Hope Really Isn’t a Strategy

Hope Really Isn’t a Strategy
by Angela Fieler

Many years ago, my husband introduced me to the comedy of Brian Regan. If you’ve never heard of him, you can find many of his routines on YouTube. He has several routines about healthcare. In one, he talks about going to a doctor’s appointment and being worried about his cholesterol. He says, “I knew it was going to be high because last year it was high, and I hadn’t done anything differently. What are the odds your cholesterol is going to plummet for no reason? Come on 200, come on 200.” Maybe you have to hear him say it to appreciate the humor. Or maybe, it’s only funny if you have set a goal and done nothing but hope you reach it.

Twice this week, I coached leaders who were lamenting the state of their employee engagement surveys. Both leaders said the same thing, “I was hoping these would be better.” When I reviewed their actual results, in both cases, I saw that most scores had gone up and the others had stayed the same.

Setting Goals and Action Plans

I was compelled to ask what their goals were and what strategies or tactics they had put in place to reach those goals. Neither of them had a specific goal or a particular area of focus. In other words, their action plans amounted to “become a better leader so that their scores improved.”

Set the Bar for Results

Michelangelo once said, “The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark.” These leaders both achieved their mark – their scores improved – and yet they both recognized that they hadn’t accomplished anything meaningful.

If you are struggling with goal setting, check out Kris Baird’s article, A New Year, a New Look: 4 questions to help you set and achieve your goals – Baird Group (baird-group.com). If you want to drive employee engagement, contact us about our Coaching for Engagement and Improved Performance workshop.

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