Goals are nothing but desires that want to be realised. In the corporate world, we have key performance indices (KPIs) to monitor one’s performance and gauge whether one is on track to achieve one’s goals.

Goals and KPIs are sometimes used interchangeably. Some people achieve them effortlessly while others struggle.

Now, how much of a say do you have in setting goals for yourself in your organization? This is important because, sometimes the goals that are set for you could take you in a direction opposite to where you desire to go. How can you be expected to perform at your peak level in the long run in such cases? How can an organisation expect high retention rates?

So, where do goals and desires stand with respect to each other?

A desire is a strong feeling of wanting to have something or wishing for something to happen while a goal is the object of a person’s/organization’s effort. Desires could be wanting to get promoted, wanting to impact a large number of people, it could be wanting to feel satisfied in every area of your life. It is important to understand the difference between goals and desires because you may, by default, design a system for yourself that is not entirely true to your real self. A person may desire a certain outcome but his or her goal may be something completely different. Their desire may even be a by-product of the necessary goal designed for them. For example, your goal may be to work in the medical field, however you may confuse that with your desire to be a doctor because you have idolised doctors in the medical field. But you may have no intention of pursuing all it takes to be a doctor.

In most cases though, desires can be leveraged as launching pads to set achievable goals. If your desire is strong enough and you are committed to a specific outcome, then you must convert it into one or many goals. Once that is decided, it becomes easier to come up with the perfect plan and then execute it to achieve those goals. When goals are set for individuals in line with their deepest desires, the chances of them getting fulfilled are higher. You see, this is a truly intrinsic motivation. It leads to a natural and inspired action. The performance then becomes effortless and enjoyable to the person working, benefiting the entire ecosystem around them. This fundamental concept works in every area of life.

If this was so easy to implement in real life, why don’t more people do it?

As a leader, if you want to elicit effortless high-quality performance from your people two things need to happen.

1. You need to understand what they truly desire.

Most people have gotten really good at hiding the things that will actually make them happy, especially in a corporate environment. You need to listen to their emotions in one-on-ones; hear what is not being said; ask open-ended questions and hear them out without judging them. Essentially, as their leader you need to help them understand their own vision. In workshops and one-on-one coaching I hear people dividing themselves as being different in personal and professional lives. Stop doing that. You are the same person that shows up in both places. You are being extremely inauthentic if this is how you live.

2. Find a way to align the organisation’s goals with what will bring out inspired actions from your people. This requires leaders to have a clear vision for the organisation too.

Once you have clarity in both these crucial matters, only then can you align your visions about them. I have met so many senior executives not clear about their own vision. How can they do it for their teams? There are so many leadership skills you will need to imbibe to truly keep your entire workforce motivated, a core requisite for high employee engagement. In the end what it really comes down to is to prioritise your people as much as organisational growth and productivity.

( Views expressed are personal. )

Image : Bhavna Dalal 

The author is the founder and CEO of Talent Power Partners a global Leadership Development company based in Bangalore. She is a Leadership Development Specialist, an ICF Certified Executive Coach [PCC] and author of the book Team Decision Making.

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