Are you a goal sprinter, a goal pacer, or a goal laggard?
Goal Sprinters tend to be those of us who push hardest right as they are about to reach a goal. Regardless of how long it has taken them to get there, Goal Sprinters push and push and push as the goal horizon gets closer. There are advantages and disadvantages to this. One advantage is that the power of the goal increases as more effort is invested (usually). This tends to build greater capacity for the goal, so much so that when reached, the community has already acclimated to the necessary changes. A disadvantage is that we tend to focus solely on the product and start to lose sight of the process. Since there is always much to reflect on when it comes to our procedural moves, this can be a major loss for us as leaders.
Goal Pacers are those leaders who set goals, keep to the timetable, and move at a pace that is steady. Whether fast or slow, Goal Pacers rarely deviate from the path, constantly moving forward, regardless of how many steps back are taken during the process. The great news here is that Goal Pacers have the internal willpower (and have built the associated capacity) to make sure that the goal is reached, and can use the balanced workflow that has already been put in place to help others see that getting to the finish line will require no more additional work, but also no less than what is taking place. A downside to pacing is that it can feel very “status-quo-ish” and can sometimes feel like the rotation of the Earth; even though we’re moving forward, we can’t really tell we are. For goal doubters, this is a wound that can be picked at constantly (sorry for the fairly graphic comparison).
Goal Laggards tend to slow down as they reach a given goal or benchmark. Regardless of the speed gone to initially start the goal setting process, laggards tend to take their time as the finish line appears. This can be good as they may want to make sure things are “just right,” but in so doing, Goal Laggards run the risk of tiring everyone out, and overstaying the welcome of the entire process.
So which goal personality are you?
Currently, I’m a pacer. It fits my planning nature, and provides me (and those I work with) the opportunity to see a timeline and the assurance to know we’ll meet it. There are times, however, when I need to do a better job of pushing harder to either meet goals sooner or build up additional momentum prior to full-blown implementation. Sometimes a steady pace isn’t enough to showcase the importance of the work that is being done.
One of the best parts about knowing our own goal personalities is that we can make adjustments to put emphasis on the advantages and to soften the disadvantages.
How do you address your goal personality? Feel free to let me know in the comments section!