Assumptive Goal Setting

Questions This Guidance Answers: 
  • What is assumptive goal setting?
  • How do I do even more next year, even when this year was hard?
  • How can I get more done with less?

This guidance describes a technique for how to think more creatively about annual planning goals.

We've spent some time talking about the importance of goals. It's funny how many people don't want to have to set goals, yet seem to expect all kinds of publicly visible people/organizations/institutions to do just that. We expect our governments to live within their means, which requires goals and planning. We expect our teams to win, which surely they would not do if they weren't setting goals of winning. And we expect our companies to meet their budgets, and perform as they say they will. All these things take goals.

How can we ask not to be held accountable for achieving goals while simultaneously expecting the institution we work in to have enough cash available to pay us when they say they will? [Paying on time is a goal someone in finance or cash management has to plan for, right?] The answer is we can't, if we want to be a professional part of our organization.

BUT! Many of you say, it's harder than it seems. How can I set a goal that's bigger than what I'm already doing, when this year was so hard? How can I find more revenue when I barely made it this year? How can I cut costs when I feel like I'm down to the bone? How can I process more loan requests when I got lucky last year? How can I inspect more parts when I felt quality was stretched last year?

There are several ways to think about this, but here's a creative way to think about stretching your goals.

  [Play in Popup]

Extra Content
    Manager Tools Personal License
    Interviewing Series
    First Job Fundamentals   

Great ;)

Great and timely cast again guys ;)

Havent heard about this way of setting goal's, so will give it a try!

Kind Regards
Mads Sorensen
Disc 4536

Thank You

Just in Time :-)

it sometimes needs a small hint to see, one behaves in a sub-optimal ritual.  Well knowing -- or always having the "gut-feeling" that there is something wrong with the "good"-old procedure (of goal setting). 

I do not know how to practise your recommendation in detail. However I would understand it in the following way: 

If we would have kown about the efforts of a doctoral thesis, we never would have started with. But as we see the glory of the title (PhD) in the beginning, we are encouraged to go this way! (Another example is "having children", "building a house".)  It will not lead to success to start a doctoral thesis by discussing the contents of the foreword, then the introduction... 

I will try to motivate my people with that example above for the upcoming goal settings... 

Best regards and a happy new year...


Great podcast.


Inspiring note about "visualizing" ourselves in a year celebrating success and learn from that experience what we've done differently in order to enable further high-bar goal settings.

Our task as managers is to pave the road ahead to enable success rather that driving forward while looking at the rear view mirror.

Best regards.








Mature vs. New Teams

I loved the cast.  How many planning meetings have I been in? It is late in the third quarter, we are behind, getting our tails kicked, and we spend the first 60 minutes of a 90 minute meeting talking about where we are now?  You frame it so well: we have no data about the future and we all already know where we are at.  Focus on what we will have done when we have won. 

This cast pairs well with the massive work increase casts because the two often go together.  My question is about the finer details of planning and then the ramp up of work increase.  

How does the planning and implementation process differ for a mature team surrounded by the trophies of past victories vs. a new team meeting in an empty warehouse for the first time?


Best Cast for Challenging the Typical Ineffective Process


Awesome and very powerful cast! I will be recommending it across my organization often. Just finished an email to my team.

Some of what you are recommending in this process reminds me of a combination of Brainstorming - where no critical thinking is allowed so that visions and directions can be decided upon without worrying about the “Yeah, but” details of why it can’t be done, and the visualization techniques that elite athletes use in training. The trick in imagining your goal as already completed not only channels positive energy and buy-in across the team, but it also helps people self-correct behaviors.

After all, if we are on schedule or ahead of plan, then it isn’t time to relax because we can have our rewards and successful awards dinner a year earlier!  If we are not seeing the results we hoped for, then we need a course correction, rather than a blame-game that what we are failing at really was never attainable in the first place. If people really buy-in, then they start acting differently, because if I was part of the best "whatever team this company has" or industry leader, then would I really be taking that much time to complete a task, return an email, or turn around a deadline? What is my future self "Avitar" working on now instead of what I am doing that would get us to our goals faster? Am I using the next hour as effectively as one of the team members in the best "whatever team this company has" or industry leader? 

Reminds me of some other goal-setting best practices:

1) Goals should be dreams with deadlines. 

2) Goals should be written down as if they already were accomplished.

3) Goals should be visualized and said out loud often. 

4) Rewards are spelled out up front and celebrated when accomplished.

I am a quote fan. The Ted Williams vision is very powerful. One of the others Mark mentions in the podcast:

“All successful people, men and women, are big dreamers. They imagine what their future could be, ideal in every respect, and then they work every day toward their distant vision, that goal or purpose.”  ~Brian Tracy

“Whether you think that you can, or that you can't, you are usually right.” ~Henry Ford

“A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week.” ~George S. Patton 

“Plan your work for today and every day, then work your plan.”  ~Margaret Thatcher 

“A man has to have goals - for a day, for a lifetime - and that was mine, to have people say, 'There goes Ted Williams, the greatest hitter who ever lived.'”  ~Ted Williams 

This is a great motivational tool for team sucess

This was an excellent podcast. There  were so many positive insights pointed out, which not only will lead to a team sucess, but as a behavioral pattern, which can be modeled.


Many great thanks to you.