6a010536babee3970c010536ecac3f970c Much of what we as individuals and owners do in the name of planning and goal setting is a complete waste of time.

Yep, you heard me right. The process is about as effective as making New Year’s Resolutions. Why? Personally and professionally we already know what we should do: Lose weight, quit smoking exercise more, professionally, our plans are loaded with build client/candidate relationships, be motivated make a lot of money.

WE WANT the benefits. WE know what to do and why we should do it and you even know how to do it. Yet most won’t do what’s good for them.

Let’s face it: I can tell you how to thrive in an off market in 3 simple sentences.

1) Do WHATEVER is necessary to speak with 15-20 people a day.
2) Arrange 3-4 first-time interviews a week.
3) Study recruiting and selling technique 45 minutes a day.

In a new book,Strategy And The Fat Smoker by David Maister he discusses why most plans done in the professional service arena fail.

My observation is that most business plans done by recruiters and owners are a complete waste of time. Personally and professionally, we know what to do:

“I need to plan”
“I need to make more marketing calls.”
“I need to add value to my business relationships.”
“I need to hire”
“I need to hold my people accountable”

Maister continues that many change efforts based on assumption that all you have to do is to explain that their lives could be better, CONVINCE them their goals are worth going for and show them how to do it.  Sound familiar???

This Assumption is patently false! If this assumption were true, there would be no drug addicts, no alcoholics, no bad marriages. We would say “Oh, that behavior is not good for me, “I’ll stop of course” This is nonsense!

Yet our planning process and our goal setting exercises remain the same. As managers you set your office goal, and help with your team, and we replicate this same useless structure year after year. “Look how fabulous it would be if you were a fit, exercising, in shape person.” To which our usual response is “True, Now go Away!”

We all know what to do. Why don’t we do it? THAT is an interesting Question.

The primary reason we do not work at behaviors we KNOW we need to improve is that the rewards and pleasure are in the future. The discomfort, discipline, frustration needed to get there in the immediate.

To reach our goals, we must 1st change our lifestyle and daily habits NOW!

We must then summon the courage keep up the new habits and not yield to old familiar temptations, i.e. email, then and only then, we get the benefits late. We as humans are terrible at delayed gratification.

How many have bought self improvement programs and not finished them? We end up with “shelf-help” not self help!

That’s our pattern: Try a little, succumb to temptation, and distractions.
There is rarely any benefit from dabbling or trying only a little. As Maister says:

  • We can’t get half the benefits of better marriage by cutting out ½ your affair
  • We can’t cure ½ the problems of alcoholism by cutting ½ the drinks.
  • Losing weight may be the most important to you, but if you aren’t willing to make the CHANGES that specific goal requires, its importance is irrelevant.

The same is true in recruiting, especially in a downturn. We can AND DO discuss setting goals, it’s fun, it creates a “sugar high”, BUT gets no where near the real issues.

Improving the quality of the goal setting exercise is NOT where the problem lies. The necessary outcome from these exercises can’t be just the goal, but must become RESOLVE!

The ESSENTIAL questions of goal setting strategy are these:

  • Which of our habits are we really prepared to change, permanently and forever?
  • Which lifestyle changes are we REALLY prepared to make?
  • What issues, i.e. call reluctance, fear of rejection, etc are we REALLY ready to tackle?

That’s a different tone of conversation and discussion, and the reason we tend to avoid it. Discussing goals is stimulation, inspiring, and energizing!

But it feels tough, awkward annoying, frightening, and completely unpleasant to discuss the DISCIPLINE needed to reach those goals.

Just as all diets have flaws, so does each solution you will come up with but, which solution, integrated into your day, can you ADOPT as a central part of your business lifestyle.

Lastly, there is no shame in being average, to be “competent” if you are unwilling to pay the price of excellence. BUT, don’t mislead your spouse, your manager or colleagues, clients, or … YOURSELF with time wasting, demoralizing attempts to convince them you are ACTUALLY committed to pursuing the goal.