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 Title: Obstacles and Challenges

 bulb  Summary: The chapter in "Make It Happen!" that discusses the fourth step in creating a goal: Obstacles and Challenges

 Product: GoalTrak™ EV, GoalTrak™ CV, GoalTrak™ PV  Version: All


GoalTrak EV - Obstacles & Challenges

Step four in this process involves identifying and defining Road Blocks; those obstacles and challenges that stand between you and the achievement of your goal. Both terms are appropriate since "obstacles" are considered negative, while challenges may be looked on as being more positive and comprised of a series of actions and activities.

This Step is the time and place for you to identify all of those people, places, things, and conditions which need attention in order for you to be able to achieve your goal. As you enter each obstacle or challenge, notice that they will be numbered, beginning with “1” and continuing till you are finished. Think of these as the hurdles you must get over on your path toward you goal. Remember what we mentioned in the REWARDS section: you must be able to see your rewards over these obstacles. If they appear insurmountable, or the challenges appear too great for you to meet, keep going anyhow. In the SOLUTIONS section, you may well discover a way around, under, over or through that hadn't occurred to you when you were capturing the obstacle or challenge. Be specific in writing these down. It will help when you complete the next step, SOLUTIONS.

Our Network technician goal may have obstacles or challenges such as, “Need to find night classes or training costs too much or don't know where to find good Linux companies.” Our sales goal may have obstacles and challenges such as, "need physical space for inside sales group; must improve telemarketing efforts; lack of effective recruiting system, time-mine, time-other's".

In many business goals there will be six, eight, ten, or more identifiable obstacles/challenges standing between you and your goal. Complete this step in its entirety before moving on. Keep entering items, list all of the obstacles and/or challenges that you can think of, FIRST. Resist the temptation to immediately solve the problems you list. Ignore the solutions for now, and stay focused on what is in the way. Once you have listed all of the obstacles/challenges then, and only then, should you move to the SOLUTIONS area.

Include yourself in this Step. We are often a part of the problem or challenge as well as part of the solution. People can be their own biggest challenge in the pursuit of their goals. You may need new information, education, skill development, behavior change, or an "attitude adjustment". Any of these may affect the success of your goal setting effort. There are times we have to learn how to get out of our own way to reach our goals. You may feel that you don't have time to schedule training classes for the technician goal. Or your spouse may not be available to “watch the kids.” Perhaps there's no training available less than 50 miles from home. The way you respond to these issues is what counts. If the REWARDS are meaningful enough, you'll find a way to deal with them.

This is especially true of leaders. If you have yet to hone your self-management, delegation, or decision-making skills, you could construct the "best" system of goals ever written and then fall flat on your face implementing them. Unless you are a one person company, there are others in your organization who will be responsible for implementing major portions of the overall goals. If you fail to appropriately delegate the responsibility and authority to discharge these goals, you'll end up trying to DO all of the work. If you could do all of the work then you wouldn't need the others, would you?

The magnitude of the effort required to achieve this goal is now clearer. Again, you are at a decision point. Ask yourself, "Do I move forward, or is this not worth the investment of my time, effort, and money?". Remember, you are clearly defining those issues, people, attitudes, things, etc., that need to be addressed and resolved so that you may progress toward your goal.

This is a time for a reality check. If the obstacles are too easy or a "breeze", then you may be setting your goal too low. You may not be challenging yourself enough. If the obstacles seem insurmountable, return to the Rewards/Benefits section. Remind yourself how important the goal is to you. If there are not enough rewards and benefits that will accrue to you, and the obstacles and challenges are enormous, then your chances of achieving the goal will be lowered. You may have set your sights too high and are starting with something beyond your capabilities or skill set right now.

"Accept the challenges, so that you may feel the exhilaration of victory."

                                                         - General George S. Patton

Review your goal statement and either re-establish your commitment to the goal as it is currently stated, or re-work the goal to make it more realistic and therefore, achievable. It's a good time to be a tough critic, but your own best friend. You can set yourself or your organization up for disappointment if you are unrealistic in your expectations. Find the right level of challenge to motivate yourself or your people to make it happen. What is impossible for one person or organization can be old hat for another. A goal that sets you on a path that is challenging, but enjoyable, not stressful and perilous, is the right goal for you.

Links to the chapters for each of the nine steps are listed in Related Topics below.

 Related Topics:
 Author: Richard Lewine
 Published: January 15, 2006

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