Personal Development


The phrase “pure goals” is something very tempting at the moment. People in different roles and on different levels talk about the goals they set and connect them with values, cultural norms, ethical standards, etc. Politicians especially love the idea of “pure goals” because the word “pure” creates a psychological connection to something new, untouched and uncorrupted.

Leaders who step into new roles use the same theory to “align” their understandings with those of the masses in the organization’s structure.

So much has been done, and so less achieved. Nothing new, but every time the same surprise for everyone. Many theories explain why a goal may not fit for organizational structure. Many experts in the field write about how to finetune your goals so that you can achieve them and these same goals to be recognized as something closer to the unique organizational environment. “The pure goal theory” is one of the many, but at the same time, one of the few theories that connect the goals to the person’s unique inner world and setup.

We often talk about goals, but how a plan looks like if you want to see it aligned with what you call your organization, culture, and even values set up. Talking about these elements, four characteristics can help recognize “the pure goal.”


While many goals intend to deliver results, how they intend to provide them is also essential. Unfortunately, many plans look like a set up of poorly established corporate statements that aim to move from one condition to another in a limited period and follow several predefined steps. Most of these goals look empty and not inspiring. Yes, they describe the delivery of results, but nothing more.

For a goal to win and bring great results to the table, it has to be started positively.

For example, when I set my goals, I can write them in both ways:

Type 1: More comfortable environment for the employees created by renting a new office

Type 2: People come to work happy and are more productive as a result of newly rented and redecorated office space, allowing everyone to express their full potential

I will measure these two types of the same goal similarly. But how will you feel if I present the first version of the goal to you, and how would you feel if you hear about the second version?

This is a real example happening now at my current employer. We are moving office, and the hype over this plan is more than expected.

Positively stated goals create alignment and make people feel part of something more significant to them that is created especially for them.


What makes a good goal is the way people understand it. Years ago, I had a line manager who had great ideas but could not present them to the people so that they could win everyone’s attention and involvement in the achievement process. You can guess the results: poor performance, average achievement, and many development recommendations, causing stress and anxiety.

While setting a positive goal, you need to learn how to present it to others so that this goal will be understood and accepted. If people do not understand the goal in the way they think, it won’t create the hype you need to succeed. People need to see everything the goal offers in their language, to read and hear the details with their unique understanding style. You will only have enough followers to ensure that your goal will deliver best-in-class results. The opposite will create uncertainty and opposition toward the goal.


I hate to see an executive who wants it all because they have already promised someone above them that a result will be present, no matter the consequences. In my previous employment, we went to such a situation where I, as a Head of HR, had to take the blame for not being able to change the organization created and developed for more than 15 years in less than a year. No choices to make and no freedom to change people, but in less than one year, I have had to think of a magical way to engage them to change without being supported by the company’s CEO. Not that I am apologizing or searching for a way to get out of the situation, but the lack of good analysis of the condition often leads to the creation of irrelevant goals. Inpatient executives or company owners may push for faster goal achievement. Still, if they do not understand the unique environment around them, they may not be able to change it for good. In this same organization, the CEO found a solution to hire new people for part of the managerial roles, let the new and old ways of thinking clash, and then, after being pushed by the owner to keep the older adults in the organization, blame the new ones that they do not fit the company culture. So well, a more significant part of these newly hired people with know-how is no anymore part of the company, helping other companies with their expertise, while the company and the CEO still search for the miracle to happen.

The relevance of a goal is significant because its analysis helps the company define the significance of the objectives planned and the rhythm of the achievements. Anything that differs too much not only becomes irrelevant but causes a lot of distress and slows down goal achievement and company growth.


And now we got to the last part. What I see is that many people think of that part as something insignificant. However, it is an essential part of pure goal setting. Like in religion, a pure goal is connected with something clear and meaningful that defines internal standards and makes people believe in them. This element is not to be measured by numbers directly but is seen in the number of growing or declining followers; the actions tolerated, and the level of stress produced in the organization. It is called ETHICS. While many people ignore it, the goals they create are often rubbish and not satisfying. Ethics is essential because it recreates the need to feel heard and important. From ethics evolves the understanding that everyone is respected and considered necessary in the processes and structures set.

Often, the ethical part is set up through the company values. While they are a good starting point, if these same values remain as only statements on the wall or shiny pictures in someone’s e-mail, they are useless. Creating a pure goal representing the ethical standards in some place means stepping on company needs and including the moral norms and behaviors presented as a nominal standard and leaving and doing work by them.


The “pure goal” is a tempting concept often used nowadays. But, at the same time, purity must not be understood as flexibility but as a standardized way to achieve results, involving the largest group of people you can and keeping them engaged with you and the goal till the end. So it is more like a concept of mind than an operational standard. Still, it’s essential to be successful beyond the common understanding of how the work must be done operationally. So, did you think about “How pure your goals are?”


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