Setting HARD Goals

The science of setting goals has developed considerably in the last ten years through multiple psychological studies around business management, goal setting and psychology. The SMART goal framework although not entirely discounted has found competition, next to the HARD system of setting goals. The main reasons why this is the case is because of the findings of multiple studies in relation to performance, goals and motivation behavior.

Create a HARD Goal

The HARD acronym is a goal framework for pushing employees beyond their natural abilities to achieve higher end goals, yet ones they are connected to emotionally. The acronym HARD, stands for – Heartfelt, Animated, Required and Difficult.  A heartfelt goal is one where a person has an emotional investment and attachment to the intended outcome. The animated part of the goal is being able to envision in 3D the end result of achieving the goal. It has been proven that dreamers and those that reach beyond their capabilities get the necessary motivation by continually picturing the achieved result.

A required goal should be one that is absolutely necessary in order to achieve further progress of the company’s vision. Lastly in this framework the goal should be difficult to achieve ensuring that hard work and perseverance is required to attain the end result. This framework was founded by Mark Murphy in an attempt to bring current business management up to speed on current research in psychological motivation for employees.

The Importance of Goals

Creating, maintaining and evaluating goals for yourself and your employees should be an automatic exercise to ensure the vitality and progress of your company through difficult economic situations and tough industry conditions. The ability to set effective goals will increase the more that you practice this exercise. Goal effects have a proven validity from multiple academic studies including laboratory studies, field studies across multiple cultures, spanning time frames from one minute to 25 years and from the individual to the organizational level. Goal effects create a substantial improvement in performance and should be set in conjunction with the employee.

An Effective Goal Framework

There is simply not a one-size-fits-all goal framework that will work for every organization and individual. These frameworks should be tailored to the intended employee in order to achieve maximum results. There are a number of categories in goal frameworks that can aid in setting up effective goals. These categories should be considered when developing your own goal framework system.

Consider goal choice, specific learning goals within difficult tasks, effective goal framing, effects of goals in both career and personal life, possible group goals and the institutionalisation of macro-level organization-wide goals. By creating an effective goal framework that meets the needs of your organization and that of individuals better goals will be established with better results.

The HARD framework for goal setting provides one option to ensure that you and your employees have better goals through a more meaningful goal choice process. Ensure that goals are individually motivating and provide a real challenge, yet are still required to enhance company success.

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