Achieve more with small goals?

The recession has been creating adverse effects across the business world, from a severe drop in sales to stressed-out employees. Right now, everyone seems to be feeling the pain.

Research shows that financial stress has a direct impact on employee performance and morale, landing many businesses in a state of immobility. Whether it’s from shock or stress, it’s difficult to get moving.

Companies across the country are searching for a stimulus that will cure the paralysis that has been plaguing employees and motivate them to move forward. Instead of overwhelming yourself and looking at it as one giant task, some experts suggest that baby steps are the best way to go.

Setting smaller goals is the secret to improving employee performance during tough times, as Dan Heath and Chip Heath explain in their Fast Company article, Set Smaller Goals: Get Bigger Results.

Dan and Chip believe that during times when we feel empowered, stretch goals are a great way to spark motivation. However, when we're feeling overwhelmed, stretch goals can cause immobility.

They recommend setting "whisker" goals, with targets that fall just slightly lower than average.

From the Fast Company article:

We need these more modest steps because they help us get past the "startup costs" -- the apprehension and fear -- that deter us from doing the tasks we hate.

Adversity calls for change, and change doesn't arrive via a miracle: It arrives via a kick start.

For most organizations, now is not the time to make major changes. Many are focused on working through the adversity in order to land safely on the other side.

Whisker goals could be the solution to kick starting any team that is stuck in a rut. It takes small steps to get the ball rolling.

Start a movement in your organization with small goals and keep that movement going with small recognition. By focusing on the small stuff, you may find that the big problems just don't seem so big anymore.

Do you think it’s possible to achieve more at work with small goals? How does your organization work to get employees motivated during difficult times?

For more information on goal setting and employee recognition, take a look at a few of these posts and HR Library articles:


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