Most of us start in the same place with our goals and how we intend to reach them. We all recognise a need or calling to do something differently or achieve something bigger or better. But very often we don’t know how to get started.
Doing one thing, any one, single thing in the direction of that goal is vital. It can be today, this week, this summer. You don’t have to follow the whole path. That can be over powering and put us off.
Once you have taken that very the first baby step, congratulate yourself! But then stop and make sure you plan to take step number two, making sure you observe and learn as you go. Use those lessons to help you understand how to make subsequent steps less challenging.
If your goal is around work/life balance make a commitment to leave the office at a certain time today. If you want a promotion what can you do to make that happen? Put your hand up at the next meeting! Make yourself visible!
This doesn’t mean that you are going to do the same every day. Focus on getting off the starting line rather than completing the marathon. How hard was it?
Your success today, will motivate your tomorrow. Many goal setting programmes and organizations offering health and addiction support, all follow the baby steps programme. To have a healthier life you may need to walk 20 minutes a day, or drink more water or reduce your portion sizes.
The important thing is to start with baby steps to reach your objectives!
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But how can this lesson apply to organizations? It is certainly one area that they can learn from individual endeavours. All organizations set monthly goals and short and medium term objectives, plus other KPIs, frequently without identifying the practical daily operational steps to get there or the small intangibles that can create barriers .
This strategy works to the extent that the organization is seasoned at setting goals. But sometimes when one objective is achieved, another is sacrificed or overlooked. A company might want to have more women in senior roles and do everything to achieve that. But if men are discouraged from taking paternity leave because it could impact their careers, that unconscious bias is more likely to have a greater impact on corporate culture than a directive from the top telling HR to hire and promote more women.
For organizations to support women, they have to support men too. Men and women are parents – not just women.
So when embarking on a new initiative, in the space where innovation and disruption happens, the same principles apply to organizations as individuals. The final objective should be open ended with a focus on the small steps that everyone involved has to take, to make that bigger goal happen. This requires strong communication, collaboration and feedback to identify and implement these key practical steps.
Whether as individuals or organizations, we have to start with the end in mind. We can’t bypass those small baby steps needed to make that happen.