David Wray

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Goal Setting – enjoyable or a chore?

Goal setting is undoubtedly part of our lives. It is an uninspiring chore for some and an aspirational vision for others. Of course, there are many views in-between.

Traditional goal setting uses a SMART[1] (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time Bound) technique or a variation of it. The widely-used SMART method was conceived for management goals but has since morphed into many more areas of our lives. This expansion has, at times, in my opinion been unhelpful.

You might wonder why I say unhelpful? Simply put, I’ve seen objectives opportunistically distorted when assessing individual or team performance. This biased effect then cascades into compensation and career discussions, which often demotivates many!

What if there is a way to set goals and objectives using a more achievable and forward-looking approach? 

Wait no longer, there definitely is! 

PECSAW is a model adapted from the concept of “Well-formed outcomes” (which is itself based on SMART techniques). The PECSAW model builds in some helpful additions for establishing goals. Specifically, it includes a focus on:

  1. Advantages & Disadvantages – goals or objectives must consider the wider environment. For example, if I seek to achieve ABC, then what other opportunities am I missing out on?
  2. Worthwhile – includes an explicit linkage between individual goals and wider strategic objectives or goals (business or personal). This ensures alignment between individual and organizational goals.

Refer to goal setting to learn more about PECSAW, what you will consider and why it is more effective in goal attainment.

Using this new approach, goal setting is a beneficial and meaningful activity that will inspire you and your team to new levels of success!


[1] George T. Doran, 1981

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