What’s Your Preference – Goals or Problems?
While coaching a client I was intrigued by the fact that every time I asked about my client’s goals for the coming year, the client would change the subject and not answer my question. This continued for several weeks, until I discover the answer – he preferred problems over goals.
After studying this topic in depth I learned that people fall into one of two camps: 1. Goal oriented or 2. Problem oriented.
Okay, I know some of you have heard the motivational speakers jump up and down talking about goal setting is the master key to success. You need to write and rewrite your goals every day to make certain the goals are top of mind and thus get achieved.
Well, the truth is, only half the population are true goal seekers. The other half are problem solvers. In fact, the really intense problem solvers hate to discuss goals due to their disbelief that goals are achievable or even necessary in some cases.
Remember my client who would not answer my goal based questions, I began to think about this client and the strengths or patterns displayed. As I thought more about the client I realized that the client was a major league problem solver. This client would solve problems immediately – even complex ones. Yet, this is same person who would not discuss goals for any amount of questioning.
So, after thinking about the situation I created a list of problems for the client to solve. Within a month, all the problems on the list were solved. So, we made any list of “problems” and surprise they were achieved – er – solved.
So the lesson to take from this is people can be goal oriented and move toward achievement, challenges and objectives. And when managing these people use goals to motivate them to success. The other half are problem solver oriented and move away from problems, issues or negative type situations. When managing these people you rewrite the goals in the form of a problems or issues to be corrected or solved by a certain date. (Goals usually can be stated as problems, thus motivating the problem solvers to act upon eliminating the issue.)
Managers and Leaders need to know how to motivator there teams and direct reports. Determine if they move towards or away from situations – goals or problems. Then establish your targets as both a goal and a problem to be solved. You will get the results you need every time. Limiting your targets to either a goal or a problem takes the motivation or understanding of the need from some of your team – thus limiting your results.
If you need more information or specific advice on how this concept works, call us at 901-757-4434 and we will help you get the best from your team.
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