Transforming Goal Setting - Redefining GROW - introducing ORGW

Photography by Trish Nicklin

Photography by Trish Nicklin

Ready for an adventure? Goal setting for 2018

As many of you will know, I am in the midst of completing an Executive Program in Transformational Management co directed by the Australian Transformation and Turnaround Association and the Australian National University in Canberra.  Apart from the joy of being in a room four times a year with 13 of the most wonderful minds this nation has in this field, I get to meet an array of extraordinary academics, practitioners and professionals, each who challenge us on a number of topics. 

During the November 2017 residency, we were doing some work on various models, playing around with them for use in transformation programs. Whilst not specifically part of the program the old faithful GROW model crossed my path again. Now I don't specifically like this model, and I hadn't put much time into why it bothered me so much.

Until now. 

For those of you who may not be familiar with it, the GROW model was developed in the 1980's by Alexander, Fine and Whitmore. It has been extensively used as a tool in coaching and development ever since. In fact, most corporate lifers will have been taught to set goals using the GROW method at least once if not more often in their career. It posits the theory of process in thinking through goal setting so that there is clarity in the goal, evidence in the theory behind the goal, practicality in planning for the goal to be achieved; and therefore more chance of the goal being successfully achieved. 

Graham Alexander, Alan Fine + John Whitmore 

Graham Alexander, Alan Fine + John Whitmore 

After playing around with it again and applying some #CriticalThinking, the problem I had with this model and still have with it -  is that it assumes you know what your goals are before you start. 

Let's be honest, the truth of the matter is that most of us have a bunch of idea's, a couple of fantasy's ( or more!!!) and a heap of whimsy. Using the GROW process means we rush through the REAL work, which is sifting and sorting through all this stuff going on in our minds and finding out which of these concepts and idea's is the best choice to make when sitting down to set our goal. So instead of careful, considered thinking and sorting, we tend to choose whichever suits the occasion. The danger being that we disregard something fundamentally important to our own happiness. 

For example - you are at work and sitting down to write your goals for the upcoming year. What do you do? You rummage through your brain to find something "work related and sensible" and pick that one. You know you do this.  The clock is ticking, it's a task to be ticked off and you have only got so much time to do it before you need to move onto the next item on your to do list. So you grab something that flies past your mind,  then you sharpen it into something politically appetizing, polish it up to sound professional and carry off on the rest of the process [your ROW].

But did you ever think if that was even near to being appropriate to what you really want, and how it fits into the rest of you? Probably not. If anything you were just getting on with the task hoping the hours would tick by and you can knock off and go home to do something really interesting...

This is my big bug bear with the GROW model. It overlooks the thinking and sifting and  sorting process before you actually get to your goal. 

Never fear. I have fixed it for you. 

Introducing ORGW It just needed to be moved around a bit so that it fits the mindset of the modern age and mind. 

Property of CriticalQ December 2017 Trish Nicklin

Property of CriticalQ December 2017 Trish Nicklin

Step 1 - Options and Obstacles and Oblivion

So now we start with all that wonderful stuff going on in our heads, and we list it ALL down. Whimsy, Fantasy, Needs, Wants, Desires - all of it ( as long as it is legal and doesn't hurt anyone else!) 

Step 2 - Reality, Reasonableness and Radioactivity

Then, we can go through the list and assess each one, striking off the overly ridiculous, illegal and insane, and pulling out the maybe's, possibly's and potentials! I always say you should include some fun ones and some dreams. Never let a good chance go! 

Step 3 - Goals, Game-play and Gumption

NOW we can start setting the goal based around what will actually work, what we can locate the resources to aid us, and what we think we have the guts to be getting on with. 

Step 4 - Way forward, willingly, with style. 

No point setting a goal if you can't work out how you are going to get started. Plot the first few steps and make a note to come back and plot the next once they are done or nearly done. Things are going to change, obstacles are going to get hurled in your path or maybe you will slide on your backside down a rainbow faster than anticipated. The point here is to work out what to do to get started and to ......get started. Then plot the next bit....etc. 

So there you have it, give it a go and see if it works better for you this way. I hope it does!

Good luck planning for 2018



December 2017