At AtomLeap, we help startups set up and accomplish their weekly goals through a specific strategy we have developed in order to overcome any potential blockers that may arise.
While we evidently encourage you to fully reach your weekly goals, we understand the subtle, yet crucial relevance of mediating between your ideal results and your realistic ones, and therefore of addressing this gap on a regular basis. In order to avoid falling into what the Harvard Business Review (HBR) has recognized as a common trap for overachievers—the inability to manage expectations in a realistic way, we have come up with a method to overcome it.
In Managing Yourself: The Paradox of Excellence, HBR Professor Thomas J. DeLong and former Harvard Medical School psychiatrist Sara DeLong argue that, by not managing their expectations in a realistic way, overachievers are more likely to jeopardize their own success. That is because they tend to put off altogether tasks that require them to risk their own high standards for a less-than perfect outcome, instead of accepting, integrating, and addressing their limitations in a constructive way. Ultimately, the authors argued that these mismanaged attitudes can have a negative impact on one’s long-term progress and development.
So how do we solve this conundrum? One source of inspiration is the idea of the best alternative to a negotiated agreement (BATNA) commonly used in negotiation theory, whereby one sets their BATNA as a means to prioritize a desired outcome, as well as to establish the minimum acceptable expectations before exiting negotiations. BATNA is the most advantageous alternative course of action a party can take if negotiations fail and an agreement cannot be reached. Setting a BATNA is recognized as the key focus of and driving force behind successful negotiators.
So how can this be applied in the case of goal setting, you may ask? The key difference is that, instead of a negotiation with an external party, you are negotiating with yourself and your team. In a nutshell, the idea is to manage the range of your expectations upfront. You can do this by defining the worst-case scenario and best-case scenario for each of the teams’ weekly goals, as well as by identifying potential blockers to reaching them. Evidently, the best-case scenario is equivalent to achieving your goals 100%. Meanwhile, the worst-case scenario equates to the minimum realistic commitment of progress that you set out to achieve and which you can guarantee. In this manner, you are not only setting your order of priorities, but you also make progress every week toward your goals in a realistic manner.
While this may seem counterintuitive to some, Sara and Thomas J. DeLong contend — and we at AtomLeap agree — that, in order to achieve continued success, one must open themselves up to new learning experiences, even if they risk making one feel uncertain at best and incompetent at worst. We believe that these practices can give you the courage to step out of your comfort zone, as they require that you acknowledge and work with your vulnerabilities, which is something that driven professionals do not like to do because it runs counter to their obsession with managing their image at all costs, as the HBR authors put it.
As a result, teams can successfully avoid stagnation, which is a common pitfall for early-stage startups, given the uncertainty and inconsistency that characterize entrepreneurial work demands. In the long run, this approach results in steady progress that is easy to monitor and in improved relations among team members, as it encourages the development of a more communicative and supportive culture, as well as greater professional ability.
For more information on our programs and how you can join as a team, feel free to explore our websites – hightechaccelerator.atomleap.com and www.atomleap.com, and to get in touch using the contact form on the former.