Most of my conversations with clients in these first few weeks of a year seem to touch on setting goals – how they approach goal setting, whether the start of the year brings a good time to do it, does it align with a bigger picture, whether they build in time to reflect, etc.

Answers range from “it’s absolute rubbish” to “I can’t do life without it”. And there seems to be no correlation between these answers and the individuals’ accomplishments.

And so, what’s the answer? To goal? Or not to goal?

Controversially (especially considering the business we’re in!), this might be the wrong question.

The right question relates to meaning and purpose. Are you living a meaningful life? Do you want to? Do you, your team and your business have a defined purpose, a reason for existence?

I believe that individuals, teams and businesses have a reason for existence. It’s not always clear what that is – Frederic Laloux talks about “evolutionary purpose” in Reinventing Organizations. However, even though it might not be clear, it doesn’t exempt us from the obligation to inquire into that sense of calling.

Similarly, David Allen in Getting Things Done talks about a 50 000 foot view – imagine you’re 50 000 feet up in the air, and all the details disappear, what do you see? What do you want this to look like?

And so maybe, as the year kicks off, don’t start with goals. Start with purpose. Start with a 50 000 foot view. Then slowly zoom in, getting closer and closer to an annual, quarterly or weekly cadence. Give it time, and the results will come!

If you have questions, we’re always keen for coffee.

Get in touch so that we can brainstorm a few solutions together!

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