Turn Your Performance Goals into Learning Goals

who's got your backTurn Your Performance Goals into Learning Goals

Here is my duh-aha! moment for the day, from Keith Ferrazzi’s new book, Who’s Got Your Back: The Secret to Finding the 3 People Who Will Change Your Life.

(If you don’t know Ferrazzi, he is also the author of Never Eat Alone. That book, a soulful approach to networking, helped transform me from an academic into a solopreneur. I recommend it highly, and often.)

In this new book, Ferrazzi makes an excellent, clarifying distinction between performance goals (outcomes) and learning goals (process). And he recommends that we translate performance goals into learning goals. Instead of: “lose 10 pounds,” focus on “learn to cook healthier meals.” Instead of “get promoted to manager,” focus on “learn how to lead meetings.

This strategy makes goal-setting so much more concrete, and do-able, because it is incremental. It doesn’t just focus on the pot of gold, as Ferrazzi compares. It focuses on the rainbow. I may know where I want to go, but how in the heck do I get there? Sometimes it seems awfully overwhelming.

And by itemizing the necessary skills/knowledge and identifying which ones we need to learn or improve, we focus on our own core selves, not just the external goal. I will eventually meet that goal and move past it, but the results of learning are forever.

When it’s done in the context of a workplace, Ferrazzi calls the strategy “drafting,” because you take advantage of the corporate goal, which may not be your own burning desire, to initiate your own personal growth.

The benefits are substantial. According to one research study that Ferrazzi cites, people who set learning goals are “better able to cope, remain motivated, and achieve more when faced with the setbacks that inevitably occur.”

How can you revisit a current performance goal and transform it into a learning goal?

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