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Managing to Make a Difference by Larry Sternberg

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Chapter 28Set Challenging Goals

Numerous highly respected authorities give the following advice: “When setting goals with your employees, make sure those goals are reasonable and attainable. Otherwise you will demotivate your employees.” But what about dreaming big? What about Big Hairy Audacious Goals (BHAGs)? What looks impossible to one person might look intriguing to another.

People can easily have conflicting points of view about what is reasonable. But Dr. Fred Jervis taught his students and mentees another way to think about goals. He taught us to visualize ideal outcomes (not reasonable ones) and then ask the question, “If we want to achieve that, how would we do it?”

The Jervis question is scary. It demands the courage to try new strategies. It takes us into uncharted territory.

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