Are Goals and Outcomes Important or Irrelevant?We have all heard that to attain success we need goals and a plan to get to those goals. We focus on our outcomes and our desired end goal. But is that all there is?
When I was working on my Masters of Science Degree in Counseling one-two courses a semester, some courses were mandatory and some were optional. In fact I did not set a Goal of attaining a Masters Degree at all. I went on with my education to pick up a couple of courses in Counseling to become a better Occupational Therapist. My Goal: I was looking to be more well rounded and able to help my patients not just on the medical side as a neuro rehabilitation specialist, but help folks regroup their lives emotionally after their medical issue.
I had to take two entry courses and then I was able to take one of the two courses I had really wanted as an occupational therapist. The next semester, I took the other. But, what had happened during those first semesters was that I met and became friends with other students. Some were just as excited to expand their skills as I was. Those students would say “Have you taken such-and-such course by Dr So&so?” When I said no they would launch into all the stuff they had gotten out of the course. Curious – I signed up for that course next and so on and so on.
One of those courses that I took out of curiosity was Process Consulting. It took two weeks into the course for my personal light bulb to go off and two more for me to convince the group I was assigned to that I was not crazy – nor was the professor. He had a method to his apparent madness.
Our assignment was to come up with a project and get it done – we could hire him as consultant, but we had to direct his consulting. No guidance on what project or what he could do in his role. Not what any student expects from a professor at all. My lightbulb moment came when I realized that it did not matter what the project was or if it was completed. What mattered was the process we used to develop and utilize the plan of operation to do the project. What an eye-opener! The goal was irrelevant!
What most of us do is set a goal and focus ONLY on it. Having a goal is not bad as a start, developing a plan to reach the goal is necessary. But, if you do not observe/study the process [steps done & results] of working your plan you can not learn and grow from the experience. How are the planned steps working? Who is doing what? Is any action productive or non-productive in the plan? And the most important one: What can I do to facilitate the plan or help to alter the plan so that it works.
I learned a lot from this unusual professor that I have been able to carry with me. It was a focus point that kept me well grounded when completing that degree and the next as well as in all my work experience. I value understanding and observing the process as a learning tool. I graduated with honors from the masters program by the accident of learning process.
I am working with SFM/DEA – marketing system, steps and plans all with the goal of me being very successful with online marketing. When interacting with my marketing mentor I am focused on the process that I am going through in their excellent plan. Attending to process has kept me flexible and focused.
The study of process is something anyone can learn if they keep their eyes, ears and minds open to possibilities. How did that happen? Process, process, process is how it happened. Here is a free video series about the process.