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Goals, Targets and Over-achievement
25/10/2021

What works for you?  I have a love/hate relationship with goals and in the last few years have preferred to set intentions instead with reasonable results.  However, one of my crew challenged me to a 100K in a month challenge that Concept 2 (the rowing machine or ergometer people) had launched world-wide. I decided to test motivational ideas from gurus in Sales, Business and Sport in this time-limited project.  I hope this will help you too.

 

VISION

 

Q:  What will the challenge mean for the organisation and ultimately for you personally?

For me it was three-fold:

  1. Whole organisation: Respect for Isle of Ely Rowing Club – small, provincial club
  2. Team: Respect for my crew Women’s 1st VIII
  3. Me personally: build fitness, strength and endurance – to have crew support in enabling me to fulfil my potential on and off the water, to be part of the crew in something bigger. To row 125,000 meters in 31 days would be a tremendous personal achievement and I knew how that would feel physically, mentally and emotionally.  

Back in 2019 I rowed in the British Rowing Indoor Championships and came 4th in my category and was pretty happy with that. My sister-in-law, who had come to cheer me on, returned the following year and won Gold!

 

I’m immensely fond of my crew and a near daily connection is fun. Like most rowers, I dislike the rowing machine and only tolerate it to positively impact my rowing. To synchronise with other rowers in person or online lifts it from bearable to serotonin inducing! That clear emotional and physical alignment to the challenge is incredibly important when you are setting out on a big goal.

 

A clear and empowering vision of the outcome and the process before you start will go a long way to supporting a positive outcome.

 

PLANNING – Goals, targets and deadlines

  1. Q: Is it possible?  Whatever you decide to do make it SMART (specific, measurable, aspirational, realistic and timebound). I had to consider whether it was still possible in the 25 days I had left after the holiday.
  2. Q: How can we break it down?  What are the component parts?
  3. Q: What do we need to do regularly, how often and by when? Try and keep regular actions to a minimum – three if you can.  So, mine were set up zoom meetings for crew, do erg, upload scores. Monitor your progress to ensure you hit your KPI's.  
  4. Q: Who is on the team?  We choose people we know we can trust to complete their part of the project.  It is important to know that every member of the team is working their hardest.  We won’t all be able to do the same, but we know everyone will do their best and commit.

COMMITMENT

  1. Make it physical.  In this instance I had to formally click the acceptance link having been invited by the leader of the team challenge.  I’m a great believer in going big on commitment because lack of commitment can unravel the best-intentioned challenges.  I have clients leap off things, sign a contract, shake hands or whatever works for them.

 

  1. Share the challenge with the wider team, family, friends or publicly on social media if that works for you.
  2. Do what you say you will do: Integrity is NOT OPTIONAL.

 

WILLPOWER: PLAN FOR OBSTACLES AND OBJECTIONS

  1. Known obstacles – work schedules, family events, booked holidays.  I was going to miss the first 6 days of the challenge as I would be away on holiday.
  2. Build in contingency time. So, having done nothing for two weeks I knew I would have to:
    1. build up gradually – slower, lighter pace and building up to longer harder sessions.
    2. add distance to each session to make up for the first six days.
    3. build in lighter days and days off to avoid injury!
  1. Plan a response to Saboteurs (self-limiting beliefs, Shirzad Chamine Positive Intelligence). So important to recognise when you are most likely to struggle with motivation.  You CANNOT rely on willpower, it is fragile at best. This is where your commitment at the outset and a predesigned process will kick in:
  • I volunteered to set up the zoom sessions, then I HAD to be there to open for the crew.
  • Put my kit on the radiator next to my bed so I could fall out of bed and put my kit on when the alarm went off and before my saboteurs had a chance to talk me out of it!
  • Affirmations: “This is who I am:  I am an athlete!”  (I know, right, hilarious at 56 but whatever works, hey?) Actually, if the affirmation also makes you laugh then all to the good!

As Brian Moran says in The 12 Week Year: Rely on the commitment, not the emotion

What might yours be?

  1. 3 networking meetings a week,
  2. 10 sales calls a day,
  3. 2 Tweets a day?

MEASUREMENT, TRANSPARENCY AND ACCOUNTABILITY:

 

Make sure your KPIs are clear and available for everyone in the organisation to see.  Let every member of the challenge check against the rest of the team.  And have the team lean in together for support, championing and challenging.

  • Uploading our results after every session on the Concept 2 website meant we could compare our progress with other people, teams and clubs.
  • We came 4th in the world in our category (99 crews of five members or less who were from a water-based rowing club). The individual woman who rowed the furthest rowed over 1,000,000 meters and is 78 years old, I know, right???

OVER-ACHIEVE?

  1. Reconnect to the vision regularly.  I once took a crew through a whole visualisation of the race we were about to row – Friday night of the Bumps and we did exactly what we had planned and were very pleased with the outcome.  In this instance we regularly checked our position against similar crews in our class to reignite our competitive streak.
  2. Supporting each other over tough times is powerful.
    • In week three I went down with a vicious chest infection and couldn’t row for five days.  On return I had crew members insisiting on changing their sessions to row with me at a lower rate that allowed me to breathe.
    • Once I had recovered, we then supported the final crew member to hit the target and rowed additional meters to support another crew member to hit the 150,000 meters.

Success breeds motivation: team spirit takes over and everyone wants to do more.

 

CELEBRATE

 

Very important part of the process that many High Achievers forget to do!    As a leader, make sure your team get a relevant and appropriate celebratory acknowledgement.  And if you are your team then decide at the outset what treat you will have once you’ve achieved your goal. 

 

This is clearly an overview of achieving goals there have been many books written about this over the years.  What are your top tips for achieving goals or overcoming challenges in your life or business? 

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