Answer the questions in the template in comprehensive, complete sentences. Do not provide brief answers. Instead, compose at least 4-5 full sentences (I.e., a full paragraph) that answer each of the posed questions.
Please remember that your task is to not only write your own assessment, but to show that you are able to draw connections between your readings and your reflection. Use concepts and theories from the appropriate chapters, explain your understanding of their application, and show how they help you understand yourself. Do not forget to tie each answer to personal and professional communication effectiveness. Finally, remember to cite properly in-text (Author, YEAR) and at the end of your reflection with a fully formatted APA reference.
The Social Mirror Assignment
1. Explain the meaning of social mirror referring to your textbook and interpreting using your own words. Next, apply to yourself and explore what others would say about you that is generally positive. Why do they see you in this way? (use specific examples). Connect the concept to these reactions and explain how that relates to both inter and intrapersonal communication.
2. Explain the Johari Window referring to your textbook and interpreting using your own words. Next, explain what falls within the “Blind” area and consider how you might find out your blind area. What “constructive suggestions” would others offer to help you improve or change and why? What relevance does that have to your communication as a professional?
3. Explain the meaning of personality and its relationship with interpersonal communication referring to your textbook and interpreting using your own words. Thinking about that explanation, what do you most like about yourself and how does it help you communicate with others? Consider taking The Enneagram Personality Test to help you reflect on this question and be sure to integrate the findings into your response:
4. Explain what you learned about the process of self-analysis from your textbook. Next, examine what you most dislike in yourself and would like to change. Why do you want to change or how does it affect you negatively (use specific examples)? Finish by assessing the implications of these changes to your professional and personal communication.
5. Explain self-awareness and the processes that might be employed to develop our self-concept (remember to refer to your textbook interpreting what you learned). Next, examine self-beliefs that limit you and explain how that happens (use specific examples). Finish by assessing the implications of these limitations to your professional success.
6. Thinking back to question 5, elaborate on how these beliefs might have been created or influenced by your social mirror. Be sure to think back to various communication encounters or messages that have been imprinted and use these as examples to support your explanation.
7. Since it is possible – perhaps even likely – that these weaknesses or limitations are more imagined than real, what could you do to turn them into strengths? Use your assigned readings and seek additional scholarly sources to identify a few research-proven strategies that might be helpful.
8. Explain the meaning and significance of self-disclosure referring to your textbook as source support. How does self-disclosure impact your personal and/or professional relationships? Next, write about who could help you make these changes or give you feedback about your progress, and how that might benefit you in the future.
9. Think back on the questions and identify a few that were more difficult to complete than others. Explain why.
10. What did you learn about yourself in this exercise?
(remember that you should cite your textbook and locate additional scholarly sources to demonstrate knowledge gained).
How do I: • Develop plans that will help me achieve my goals? • Clarify my values and decide what is really important to me? • Develop a personal mission statement? • Make progress toward my goals, especially when I hit a roadblock? • Evaluate options concerning ethical dilemmas? • Know if I am making ethical decisions?
Matthew Smith was enjoying his work as an associate at a leading consulting firm in New York. The hours didn’t bother him. As the first person from his family to attend col- lege, he was used to working hard for what he wanted in life. He had worked part time all the way through high school and college to pay for tuition, room, board, and other immediate expenses. Now in his third year, he was contemplating his next career step. Most of Matthew’s friends had moved on to graduate business school, but his boss had convinced him to stay on. With all the excitement over “new economy” growth clients, there was plenty of interesting work to go around. He was traveling overseas frequently, had a good set of friends, had a partner, and was enjoying his current situation. So what was troubling him? In the back of his mind Matthew realized he wasn’t sure what he should do next. For possibly the first time in his life he didn’t have to focus single-mindedly on one goal, such as paying for college. He now had multiple priorities in which he was interested. But he didn’t have a clue as to how to start making plans to attain any one of them. Besides, he thought, “I’m always working, anyway. How would I have time to even think of anything else? So it doesn’t really matter that I’m not sure where I’m headed.” Or does it?
1. What are the issues Matthew is facing?
2. Should Matthew follow the rest of his friends to graduate business school?
3. Why is it difficult for him to set new priorities for himself ?
4. What advice would you offer Matthew?
Establishing Goals Consistent with Your Values and Ethics
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5. How can Matthew set new goals and work toward them while fulfilling his obliga- tions to his present position?
