Locke's Goal Setting Theory: Still Relevant Four Decades Later | Calgary, Alberta

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December 2019 Newsletter
In This Issue
  • Thanks for Joining Us!
  • Locke's Goal Setting Theory: Still Relevant Four Decades Later
  • Out With The Old And In With The New...Really?
  • Quick Reference: Is Goal Setting Worth It?
  • Quick Reference: The Power of Goal Setting
  • Video: Five Rules of Goal Setting
  • Quick Reference: A Support System Helps You Achieve Your Goals
  • Coach's Corner: Why SHOULDN'T You Set Goals?
December 2019
Volume 6, Number 12
Available in ebook and soft cover at Wendy Ellen Inc.

Available for Kindle on Amazon

Thanks for Joining Us!

December is here already! And with it's arrival, we usher in the beginning of the holiday season...and the start of a brand new decade. Taking the opportunity to enjoy fellowship and cheer with family and friends is something we can all benefit from.

I want extend my very best wishes to you all for a happy and safe holiday season.  Here's to a healthy, happy and prosperous 2020! Thank you so much for your ongoing support of my business and for the friendships I've made throughout the years!

This month we examine goal setting from several different perspectives: theories, videos, the benefits of goals...and when isn't a good time for goal setting.

Keep reading for more learning!

Locke's Goal Setting Theory: Still Relevant Four Decades Later
Locke’s Goal Setting Theory gave us the blueprint for modern workplace motivation by making the direct relationship between goals, productivity and employee engagement both clear, and actionable.

In 1968, Edwin A. Locke published his groundbreaking Goal Setting Theory in Toward a Theory of Task Motivation and Incentive. In it, he demonstrated that employees are motivated by clear, well-defined goals and feedback, and that a little workplace challenge is no bad thing. A few years after its publication, Dr. Gary Latham started studying Locke’s theory in practice, and soon confirmed that the link between goal-setting and performance was both real, and crucial. Later, in the 1990s, Locke and Latham collaborated and published A Theory of Goal Setting & Task Performance, which expanded on 1968’s Goal-Setting Theory, and became a key manual for employee engagement.

Locke and Latham’s five principles of effective goal setting
  1. Clarity. A goal must be specific and clear.
  2. Challenge. An easy or tedious goal is demotivating. But keep a realistic balance: don’t expect anyone on your team to spin straw into gold.
  3. Commitment. Your employees have to understand and buy in to the goal from the outset.
  4. Feedback. Provide regular feedback throughout the whole process. This helps to keep the goal on track.
  5. Task complexity. Think about realistic timescales, and break down the process into sub-goals with regular reviews.

The beauty of Locke’s work is that it doesn’t just apply to Goal-Setting, but can also be thought of in terms of other employee engagement drivers.

The concept of Intensity, and the importance of consulting employees on the approach to a goal, highlights a crucial need for autonomy in the workplace. In order for employees to feel intrinsically motivated to complete a task, Locke showed that they need to be involved in its conception, and afforded a degree of freedom in how they tackle it.

Similarly, the value Locke places on setting hard-to-reach goals can be considered as a way to promote a sense of accomplishment. By pushing employees outside of their comfort zone, they are more likely to achieve that overwhelming sense of pride you get when you outperform your own expectations.

One final word from Edwin Locke himself: it is vital to first make sure that employees have the task-based knowledge and essential skills to succeed (think Maslow’s basic needs). As soon as they are equipped to start tackling their targets, managers can maximize their employees’ potential by following the key principles of goal-setting.
"The best time to set a goal is when you are sufficiently motivated to make and maintain that change. Trying to set goals before that will often lead to failure"
Ginger Clark, PhD.
Out With The Old...And In With The New....Really??
Admit it – we all do it. Every year we decide to start January 1st by reinventing ourselves in some novel way. But few of us stick to these resolutions and soon find ourselves falling back on our old ways. The idea of the New Year’s resolution is an important fixture in our society, but so too is the idea of ditching our New Year’s resolution. The concept even has its own holiday. January 17th has been dubbed “Ditch your New Year’s Resolution Day” because it is the most common date people abandon their New Year’s goal.

But maybe the problem is not what we chose to adopt. Maybe the problem is when. Maybe the very act of starting your goal on January 1st sets you up for the impending failure. First, consider what most people do the day before their resolution is enacted. Most of us stay up until midnight or later and consume alcohol to usher in the New Year. Thus, we face the New Year groggy, sleep deprived and hung over. We essentially spend December 31 digging ourselves into a hole that we are forced to climb out of on January 1st. This wouldn’t be so bad if it wasn’t for the fact that our willpower—or what scientists refer to as self-control—is a very limited resource (Baumeister, Vohs & Tice, 2007). You only have so much of it, and once it is used up, your ability to stick with your goals and resist temptation is threatened. So just getting out of bed and facing the day after the New Year celebration taxes your fuel tank, leaving you with little in reserve to put toward your new resolution.
In addition to New Year’s festivities, the end of the year also marks the end of a whirlwind of activity. We are exhausted by all those holiday parties, elaborately cooked dinners and straining family interactions.

Businesses are working extra hard to wrap up by the end of their year. Workers owe their end-of-year reports and inventories. Projects all tend to be due at this time of year. And just when we get all of this cleared off our plate, we are hit with a flood of new projects to start out the year. Dealing with all of this stress requires self-control, leaving less available for enacting our new resolutions.

All of this doesn’t mean we are against the New Year’s resolution. Quite the opposite. It is great that once a year we all think about ways to improve ourselves. It’s just than January 1st may be the worst day to start these improvements. So what do we suggest?

