Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Talk on Goal Setting at TRR Engineering College, MBA Department

I was invited as a guest speaker at a talk organised by the Hindu-Business Line Club yesterday at the TRR Engineering College Management School on 'Goal Setting'. There was a group of about 120 students.

The talk focused mainly on the importance of having a goal. (Why are you here I asked?) Firstly because it gives a purpose to our existence. It gives a goal, a reason for us to do what we do. It gives the answer to why you are doing what you are doing. And as a corollary, it will make you do that better, and with more focus. Just having a dream and a goal will make a better person out of everyone.

I asked the students to write down their goals and their dreams for themselves and they did, rather reluctantly because it is a headachy process. Some shared. The IPS officer, the IAS Officer, the businessman, the banker, the advocate, the politician, the educationist - and everyone was idealistic in their wanting to help society - the underprivileged, the children, the orphans, the illiterate. Wonderful stuff. I was deeply impressed a their idealism and hope they would not lose it.

On setting the goals, I laid stress on clarity, the detail, the time lines. The words, the visual - they should all be in such detail that you are already being part of the goal as if it has been achieved. All those who shared earlier, were asked to reword their goals with more detail. We did a small visualization exercise where they saw themselves as having already achieved their goal. (Some insisted on keeping their eyes open).

The next thing was to own the goal completely. There would be 100% responsibility to achieve the goal, there would be no one to blame. You will make this dream come true by yourself. There is no reason why it will not come true. Ownership is critical.

While choosing goals I mentioned that there are goals that are non-negotiable to you and those that are negotiable. It is best to chase the non-negotiable ones because they already mean much to you.

Goals are not big or small, they are merely meant to make you seek excellence, make you understand the process of making them come true. Pursue what you like with all your heart, get better at it each day and you have what you want and loads of contentment. It is important to have goals that mean something to you. Don't chase goals because someone else is. Also that everyone of them has the same chance of achieving all that they desired.

In the case of multiple goals, observe the list of goals carefully and zero down to that one enabling goal that will make other goals come true. If you have a particular skill and wish to develop that, you will in the process of becoming a master, achieve fame, name, money, homes, travel etc. Choose that enabling goal.

Also integrate your goals so there is a logical sequence to it, to make them come true. Your end goal of wanting to be a successful entrepreneur would have a series of goals regarding your education, your exposure, the effort you put at understanding business, your spirit of enterprise and how you develop it and so on. Integrate your goals so they are not pulling you in opposite directions.

Once you have clarity and you own the goal completely nothing can stop you. If you want it badly you will get it. If you don't desire it badly you may not get it. So choose honestly, think of why you want it. Honesty about your deep desire is important - what it means to you and why you are doing it.

Setting short term goals helps in understanding the process and magic of goal setting and achieving. But they should always have a longer term goal towards which you are gravitating. The longer term goal gives you greater purpose and meaning, the shorter term goals make you understand the mechanics and keep you focused on your path, the big goal.

The process of achieving goals falls into place once clarity and ownership fall in place. Then comes the planning in detail, the implementation, the monitoring and actual achievement.

Overall it is all about growth. Goals need to be the sort that stretch you to new limits. Make incremental goals so the goal does not distress you, just enough to challenge you. You must always keep setting new goals else you stop growing and may, just start shrinking. Keep setting goals that grow you, the make you a better person, and keep setting them all the time so you keep growing.

That was the gist of my goal setting talk. The HoD Ms. Vijetha was a very enthusiastic and purposeful lady who goes the extra mile to provide all the support and exposure that the students want. I must thank them for the opportunity they provided me as also the Hindu-Businessline team of Vasant and Ismail for making it happen. The students for listening me out very patiently. The staff was attentive and supportive as I could see, and I wish them and their worthy students well, and pray that their goals and dreams come true.

One young man asked me - Sir, what is the difference between goals and dreams? I could see none I said, but if you really had to diffrentiate, some dreams may be in the realm of dreams, taking long years to fulfil with lots of hardwork. Goals are those that come down to our practical life, that we can achieve on our path by stretching ourselves.

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