Posts Tagged action planning

Multifinality constraints – ends and means


Lots of ends here

Quite a few of the journal articles I scan in order to generate material for this blog get filed under “Well, duh!”. They usually report studies that have gone to great lengths to prove something that was blindingly obvious to anyone with common sense. To be fair, these studies can be completely valid; they are providing concrete evidence for things we assume to be true. However, they don’t really make for interesting blog posts — ‘Here’s proof of something you knew already’.

The article by Köpetz et al. (2011) could easily fall into that category. The findings are not exactly startling. Here’s the abstract:

In the presence of several objectives, goal conflict may be avoided via multifinal means, which advance all of the active goals at once. Because such means observe multiple constraints, they are fewer in number than the unconstrained means to a single goal. Five experimental studies investigated the process of choosing or generating such means for multiple goals. We found that the simultaneous activation of multiple goals restricted the set of acceptable means to ones that benefitted (or at least, did not harm) the entire set of active goals. Two moderators of this phenomenon were identified: (a) the feasibility of identifying multifinal means, which was dependent on the relations between the different active goals, and (b) the enhanced importance of the focal goal, which resulted in the inhibition of its alternatives and the consequent relaxation of multifinality constraints.

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An open goal

An open goal - that's surely better than a closed one?

Following on from Jim Bright’s post about applying the Chaos Theory of Careers to work with clients, I wanted to pick up on the thought that goal-setting is not always the right thing to do.

Being of more ‘spontaneous and unstructured’ nature, I find it quite oppressive when coaches and trainers bang on about the need to set SMART objectives. You all know the acronym:

  • Specific (or is it Significant? Simple?)
  • Measurable (or perhaps Manageable? Motivational?)
  • Attainable (or is it Achievable? Acceptable? Appropriate? Agreed? Ambitious?)
  • Relevant (or is it Realistic? Resourced?)
  • Time-limited (maybe Timely?)

All this hyper-focused-ness makes me want to scream sometimes.

These conditions seem to assume that nothing is going to change; that the goal is somehow separate from the context in which it has been defined. They assume that life is not complex, that you can plot a course and just follow it.

But life isn’t like that. It’s messy. Things change. Unexpected things happen.

Perhaps it’s time for a different type of SMART objective.

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Drawing out the implications

David considers storyboarding

David considers storyboarding - {click for original post}

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