Apr 5 2022, 7 min to read

Stefan Söderfjäll's films about goals

Tecknad man som bestigit berg och håller flagga

Stefan Söderfjäll's new little film series about goals. Stefan Söderfjäll has a PhD in Psychology.

Stefan Söderfjäll has a PhD in Psychology and has spent more than 20 years bringing out research-based knowledge about how we behave, especially about how we behave in working life.



Stefan Söderfjäll is one of the owners of the Swedish digital tool for goal control, GoalEnvision. GoalEnvision is a powerful tool for you who want to set goals together in the company. GoalEnvision provides tips on successful goals and a simple methodology to get everyone to get the right things done.



After the introduction, Stefan begins by telling about what a goal really is. All organizations work with goals in one way or another. They have goals for the entire business and often these overall goals are broken down to departmental level, group level and perhaps even down to individual level. The goals may look different and be in different time perspectives and describe different phenomena, but most organizations work in one way or another explicitly with goals. Research on goals is also extensive, and it says that when we humans formulate a goal with our behavior or our performance, it has a positive effect on our behavior and our performance.



Stefan goes on to the third film and talks about the different functions goals fulfill. Goals are absolutely necessary for us to be able to do anything at all. Goals are unique to us humans. We have a more developed ability to think in terms of future desirable states, than is the case with other living species and life forms. The second function that goals fulfill is that they give us energy. The third function is that they are fundamentally necessary for us to be able to cooperate with each other.



In the fourth film, Stefan tells about what happens if you do not set goals. We humans formulate goals consciously or unconsciously for most of our behavior. We would either act very passively or completely confused if there was no idea where we wanted to go with our actions. The immediate consequences will, of course, be that it will be more difficult for us to cooperate. If we have different views on what we should try to achieve, it will form a basis for potential conflicts, sub-optimized performance and friction.



Stefan continues in the fifth film about the different types of goals that exist. The first level of abstraction is about the result of what we want to achieve. The second level of abstraction we can formulate goals around is about our individual and common achievements. The third level of abstraction refers to learning objectives where we want to develop knowledge and skills that help us to perform well and contribute to good results. The fourth and final level of abstraction is process goals or activity goals. These are goals that we formulate with concrete activities that we are to carry out, which we can check off on a checklist or on a to-do list.



In the sixth film of Stefan's films, he talks about whether goals should be measurable or not. The risk of formulating goals that are simple is that you then do not formulate goals that are most relevant to the business. The goals can be broken down into measurable indicators, but it must never be of paramount importance for the goals to be relevant and important.



Stefan's seventh film in the series is about short-term and long-term goals. Many times the mistake is made that we only formulate long-term goals that usually extend from three months onwards. When we are going to perform a behavior, carry out an activity or carry out various sub-projects, we can always try to formulate goals with these activities and sub-projects. If we lack a long-term goal picture or a direction with the business, it will be difficult to formulate short-term goals, because we have nothing to reconcile them with. But the short-term goals, they are the ones that affect our behavior. They are the ones who give the opportunity to feel that we are making progress.



In the eighth film, Stefan talks about how to think about Individual and common goals. There is usually a form of common goal for the entire business in general. You can have both individual and common goals. But what you have to keep in mind is that if it is about tasks or projects where there is a big gain or even a requirement that we need to cooperate. in the case of a high degree of interdependence, formulate common goals. At low levels of interdependence, formulate individual goals.



Stefan's ninth film in the series is about goal fulfillment. Research has shown that in addition to goals being clear, they should also be difficult, ie they should require effort. And this level of difficulty on goals, it should be so high that we do not always reach the goals we formulate with certainty, but it is likely that they should be so highly formulated that we regularly fail to reach our goals . formulate goals that are difficult and challenging, which one regularly fails to achieve. And remember that it is not the fulfillment of the goal that is the single most important, but it is what the goal does with the actual behaviors, the actual achievements and the actual results.



In the tenth film, Stefan talks about following up on his goals. Follow-up is simply about seeing where you are in relation to set goals on a regular basis. It gives us an opportunity to change strategies, modify, call for help, resources and to make more effort. Do not use follow-up to judge and criticize, but rather use follow-up to gather information if we need to adjust something.



The eleventh and final film in Stefan's series about goals, he tells about pitfalls in goal work. Some common pitfalls that can be important to consider are that we set goals for the long term. Another common pitfall is that we do not really check with the parties involved if the goal feels meaningful and relevant and engaging. A third common pitfall is that we rely too much on the goal and that the goal should do the job. It is more important to have a good follow-up process than to have good, clear and challenging goals from the beginning. Finally, it is a common mistake when we work with goals, that we put too much focus on goal fulfillment and make goal fulfillment the only important thing. We must find goals that are at such a perfect level that we get the maximum outcome on the performance and feel proud the times when we actually reach our goals.

About By Stefan Söderfjäll, author and PhD in psychology

Stefan Söderfjäll is a Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology and has spent more than 20 years bringing out research-based knowledge about how we behave, especially about how we behave in working life.

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