Educated Guess


Years ago I was working on a new program that I was convinced would benefit the company - develop new skills and processes that would increase revenue and reduce costs. All I needed to do was get approval of the executive team. I showed it to a friend in the L&D field at another company and asked for feedback. His main comment was that I promoted it as a benefit to the company, but I didn't specify increased revenue or lowered costs. I said I couldn't be sure and felt uncomfortable giving even an educated guess.

His response changed how I thought. He pointed out that accounting doesn't know how much money they will spend, but they still make a budget and forecast for the year. His question to me was simple "if they can make forecasts that almost always are wrong, the only question is how wrong, why can't you?"

When doing goal setting, no one is expecting you to be perfect, but you have to give a specific, measurable goal. For new skills, you may now know what to put, but put a number and adjust. Use the skills you have to make an educated guess and then adjust as you go. Sometimes it will be too low and sometimes too high. But you can always adjust.

When I started writing this blog, I set a goal to write a short post every day. I soon discovered that it was taking longer than I thought. I had to come up with a plan to adjust. I still write everyday, but have a different process in order to meet my goal. I continue to reflect and tweak the process to make sure it meets my goal, but it is nothing like I thought it would be like.

If Covid and the pandemic taught you nothing else, you should have learned that plans and goals are meant to be adjusted when the situation changes.