Posted on Jan 1, 2000  | Posted in

LEADERS HELP PEOPLE DISCOVER THEIR POTENTIAL How can you help your team members find their true potential? Did you know that most of your employees don’t know where they want to go? They don’t have an action plan of what they want. It is difficult to be motivated or inspired when they don’t know where they want to go. You’ve probably heard this quote: “Failure to plan is planning to fail.” If you asked your employees if they agreed with this statement, most of them would nod affirmatively. Yet, if you asked how many of them had a ten year plan, a five year plan, or even a one year plan, most of them would avert their heads before they answered “No.” Why do people fail to plan? THE FEAR OF FAILURE There are many reasons why people don’t want to create goals. One of the reasons people don’t want to create goals is that they fear failure. Once something is written down, it makes them vulnerable to not achieving what they desire. For them, it might be better to never having dreamed at all rather to admit to being a failure. Somewhere in their lives they were either punished or ridiculed for failing. They don’t see failure as a stepping stone; they see it as a graveyard. THE FEAR OF SUCCESS Other people might fail to plan because they fear success. To some people success means greater responsibility and more work. At one university I worked at, employees soon discovered they better they were, the more work they were given. This extra work did not come with extra pay. It did not take long for people to show their incompetence. FAILURE TO UNDERSTAND HOW TO SET GOALS Goal planning is problematic for others because they don’t make their goals clear or specific enough. When I was a young basketball coach, I made the mistake of asking my players to write down their goals without providing them with proper instruction. I got back goals that looked like this:
  • I want to be a better basketball player.
  • I want to become a better shooter.
  • I want to play defense better.
These goals did not provide a clear and specific vision of who they wanted to become. In order to have goals which convey meaning, it is best to follow the SMART method: specific, measureable, action-oriented, results-oriented and time-driven.  A goal should have looked more like:

I am going to shoot 50% from the two point line for my junior season.

In comparison to the goal of becoming a better shooter, this goal actually provides something they can determine and see. REMEMBERING HOW TO DREAM I had a friend who texted me last week. She asked me how she could remember to dream. She claimed she had no more goals in life. She thought when she retired she would love life, but what she discovered was that she felt lost. This is what happens when people don’t have goals; they no longer have a purpose and quickly find they have lost the motivation to try. As a leader, it is your job to help people remember how to dream. This begins with teaching them how to set goals and why they have not set goals. If you can get them beyond their resistance to goal setting and help them see where they want to go and that they can get there, their motivation to excel will probably surprise both of you.  


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