Sometime in the mid-1990s, a customer called the Human GROWTH Habit his “6 step blueprint for success” …
… a few years earlier, in 1989, while on a course for budding business coaches, we (the attendees) were introduced by Alan Fine, a highly respected performance coach, to the GROW Coaching Model which is an invaluable blueprint for coaching. I used it, as a coach and facilitator with individuals and groups, with colleagues, customers, and friends. A toolset that I used to help people achieve what they wanted, sometimes extraordinary outcomes, in both formal and informal situations.
In addition to using the process for business challenges, I found it useful for sports, music, social, and public sector settings. Over a few years, through feedback from participants, a client suggested splitting the 4th Step (W), for the sake of clarity, into three distinct disciplines thereby adding two steps. The GROW Coaching Model evolved into what has since been referred to as the Human GROWTH Habit.
The 6 Step Blueprint To Success
Human GROWTH Habit (hGh) – Step 1: Goals
The first of the 6 steps to success of the hGh asks: “What do you want to achieve?”. A simple question that requires a comprehensive answer. This is where you determine your outcome/s. What are your aspirations? Big or small, it matters not. The bigger the aspirations (or the more complex) the longer this step will take.
Note: I use the words goals, outcomes and aspirations to mean more or less the same things … these three words are largely interchangeable.
The single most important question to get started with anything: “What do you want to achieve?”, is not always easy to answer and is not often answered in enough detail. The more specific and detailed your answer is, the greater is the chance that you will achieve what you want.
This list of questions following might look pedantic … but I can assure you that answering them will give you an enormous advantage!
- precisely what outcome/s do you want to achieve?
- how big or small is it?
- how much, many, or even few do you want?
- who is involved?
- is location important, in which case where?
- is timing important, in which case when do you want it/them?
- how will you know that you have achieved your outcome/s?
- What will you:
- and are there any negative effects? (if there are you might want to make adjustments).
- what else does it get for you (or anyone else)?
- above all why do you want these outcome/s?
Always write the required outcomes down, incorporating answers to the above questions, in as much detail as is appropriate for the people involved.
If you are interested in why it is worth discovering your whys, take a look here.
Go here to learn a sure-fire method for discovering your whys.
Also, realise that nothing is set in stone here. There may well be additions, deletions or adjustments to the outcome/s as you progress through the hGh steps. There is no right or wrong; only what works for you.
Many people are already familiar with the concept of SMART goals or aspirations:
- Specific – have you defined specifically, in enough detail, what you want to achieve?
- Measurable – are you able to know when you have achieved your goal?
- Achievability – is what you want a realistic aspiration? (be careful with this one… just because you don`t know how to achieve something yet does not make it unrealistic).
- Resources – do you have or can you acquire whatever is needed?
- Timed – are there any time constraints or targets? Are they specified and possible?
The questions above will have catered for the S (be Specific), M (make it Measurable), perhaps some of the R (Resources) and T (if Time is important).
This leaves A (Achievability which might not be confirmed yet) and there’s probably more R, (Resources required) to come in Step 3 of the hGh.
Before moving on to Step 2 … just how compelling is/are your outcome/s? Do you truly know why you want it/them?
Have you set a goal that is exciting for those involved?
Always remember that nothing is set in stone here. The outcomes reflect your`s or your team`s aspirations alone. There may well be additions, deletions or adjustments to the outcome/s as you progress through the hGh steps. There is no right or wrong; only what works for you.
Human GROWTH Habit (hGh) – Step 2: Reality Check
In the hGh Step 2, we examine “What is our current reality?”.
Workshop participants have often asked me why this is not the first step.
The thing is that focusing on current reality first serves to limit our thinking in relation to aspirations.
There are some situations, usually informal and with individuals, where it is best to go with the flow of whatever they want to explore first.
Achievement of growth or change requires expanding or breaking through our comfort zone. More often than not, a focus on current reality first leads to limited thinking within the bounds of our current comfort zone. Minimal interference from our experience of the current reality can lead to broader creativity.
By first focusing on our aspirations in Step 1, the more likely we are to develop compelling, and motivational outcomes that represent a breakthrough.
So, the question is, in relation to our goals/aspirations, where am I? or where are we? right now. Including, most importantly, what resources are currently available? Resources are not just money. They include attitudes (mindsets), skills and strengths.
Write it all down … then …
Highlight The Differences
At this point, comparing your goals against current reality will clarify the distance or differences between these two points in time.
Now you can define what specific areas need to change and by how much.
If you’ve conscientiously followed the steps so far you’re now very clear about what you want to achieve and why, and you should have a good understanding of the size of any challenges.
Human GROWTH Habit (hGh) – Step 3: Options – What Options/Ideas Do You Have?
In Step 3 you figure out what options you have for achieving your goals. Focus on what steps have to be taken to achieve what you want.
Position Yourself At The Goal And Look Back
Here`s an idea that I have often used. If you stand at the foot of a mountain (or small hill for that matter) that you intend to climb and look up, it is often difficult to pick out a path. On the other hand, if you position yourself at the summit, it is much easier when looking down to see the easiest route.
So, a little trick that you can use at this point is to position yourself at your goal. Imagine that you have now achieved your aspirations.
Literally in your mind’s eye, see, hear and feel your outcome and then look back at where you came from (look back at where you are right now). Look back at the path to see what steps must have been taken and what obstacles were overcame on the way to the top.
Trust me … if you carry this out with conviction you will relatively easily develop the strategies that got you (or will get you) to the top! You will have a much better idea of the milestones that you must reach, and any obstacles to overcome on the way to the top.
