Much is made of the value of stretch goals. Managers love them, consultants pontificate about them and employees are victimized by them. There is irony in stretch goals, also. Those those people and organizations that are best able to leverage stretch goals often don’t. What constitutes “stretch” is variable, and varies for each of us. They are not necessarily attainable, at times they aren’t even reasonable, and in all instances we are walking the razor’s edge between success and failure. We need to be okay with that. Especially now.
There is a difference between doing the work and loving the work. Much of what produces worthwhile work is–well–work. Painful, sweaty, slogging, frustrating work. That’s why, often, we avoid the work. That’s why “do the work” is an exhortation and imperative; it’s designed to get us to make the first step, with the hope and intent that we keep on going. And that’s where the challenges start.
“Why?” is a critically important question to ask. It’s a challenging one to ask at times, and sometimes it’s a more challenging one to answer. What is less expected is when the people asking the question are seen as part of the problem, and not part of the solution. That doesn’t mean that we stop asking why. But we may need to think carefully about the way that we go about doing it.
We get taught the principles of inquiry at a young age. Who, what, where, when, why and how are essential dimensions of the work we do and changes that we make. The question that we most lose site of, though, is “Why?”
In the face of challenge, we often avoid work—particularly work that challenges us. This might be a result of preparedness, and it may simply be procrastination. In either instance, solving it isn’t a thinking problem. It’s a doing problem. On the very real importance of action.
On the very good days, we can be exceptionally creative and productive. On the bad days, we can’t even spell ‘productive,’ let alone use it coherently in a sentence. What we know about engagement and procrastination, and what we need to keep in mind.