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Change Here

Change Here

After the election last week in the United States, change is a hot topic, but it isn’t political change that I have been thinking about recently. It’s how organizations and their leaders cope—or, more often, fail to cope too well—with the need for changes in business practices to promote growth and foster creativity.

It’s a truism to point out that no one can avoid change. It’s part of the reality in which we live. Nothing ever stays the same for more than a short period. It’s equally obvious that very many people dislike, even fear, change and do their very best to keep everything around them the same. That’s sad in personal life, because it makes frustration and unhappiness certain. In business life, it’s a complete disaster.

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Why do so many business leaders try to cling grimly to the status quo, believing they can build innovative companies and still be risk-averse? They must realize that it is totally impossible, yet it doesn’t stop them from trying. Using words like “risk management” rather than “risk aversion” won’t alter the outcome either. Change and risk are inextricably joined. You cannot have one without the other. The more innovative the change, the greater the risk that comes with it. Of course, things sometimes go wrong. If they do, you can always look to another piece I published this week. It’s called When Sh*t Happens, and it may just help.

Maybe it’s this fear of any threat to their beloved status quo that makes leaders so scornful of idealism. It isn’t a dirty word, as many would have you believe. Idealism is an essential foundation for change and innovation of every kind. Change often takes a clear, inner belief that things can and should be better than they are: that strong faith in some vision of a better way to organize ourselves and our world. Every day, the world around us tests our consciences and our commitment to the values we say that we hold dear. Each compromise, each stepping away from what, deep within, we know is right, is another mental and spiritual defeat. Over time, all these compromises in the name of “being pragmatic” have produced today’s sense of resignation and the belief that our current workplace culture is inevitable. It is not. WE built it. If it doesn’t work well for us (and, I would argue, it most clearly does not), it is up to us to change it.

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You would think that, given the present obsession with leadership as the answer to every organizational problem, we would all be keenly aware of the need for change in the way we understand, define and teach management and leadership skills. Not a bit of it. Our management teaching sucks. It is riddled with outdated assumptions and techniques that owe more to folk tales that any kind of objective evidence. Perhaps that is why the fashion for Hamburger Management—managing in whatever shoddy way is least demanding of careful thought, costs least, and seems quickest—is contributing daily to the undermining of people’s dignity in the workplace.

I started this piece with the need for change in how we run organizations. Last Tuesday, the “Slow Leadership” Manifesto was published. You can read it, or download a copy, here. It’s a loud plea for change of the most fundamental kind in how we design and run our organizations today.

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Adrian Savage is a writer, an Englishman, and a retired business executive, in that order. He lives in Tucson, Arizona. You can read his other articles at Slow Leadership, the site for everyone who wants to build a civilized place to work and bring back the taste, zest and satisfaction to leadership and life. His new book, Slow Leadership: Civilizing The Organization

    , is now available at all good bookstores.
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    Last Updated on October 15, 2019

    How to Plan Your Life Goals and Actually Achieve Them in 7 Simple Steps

    How to Plan Your Life Goals and Actually Achieve Them in 7 Simple Steps

    Where do you want to be 5 years from now, 10 years from now, or even this time next year? These places are your goal destinations and although you might know that you don’t want to be standing still in the same place as you are now, it’s not always easy to identify what your real goals are.

    Many people think that setting a goal destination is having a dream that is there in the far distant future but will never be attained. This proves to be a self-fulfilling prophesy because of two things:

    Firstly, that the goal isn’t specifically defined enough in the first place; and secondly, it remains a remote dream waiting for action which is never taken.

    Defining your goal destination is something that you need to take some time to think carefully about. The following steps on how to plan your life goals should get you started on a journey to your destination:

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    1. Make a list of your goal destinations

    Goal destinations are the things that are important to you. Another word for them would be ambitions, but ambitions sound like something which outside of your grasp, whereas goal destinations are certainly achievable if you are willing to put in the effort working towards them.

    So what do you really want to do with your life? What are the main things that you would like to accomplish with your life? What is it that you would really regret not doing if you suddenly found you had a limited amount of time left on the earth?

    Each of these things is a goal. Define each goal destination in one sentence.

    If any of these goals is a stepping stone to another one of the goals, take it off this list as it isn’t a goal destination.

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    2. Think about the time frame to have the goal accomplished

    This is where the 5 year, 10 year, next year plan comes into it.

    Some goals will have a “shelf life” because of age, health, finance, etc, whereas others will be up to you as to when you would like to achieve them by.

    3. Write down your goals clearly

    Write each goal destination at the top of a new piece of paper.

    For each goal, write down what is it that you need and don’t have now that will allow you achieve that goal. This could be some kind of education, career change, finance, a new skill, etc. Any “stepping stone” goals you removed will fit into this exercise. If any of these smaller “goals” have sub-goals, go through the same process with these so that you have precise action points to work with.

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    4. Write down what you need to do for each goal

    Under each item listed, write down the things that you will need to do in order to complete each of the steps required to complete the goal. 

    These items will become a check-list. They are a tangible way of checking how you are progressing towards reaching your goal destinations. A record of your success!

    5. Write down your timeframe with specific and realistic dates

    Using the time frames you created, on each goal destination sheet write down the year in which you will complete the goal by.

    For any goal which has no fixed completion date, think about when you would like to have accomplished it by and use that as your destination date.

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    Work within the time frames for each goal destination, make a note of realistic dates by which you will complete each of the small steps.

    6. Schedule your to-dos

    Now take an overview of all your goal destinations and make a schedule of what you need to do this week, this month, this year – in order to progress along the road towards your goal destinations.

    Write these action points on a schedule so that you have definite dates on which to do things.

    7. Review your progress

    At the end of the year, review what you have done this year, mark things off the check-lists for each goal destination and write up the schedule with the action points you need for the next year.

    Although it may take you several years to, for example, get the promotion you desire because you first need to get the MBA which means getting a job with more money to allow you to finance a part-time degree course, you will ultimately be successful in achieving your goal destination because you have planned out not only what you want, but how to get it, and have been pro-active towards achieving it.

    Featured photo credit: Debby Hudson via unsplash.com

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