Hope Theory and goals at work

If you’re a Team Manager, Director or Executive with an increasing number of conflicting objectives, projects and tasks landing on your desk then you need the theory of hope in your kit bag. In positive psychology, Hope theory can help us all score more goals at work…and in other aspects of our life too.

Identifying goals and ways to achieve them

Taking time to identify goals, elevating willpower and developing options, or pathways, to achieving your goals is present-centred and future oriented; helping you and your team to make progress and unblock the pathways to achieving results.

So what does the theory of hope tell us about goals? The research shows us that goals are made up of three elements, two you are probably familiar with and one which may be new to you
1. The vision. Described in clear language with specific measures, priority and a timescale.
2. Willpower. Also referenced as agency thinking this is the desire to take action and belief that I / We can…
3. Waypower (the new word). Also referenced as pathways. How many ways are there of achieving our goal. Having options allows you to cope with barriers and delays and promote a new pathway in the event of a derailment of plan A.

How to develop each element

Here are some ways to develop each element:
Goal / Vision:
• Increase mindfulness about important decisions regarding goals
• Make goals that extend you just a little bit further than you’ve been before
• Build goals in clusters: Personal, Professional, Relationships etc..
• Emphasis on the top three goals first and take action every day
• Set signpost markers to define achievements and progress
• If the goal is imperative …turn off email for an hour

Willpower / Agency:
• Positivity and willpower can be increased … attend to the voice that says “I Can…”
• Plan for foreseeable barriers and take avoiding action now
• Share and remember your prior achievements …what made that achievement possible
• Enjoy the journey and the people you travel with as much as the destination
• Take care of your body, eat well, rest, move and be prepared for when opportunity to progress your goal arises

Waypower / Pathways:
• Make several pathways for each of your goals, create options by discussing with someone
• Which pathway is most likely to succeed…take that one first
• Each journey starts with a first step…take one today
• If a path gets blocked consider your other options…are these now the easiest option
• Look to those who have already made the journey and seek advice and guidance for your journey

Practicing hope theory in any organisation

Finally, one last point which can be easily practiced in any organisation. Ask yourself “who is the most hopeful person we know?” Spending time, even moments, with high hope people is proven to develop goal vision, willpower and waypower…and it’s free, something we all have budget for.
Good luck and score some goals for your organisation! www.deanweller.co.uk

Snyder, C.R. (2000) Handbook of Hope: Theory, Measures and Application. Academic Press


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