Bob Biehl wrote a book with this title ” Stop Setting Goals if you would rather solve problems”. He was a management consultant who based his practice for more than twenty years on Setting Goals. Then he realized that more than half of people hate Setting Goals. This was a revelation to him and he changed his practice.
I started my consulting practice using problem solving as described in my blog post “The problem Solving Cycle” (A) After about 10 years I switched to a strategic planning focus that used Visions, Goals and Strategies. I went in the opposite direction from Biehl for over 30 years. My approach used problem solving in developing and implementing action steps for the strategies.
I identified with Biehl’s book and highly recommend it’s reading. It is an easy and quick read. He quoted Dr Ted W. Engstrom President Emeritus of World Vision International
“the key to building a strong team is– getting round pegs in round holes”.
Imagine the success we can have if we get “Goal Setters” and “Problem Solvers” working on tasks that utilize their respective strengths.
He describes how to determine which role is best for you and your team members. This is a very practical book with lot of examples and questions. (B) Purchase in link below.
I will close with a question from the book:
“THE BEST QUESTION FOR CRYSTALLIZING FUTURE PRIORITIES I HAVE BEEN ASKED IN TEN YEARS!
Two or three years ago I was on a consulting day with Steve Douglass, the executive vice president for Campus Crusade, based in Orlando, Florida. We were just working along on some project when Steve asked me the following question:
“What 3 things can we do in the next 90 days to make a 50 percent difference?”
Ask this question a lot. Ask it of yourself. Ask it of your friends. Ask it of your team.
AN EXTREMELY FLEXIBLE QUESTION
You can, and should, adapt the question in many ways. For example:
What three things can we do in the next ninety days to make a
• 50 percent difference by the end of this year?
• 50 percent difference by the end of the decade?
• 50 percent difference by the end of my life?
It doesn’t matter one bit if you ask:
• What three goals can we reach in the next ninety days to make a 50 percent difference in where we are at the end of the year?
• What three problems can we solve in the next ninety days to make a 50 percent difference in where we are at the end of the year?
Both are great questions. Either way, you get a crystal-clear focus. But as a problem solver, you will be highly motivated by asking what three problems you can solve and just as deeply de-motivated by asking what three goals you can reach.
WHY NINETY DAYS?
As you talk with people, you will find that the most common time frame for planning is the season. Most people ask, “What are we going to do between now and Christmas, Christmas and Easter, Easter and spring break, spring break and fall, and Thanksgiving and Christmas?” Other people think in terms of athletic seasons (football, basketball, baseball, soccer, ski, sailing, polo) or hunting seasons (duck, deer, trout). Perhaps a few people even think in terms of blueberry, mushroom, or cherry season.
That is why I put so much emphasis on the ninety-day time frame. Most people find it the easiest time frame to incorporate into their [conscious or sub-conscious] natural planning process.”
Henry Luke June 13, 2015
In “Tags” below click on “Life Vision” for other posts in this series.