Sub-Goals

I'm preparing for an upcoming client session featuring Lewis and Clark's expedition of 1803-1806. I'll be writing more about this in the next few weeks. Here is my first thought as I customize the presentation.

Lewis and Clark had a goal, or a handful of goals, for their journey. President Thomas Jefferson wrote them out in the form of instructions.

But as the journey unfolded, some of these goals began to shift and change. In addition, newer ones emerged as the result of simply doing the trip day after day. These newer, unofficial goals are what I'm calling “sub-goals.”

Sub-goals originate after a project has started. They come from doing the real work of the project. On-the-ground leaders may form them, though so too can the followers who do the heavy lifting day in and day out. In addition, you can blend the two–leaders can develop sub-goals for their followers as a product of observing what goes on in execution of the original plan.

An example from Lewis and Clark: while spending the first winter of the project with the Mandan Indians, the followers of Lewis and Clark developed the sub-goal of wanting to enjoy themselves with accommodating women from the Mandan village. That enjoyment became an important aspect of the winter's passage. It became part of the issue of morale–when were sexual relations a vital part of improving morale, and when were they damaging to morale.

Sub-goals can become entangled with official or formal goals.

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