How Is Everyone Setting Their Goals and “Achieving” Them?

Foreword: In hundreds of history books and countless museums around the world, you can learn about how to be a bad leader. Who killed the most people? Who rose to the top through treachery and deceit? Who built the biggest temple on the backs of slave labor? Apparently, it makes for interesting human character studies. The problem is, it provides us with a lousy source of mentors. In our current world, the Internet, magazines, newspapers, and television news reports carry the latest examples of bad leadership. So where do we turn to learn about what it means to be a great leader? We turn to the ones whose story often isn’t told, the ones who are busy doing amazing things in organizations all over the world. Today, we will learn about how to be successful and efficient in business, our daily lives, and our own careers. This article is also there to help you learn how to do it faster, more efficiently and worthy, helping you not to waste your efforts by giving explanations and examples. In Companies, there are some important features that are not too well known, but very important to learn. These features are helping your people in your company to develop themselves, and they also provide collaboration skills for the people in your company. The purpose of this article is to show you these important features, provide you with these skills and guide you at being yourself and being more successful.

There are two parts of management. The first one is “Systematic Techniques” and the second one is “Personal Values”. Let's start with learning Systematic Techniques. First, we have to know how to set goals, which we call SMART goals.

SMART goals answer these questions:


  • What exactly is the goal or task?


  • Is the goal or task meaningful for the individual?

  • Will working on this goal build competence and commitment?

  • Will working on this goal add or drain energy?


  • Is the goal realistic, reasonable, and achievable?


  • Is the goal or task meaningful work for the organization?

  • Is the goal or task aligned with the organization and work team goals?

  • Is the goal or task a high priority in relation to other goals?


  • What does a good job look like, at each level of development?

  • How will progress and result be measured and tracked?

Smart goals motivate. They get leaders and the people on the same page. But what if there’s a disagreement about one of the goals and after some dialogue, the disagreement doesn’t seem resolvable? Who decides? Then, The Golden Rule gets into use. This means: Whoever owns the gold makes the rules. Goal setting is actually a collaborative process. Remember, the responsibility for making sure that clear goals are set lies with the leader, but the more competent the individual, the more you want their voice to be part of the goal-setting process. By aligning on SMART goals you set up the conditions for effective day-to-day coaching.

These D’s stand for very important names, definitions, and codes actually. Let’s see them.

D1 stands for Enthusiastic Beginner. Though you have high commitment, you are inexperienced. You are new to the task or goal. In many ways, you don’t know what you don’t know. Therefore you are low on competence.

D2 stands for Disillusioned Learner. If you became a D2, you would have low to some competence, because you now have some knowledge and skills. But you might find there’s more to learn about being a perfect leader than you thought, so you haven’t made as much progress as expected.

D3 stands for Capable but Cautious Contributors. They have demonstrated some competence and experience in doing the task, but they lack confidence in doing that task by themselves. They can be self-critical and unsure. They can also be bored with a particular goal or task and lose commitment that way.

D4 stands for Self-Reliant Achiever. You will have both high competence and commitment. Actually, D3 and D4 are very similar, but let’s see the difference. When people are at those development levels, which are D3 and D4, they have demonstrated the necessary skills and knowledge to perform at a high level. The difference between a D3 and a D4 is commitment. If there’s low confidence, a D3 needs good questions. They need someone to listen to them. They need to hear their own voice so they begin to trust their knowledge and skills. They need support and encouragement. If the D3 has low motivation, the leader needs to listen even more and facilitate problem-solving. The person probably knows why he or she is no longer motivated. You have to enlist them in figuring out what’s wrong and coming up with a solution. They need to know how important their contributors are. A D4, however, is confident and self-motivated. People at this development level need to be valued for their contributions but they also need opportunities for growth and influence. Because they are competent and committed, they don’t require much direction or support. In addition, because good performers are hard to find, and things change so much, it’s hard to stay at D4 on a particular goal or task. As a result, you continually have to develop people to be good performers, and that involves good diagnostic skills. One of the best sayings for this is: “Everyone Has Peak Performance Potential--- You Just Need To Know Where They Are Coming From And Meet Them There”(Blanchard, Leadership and the One Minute Manager, 44).

We can also see that the difference between the other two development levels---- D1 and D2----is also commitment. People at these levels of development (D1 and D2 on a specific goal or task) lack competence and thıs the necessary skills and experience to perform at a high level without direction. But D1 is motivated, while D2 is not. The D1’s high commitment comes from an initial sense of excitement of learning something new and from the acknowledgment they should get for their transferable skills, initiative, and enthusiasm. A D1 can also be extremely confident, although it may be a false sense of confidence. The D1 is betting too much on their transferable skills to help them accomplish the goal. They are not fully cognizant of what it will take to be fully competent and self-sufficient.

To be continued: Another important part of being a good leader is the leadership style, but that’s another article for another time. We will cover these styles next week, and learn more about managing a team correctly.


Ali Yetgin