Do your Goals Reflect your Preferences? People are involved in goal setting all the time. Sometimes the goals are broad and future oriented, and other times they simply guide our day to day activities. Personality Type heavily influences how people go about setting and working towards their goals. When people with different preferences start setting goals together, what starts out as a simple process can become filled with conflict and frustration. By understanding how our personality preferences not only impact what we go after, but how we go after it, perhaps we can avoid these negative outcomes by promoting respect, understanding and collaboration. Extraversion and Introversion Extraverts approach setting goals in the same way they approach everything else. They talk. Setting goals for Extraverts tends to be a group process where everyone speaks up and shares their ideas. After a period of discussion the goals are set and everyone should be committed. The assumption for many Extraverts is that silence equates to agreement, and that if the Introverted preferences didn’t speak up, they must be on board. Introverts would rather reflect and think about the process. They may even want to provide a written document for people to consider. When Introverts get together in a group to set the goals, they expect people to be prepared and only present well thought out ideas. As a result, Introverts will tend to hold their counterparts to whatever initial ideas have been voiced, rather then using them as a springboards for further discussion. Sensing and Intuition Those with Sensing preferences like to set goals that are practical, straightforward, attainable and focused on the here and now. Many of them live by the KISS principle: “Keep It Simple Stupid.” They want to have goals which they can quickly get to work on, and use to gauge their progress every step of the way. Inspirational, future-oriented goals that are out of sight are seen as exercises in futility. For Intuitive preferences, these same future-oriented, challenging and inspirational goals are the very recipe for motivation. Goals that are broad and reflect possibilities (rather than current realities) are what Intuitives aim for. Practical, clear goals may strike Intuitives as too obvious and do not need to be planned or heavily considered. Thinking and Feeling Those with Thinking Preferences set goals through an exhaustive thought process. They form objective commitments to objective goals, and are concerned about what is to be achieved and how it will fit in with other activities. Thinkers are often willing to work towards goals even when not in agreement with others. Feeling preferences on the other hand set subjective commitments to subjective values. For Feelers the best goals reflect concern for everyone involved. They question who will be affected by the goals and will they be better off because of it. Judging and Perceiving Judging preferences rarely need a formal process to begin setting goals. Instead, goal setting occurs naturally as their approach to life. They prefer to set explicit goals and then begin crossing them off when they are reached. Judgers typically do not like to alter or adjust their goals in the near term, and often treat goals as carved in stone. For Perceivers, goal setting is a continual process in which newer goals are constantly emerging. They prefer to view goals as guidelines that are open to reevaluation and adjustment. In their book “Type Talk at Work”, Otto Kroeger and Janet M. Thuesen provide what they call a “Goal-Setting Checklist” to teams to ensure they are considering all preference perspectives when arriving at group goals: Did everyone get a chance to speak about the topic? (E) Has there been ample time to reflect on goals? (I) Are the objectives realistic? (S) Do the goals allow for future expansion? (N) Are the goals consistent with the organizational outcomes and deliverables? (T) Will everyone in the organization commit? (F) Is there a plan to monitor progress toward goal attainment? (J) Do the goals allow for emergencies and the unexpected? (P) References: Type Talk at Work. Kroeger, O & Thuesen, J. M. Dell Publishing, 1992.