Brainstorm your options to achieve your goals
In Step 2, you evaluated the differences between where you want to be and where you are now. Now brainstorm and consider what options you can think of to address the challenges identified.
Write down as many ideas as you can think of. Write down everything that anyone says.
One whacky idea can lead to another which can often lead to a practical solution.
Avoid evaluating options at this stage. Just write them all down and only ask questions for clarification where necessary. Criticism is not allowed!
Perhaps some options will overcome obstacles that you saw in the previous step. Perhaps some options completely bypass perceived obstacles.
Once the brainstorming session is ‘complete’ I recommend taking a short break before moving on.
Note: the concept of ‘complete’ is based on the 80/20 principle. Once 80% of ideas have been found, progress will slow down considerably. When progress stops for more than a couple of minutes it’s time to move on. More ideas may well be identified over time and can be added when they are discovered.
Evaluating the options
Having explored your options for achieving your goals, you now have a list of ideas. Some may well be completely impractical or inappropriate.
Examine each option, consider if it is useful or not and discard any that you have no interest in.
It is important that people do not take any implied criticism personally. Be sensitive to those involved and ask permission from the person who submitted an idea before removing it.
Perhaps some options can be combined in interesting ways? Ask what resources (skills, training, tools, materials, finance, time etc) are needed for each option. As you think/discuss make sure any new ideas are captured and considered appropriately.
Check to see if there are any new ideas, especially if the goal/s have changed.
Human GROWTH Habit (hGh) – Step 4: Way Forward – It`s Decision Time
In Step 4 of the hGh you choose the way forward; what are the best steps to take?
It’s time to make decisions and get organised …
It is worth (briefly) checking that the written goals from Step 1 are still intact. Given a better understanding of possible options available to move towards your goals now, ask, are the goals realistic yet still exciting/motivating? Do you want to change anything in the description of your aspirations?
Having refined a list of options in the previous step, for you to be able to move from where you are now to where you want to be, it’s time to consider what option/s will deliver the effect that you want in the most efficient way. It is decision time!
Do you have the resources needed for each option? Do any preferred options require more resources? If so, what further options do you have to acquire the necessary additional resources?
It’s planning time …
“Keep everything as simple as possible, but no simpler” – Albert Einstein … so keep your plan as simple as you can but comprehensive.
Sort your chosen options into a logical order, making sure that those dependent on others are placed appropriately. For clarity, some options may need to be expanded.
In my opinion, no plan is complete without target dates being included. Without dates, it is just a list of objectives, not a plan. But remember that in many cases dates can be flexible. Unless there are critical dates, do not get too hung up on them.
However, where there are critical dates, perhaps based on external influences or due to other commitments, be clear on what they are. Make sure all those who have a need to know, understand what is critical and why.
Also, be realistic with time estimates. Personally, I add on at least 50% to my original estimate.
Remember to include criteria for measuring results. Write down a description of how you will know when each item on the plan is complete.
In addition, if the plan is going to take more than a short time (perhaps more than one month) then it is worth including regular progress reviews in the plan (see Step 6).
Human GROWTH Habit (hGh) – Step 5: Take Action – Implement The Plan!
It`s time to take action by implementing the plan as developed in Step 4. Probably the simplest instruction and yet the most critical step.
If no action is taken, nothing will be achieved … so …
Just Do It!
This is where discipline comes into its own. Especially if you are working on your own.
Daily disciplined activity is essential to make sure you follow the plan.
It´s useful to invest a few minutes at the end of each day to check progress against the plan, and become clear on what you will do the next day.
Also, it is a good practice to regularly remind yourself why you want to achieve your aspirations.
If you find yourself regularly falling behind, avoid beating yourself up … ask yourself: “What is getting in the way of progress?”. Just be honest and change what you can to improve.
Above all, during the time allocated for taking action on your plan, stop doing things that are not productive.
Make no bones about it … if you are not getting things done, you will have to take the pain of changing something in order to make progress.
You will not regret the discipline! It will feel great when you achieve what you want.
What to do when you find yourself off-plan …
The Original Plan
Here’s what actually happened
The white arrows show what typically happens!
Most people, when they notice they are off course, try to get back to the original plan (as shown by the white arrows).
Notice that when added together the white arrows are at least twice the length (i.e. twice the time) as the original plan.
Opportunities for efficiency
In this hypothetical example, there were at least 5 opportunities to re-plan from a new position (as shown by the red arrows), setting out the quickest way to the goal from each of those 5 positions.
This may look a little exaggerated, but I hope it makes the point
Human GROWTH Habit (hGh) – Step 6: How Did It Go? – Review
In Step 6 it is time to review achievements and answer the general question: “How did it go”?
A warning: it may be tempting to ignore this step … especially if you have fully achieved what you wanted … or if the project is a `one-off`. I recommend asking the key questions below … there are always learning points.
In addition, if your aspirations are going to take some time, perhaps due to complexity, you may benefit from adding periodic reviews into your action plan at Step 4.
The same Key Questions are useful for any feedback review.
It is, of course, important to review progress against the Goal/s. In addition, it’s valuable to consider the actions that were taken, and the overall GROWTH Habit itself. Are there any things you would do differently next time?
I reiterate that the purpose when you review achievements is not just to check progress against the plan. There is additional value in discovering any areas for improvement for the overall process that can be applied in the future.
- what worked?;
- what didn`t work?;
- what did I/we learn?;
- what can I/we do differently next time?
Applying the learnings from the answers to these four questions will lead to continuous improvement.
Try Out This Blueprint To Success…
I encourage you to try out the Human GROWTH Habit … the ‘6 step blueprint to success’ … you might like it, and if you apply it consistently and persistently, you will become very successful.
Please let me know how you get on …
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