First, hold off on starting your resolution for a week. Instead, spend the first week of the New Year planning and preparing for the start of your resolution. Clean out the kitchen of all the holiday cookies and candies. Stock it instead with healthy options like fruits, veggies, lean protein and whole grains. Dust off that treadmill that hasn’t been touched in months or better yet, drag it in front of the TV so there are no excuses. All good military generals prepare and plan before charging into battle. You should too.

Second, avoid starting your resolution on a Monday. Mondays are already taxing, so give yourself a few days to get back into the groove. Start your resolution on a Wednesday or Thursday instead. You increase your likelihood of successfully making it to the weekend, which will only empower you to try for the full week next time.

Third, instead of just designating one day a year to start anew, why not start over each season, or even each month? Instead of setting one large goal for the whole year, set a smaller goal for yourself each month. Treat the first of every month as a chance to re-commit to your goal. This approach takes the pressure off. If you fail at your goal in January, it’s no big deal. You’ll get a redo in February. By focusing on the when in addition to the what, you might just be able to skip that January 17th holiday.
Quick Reference: Is Goal Setting Worth It?
Here at Wendy Ellen Inc. we put great stock in goals in both our personal and professional lives. However you don't need to set them for January 1 - pick a date that works best for you. It's our belief that goals: 

1. Give direction or focus to          your life
2. Energize you
3. Provide a challenge
4. Turn the seemingly                  impossible into possible
5. Hold you accountable to          yourself
6. Help you to believe in              yourself
7. Bring you to live life to the        fullest
8. Measure your success
9. Help you overcome                  procrastinating


Make You Think Outside the Box
Quick Reference: The Power of Setting Goals
Goal setting is the process of deciding what you want to accomplish and devising a plan to achieve the result you desire. This definition emphasizes that goal setting is a three part process. For effective goal setting, you need to do more than just decide what you want to do; you also have to work at accomplishing whatever goal you have set for yourself  - which means you have to create a plan so your work gets you where you want to go.

For many people, it's the third part of the goal setting definition that's problematic. They know what they want to do and they're perfectly willing to work on it but they have trouble creating a plan to get there.

The power of goal setting lies in its ability to motivate us. To unlock this power, we have to do three things; let our goals challenge us in some way, keep our goals in the forefront of our minds, and keep our goals consistent.

First, we have to make sure we're not shortchanging ourselves when we're setting goals. If the goal is no stretch for us, there's no point to it.

Second, we need to stay focused on our goals. With all the things going on in our daily lives, it's easy for our goals to fade into the background.

Third, we need to keep our goals consistent. That is, when setting goals, we need to be sure that none of our goals contradict or undermine each other. The easiest way to do this is to have an overarching plan. 
Five Rules of Goal Setting: How to set SMART, Motivating Personal Goals From Mind Tools
Quick Reference: A Support System Helps You Achieve Your Goals
Goal setting - whether personal or business - shouldn't be done in a silo. Even though many goals are deeply personal - not necessarily even affecting anyone else - a support system can help you reach your goals in a number of ways:

* You can be motivated by the knowledge that you have a solid team behind you.

* You can learn from the experiences and backgrounds of your team.

* Your team can cheer you on when you face challenges in the process.

* You can be held accountable by your team for doing what you say you want to do.

* Your team can provide a perspective that's different from your own.

* Your team can help you celebrate your successes.

Your support system can be comprised of family, friends, mentors, colleagues, or anyone who supports you and wants to see you succeed.
Coach's Corner: Why SHOULDN'T You Set Goals?

There are times goal-setting is a waste of time or can even decrease your motivation and confidence. If any of these situations apply to you, you should not set goals, at least not for awhile. It might be a good idea to take a break or do something else first.

1. You’re an overachiever.
Overachievers are used to setting impossible goals and then meeting them. However, a hyperfocus on goal achievement can cause problems such as unhealthy habits (working long hours, skipping meals, losing sleep), not developing close friendships, and melting down when your extraordinary efforts fail.

2. You’re not clear about what you want.
You might be setting goals for things other people have told you are important but are not what YOU want. Perhaps you don’t even know what it is that you want. If you’re not clear about what you really want, you are likely to set goals that will not be satisfying once accomplished. There are few things more disappointing than to work hard to achieve a goal only to discover it didn’t matter. 

3. Your goals are not connected to a larger purpose.
Goals are milestones that mark the way on your journey. If there isn’t a clear line of sight between your goals and a larger purpose, you are likely to set the wrong goals and get sidetracked.

4. Your goal is too big, too general, or too vague.
Using the analogy of a hot air balloon, this is the view from 2000 feet where you see the whole panorama. But the individual blades of grass on the ground are invisible from that height. You need to see the ground to know where to put your feet as you take your next step. In other words, you must translate your vision into actionable steps or you are in danger of simply dreaming and not accomplishing much.

5. You’re trying to control things you can’t control.
You might desire to improve your relationship with someone, but if that person is not also willing to work on the relationship, it’s going to feel like pushing a wet noodle. When your goals require other people to take action, you need to set goals together. Feelings are another area you can’t control. You might desire to feel more joy in your life or to have more spiritual connection. But these are things you can’t directly control. The best you can do is to set goals for activities that invite these things into your life, such as taking time for walks in nature, meditating regularly or “doing nothing.”

Source: www.seapointcenter.com

Establishing and achieving goals takes experience and motivation.

Contact Wendy Ellen Inc. for all your HR needs today!
About Wendy Ellen Inc.
Wendy Ellen Inc. specializes in providing human resource and benefits management skills to small to mid-sized companies on an as-needed basis. From recruitment, Human Resource policy development and legislative compliance, employee retention and engagement, individual advisor/coaching, succession planning to employee development and performance, Wendy Ellen Inc. will help you protect your most valuable resource, your people.
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