Have you ever attended a seminar, class, or workshop, picked up valuable techniques to help you on the job, but then got back to work only to become so busy that you don’t use these techniques? Of course, it happens to all of us. But how would you like to discover a simple technique that significantly increases the probability that you get results?
Professor Gail Matthews, from the Dominican University of California, recruited 267 participants from a wide variety of businesses, organizations and networking groups throughout the world for a study on how goal achievement in the workplace is influenced by writing goals, committing to goal-directed actions, and being accountable to others. (1)
Participants were randomly assigned to one of five groups:
Group 1 was asked to think about their goals. (43%)
Groups 2 -- 5 were asked to write their goals. (61%)
Group 3 was also asked to formulate action commitments. (51%)
Group 4 was asked to formulate action commitments and send their goals and action commitments to a supportive friend. (64%)
Group 5 was asked to formulate action commitments and send their goals, action commitments, and weekly progress reports to support a friend. (76%)
At the end of four weeks, participants were asked to rate their progress in the degree to which they had accomplish their goals. The percentage within the parentheses above indicates the percent of accomplished goals for that group. In other words, individuals in group 1 accomplished 43% of their stated goals versus 76% for those in group 5.
I strongly urge you to implement the findings of Dr. Matthews' research if you want to increase the probability that you and your team actually use ideas after attending a workshop, class, or seminar. Write a goal, create an action plan to achieve the goal, and most importantly... hold yourself (and others) accountable by e-mailing a colleague progress once a week. How do you increase accountability?