outcome sooner and the journey will be more enjoyable.