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Goal Setting Facts Need Faith

When we think of goal setting facts we tend to think of systematic approaches to planning. Accepted goal setting techniques may include the need to analyse, choose, justify, implement, monitor, refine, etc.

However, important as these are, we should never overlook the importance of faith. Not blind faith, but that which inspires commitment and enthusiasm.

Goal Setting Facts is the last in our series on Business Goal Setting : Using the “F-Plan”. The series consists of a structured process designed to help you improve your business planning and goal setting.

Think about goal setting in terms of:

1 – Future: Company Goal Setting: Two Kinds of Future.
2 – Filter: Goal Setting in the Workplace: Filter to Make the Right Choices.
3 – Frame: Frame Your Goal Setting Plans.
4 – Focus: Goal Setting Strategies are Underpinned by Focus.
5 – Fast: Goal Setting Exercise – Are You Fast Enough?
6 – Faith: Goal Setting Facts Need Faith.


Goal setting facts and faith?

Goal Setting Facts

Even goal setting facts are often closely linked to acts of faith. Whenever goals are set, they are usually based on an expectation that worthwhile outcomes will be achieved.

The decision to set the goal may have been based on facts drawn from the organisation, its environment, its markets. However, whilst we may have detail about the past, indicating how things have performed, indications of the future always hold an element of faith.

We may believe our forecasts will be accurate, but we can’t be certain.

As Peter Drucker famously once said:

“To make the future demands courage. It demands work. But it also demands faith.”

Drucker wasn’t referring to blind faith – no idea is foolproof. However there must faith in your decisions, and in the people you manage to achieve your goals. Without such faith, commitment to your ideas, and enthusiasm, it’s unlikely that the necessary efforts will be sustained.

The trick for effective managers and leaders though, is to balance their faith with practicalities. Believing in an idea does not mean you become fanatical or blinkered. Creating the future is risky but you should guard against ideas of the future which may become purely an investment in dogma or ego.

Goal setting requires faith, but even faith must be grounded in some elements of reality. As Stanford University professor Bob Sutton suggests:

“the best leaders have the courage to act on what they know right now, and the humility to change their actions when they encounter new evidence. They advocate an ‘attitude of wisdom’. Arguing as if they are right, and listening as if they are wrong.”

Although he wasn’t setting business goals, Dr Martin Luther King is a great example of how goal setting “facts” need to be blended with faith and realism. His faith in the future he saw, and the practical ways he went about realising that future, are perfectly illustrated in the way he “managed” Robert Kennedy. He didn’t change his faith because of new evidence. He achieved his goals because he insisted his supporters went out and found it!


Goal setting facts: only change is certain!

So, one particular area where it’s helpful to think about goals and faith, is with respect to change. Goals are usually set with an aim of improving something, how ever we may choose to identify and measure such improvement. The wisdom of goal setting facts indicates that unless we have faith in our actions, we may be the victims of change, rather than the beneficiaries. Sitting back and letting things happen to us means change is unmanaged.

This is a negative approach and one at odds with another famous thinker on the subject, Alvin Toffler. In his seminal book: “Future Shock”, Toffler advocated a positive approach to change:

“It is true that if we do not learn from history we may have to relive it, but if we do not change the future we may have to endure it – and that could be worse”

Perhaps it’s appropriate to end these thoughts on business goal setting with another Peter Drucker suggestion. He reflected on the importance of continually looking to the future.

“Every product and every activity of business begins to obsolesce as soon as it is started. Every product, every operation, and every activity of a business should, therefore, be put on trial for its life every two or three years.”

You can find more of Druckers thoughts on business goal setting in a excellent Harvard article, Peter Drucker on management courage.

We hope you’ve enjoyed our Happy Manager F-plan – to help get both businesses and individuals into shape! Six steps to business goal setting: anticipate the future that’s already happened, make the future you’d like to create.


Now put your goal setting facts to work!

Find our how in our e-guide: SMART Goals, SHARP Goals. The guide contains 30 pages and 5 tools to help you to set SMART goals, then take SHARP action to achieve them. It includes:

  • How do you define goal setting?
  • What features of goal setting are important, if we want to ensure they are more likely to be successfully achieved?
  • What kinds of goals are more likely to make us motivated to achieve them?
  • How do you set SMART goals?
  • Why do goals matter?
  • What kind of goals should you pursue to be happier in what you do?
  • How do you set team goals?
  • What strategies can you apply to overcome barriers to setting goals?
  • How do you develop SHARP plans of action that help you to achieve your goals?
  • What techniques can you use to get things done?
  • How do you set personal goals?


  • Tool 1: Conventional goal setting
  • Tool 2: Setting SMART goals that motivate
  • Tool 3: The kind of goals that will make you happier
  • Tool 4: Taking SHARP action
  • Tool 5: Team goals flowchart
  • Tool 6: Eight personal goal setting questions

Goal Setting Resources

You can find more of our goal setting resources by reading our featured pages (below).

Goal setting facts

You’ll find our new e-guide: SMART Goals, SHARP Goals is a fantastic, goal setting resource. It’s packed with advice and tools – use it to help you set SMART goals then take SHARP actions to achieve them!

One of our affiliate partners also has an excellent, on-line, goal setting resource. GoalsOnTrack is a “personal success system that will help you really accomplish goals by getting the right things done”.



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