Do you know anyone who strives to be average? While few people admit this is true, about half of us do. And, of course, the same is true of companies and organizations because they are only as good as their people.

What I have observed is that average and below average performers either do not have goals or their goals are flawed or their goals do not inspire them. One symptom of goal absence or weakness is when people do what they want to do before they do what they need to do.

Do What You Need to Do First.  As I was thinking about goals this week, I was intrigued by Nicolas Cole’s article in Inc Magazine called This Is the 1 Habit All Successful People Live By . Cole says that successful people do what they need to do before they do what they want to do.

Cole writes, “This means even though life hands you endless obligations, invitations, responsibilities, and people to appease, it’s important that you do the things you need to do–the things that will move the needle and get you to where it is you want to be–before you do all the things that you want to do.”

Sounds simple, “Do the things that will move the needle and get you to where it is you want to be.” But what if you do not know where it is you want to be? Naturally, you will do what you want to do first and you are well on your way to being average.

Creating a Goal-Driven Culture. Whether you are goal-setting for yourself or your team or organization, you must learn to identify the right goal – the goal everyone can commit to. Until you do this you may create what you think are good goals, but learn later they are not having an impact.

Next Wednesday, October 18th, I will be hosting a free 60 minute webinar Building a Goal-Driven Culture – Part 1 . In Part 1 we will lay the foundation for creating a goal-driven culture and in Part 2, in November, we will focus on day-to-day goal execution.

Understand Your Success Formula. If your organization is struggling with goal-setting and goal achievement I suggest you start by exploring and understanding your success formula and your value proposition. Check out my article What is Your Success Formula to learn more about this.

The Goal. If you would like to learn more about goal-thinking and goal-setting I suggest you read Eliyahu Goldratt’s book The Goal. Goldratt writes a fictional tale about a plant manager, and a company, who didn’t understand what their real goal was. They had created all kinds of productivity initiatives, but shipments were still late, labor costs were unchanged, and inventory was increasing. What they didn’t talk about was the real goal – to increase their profit. Once everyone understood this goal and committed themselves to it, things changed significantly.

If you like being below average, skip the goals, lay-back and just do what you want.