“If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll probably end up someplace else.”1
Yogi Berra—professional baseball catcher, manager, and coach
A goal is a level of proficiency or standard of behavior we wish to attain within a specified period of time.2 If you don’t have a plan to direct your life, where will you end up? Effective goal setting gives you direction and purpose while provid-
ing a standard against which to measure your performance. Having goals also allows individuals and organizations to have a clear understanding of what they are trying to accomplish. This chapter describes personal goal setting and values clarification: what goals and values are, the benefits of being aware of your goals and values, and how to improve your ability to set meaningful and ethical goals that are aligned with your core values. We also address the role ethics plays in making ethical decisions that are aligned with your personal and organizational goals. At the end of the chapter are a number of exercises that enable you to assess your goal-setting skills and your use of ethical guidelines in decision making, and help you to develop improvement plans.
What Is Goal Setting? Goals affect action.3 Goal setting is a way of identifying your work/life priorities and developing strategies for attaining personal and professional objectives. Consider the lives of successful people. Do they seem to have a strong commitment to their plans? Are they organized, efficient, confident, well prepared? Likely you found that most if not all of these words apply to the successful people you considered. Successful individ- uals and organizations have learned the key to achieving meaningful results is through effective goal setting.
For example, Steve Jobs had an interest in electronics, got a summer job with Hewlett Packard when he was 13, and co-founded Apple at age 21. Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft, had an early interest in software and began programming computers at the age of 13. At age 19, Gates founded Microsoft with childhood friend Paul Allen to develop software for the newly emerging personal computer market. Justin Timberlake, singer, songwriter, actor, and record producer, was inspired as a youth to become a per- former. He went on to earn numerous awards, including 10 Grammys and 4 Emmys. Early in her career Oprah Winfrey discovered she had a gift for communicating. And many winners on The Voice knew at a young age they wanted to perform on stage.
Contrast these goal setters with those who are unable or unwilling to set goals and achieve them. Consider people you know who seem to set goals frequently but never attain them. Are they realistic about what they can achieve? Do they have the required resources to attain their goals (e.g., time, money, or support from others)? Do they have the necessary capabilities, training, and education? Chances are they may not have one or more of these resources that are so important to success.
It has long been recognized that goal setting is an important component within the self- management or self-leadership concept we discuss in Chapter 4. Those who are most suc- cessful in business monitor their thoughts and actions, and are attuned to their personal and professional goals. For example, in a study of 15 dimensions across 62 cultures, it was found that Chinese employees had scores higher than average on traits related to goal setting such as performance orientation and uncertainty avoidance.4 Pursuing achievement goals that agree with one’s personal values is important across cultures.5
Why Is Goal Setting Important?
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The goal-setting process has several benefits:
■ Results orientation—Many employees cite being able to use their skills and abilities and achieving results in their job as key factors related to their happiness at work.6
■ Purpose/direction—Establishing written goals can formalize your dreams and wishes. Through the process of careful examination and self-analysis, you can begin to understand what you want to achieve. Goal setting defines the destination point while providing the map to lead you there. Writing goal statements and developing an action plan gives your life purpose and direction. These statements provide you with short-term motivation and long-term vision. Whether or not you are aware of your goals or strategies, they are affecting your life’s direction. Once you bring them into consciousness and formalize them, you can guide your life more strategically.
■ Motivation—Goal setting can help you to build internal momentum. Through goal set- ting, you can direct your actions toward fulfilling your dreams and ambitions. Usually this process starts by setting incremental steps to achieving a goal. If you want to run a marathon, you start your training by running short distances and increase them over time. Momentum begins to build as soon as you set your goal, and con- tinues as you take steps toward achieving it. To borrow from Sir Isaac Newton’s (1642–1727) first law of motion, a person who sets goals becomes an object in motion that remains in motion. Directing your life toward fulfilling dreams motivates you to achieve continual success.
■ Productivity—Goal setting can give you a way to measure your success. Systematically setting goals provides balance and perspective to your decisions about how to allo- cate your time and resources. Having a clear plan of action greatly focuses your expenditure of time, money, and energy. Goal setting boosts performance to a higher level and helps in overcoming challenges. Up to a point, performance also increases with the level of goal difficulty, provided the individual working to attain the goal is committed to achieving it.7
■ Cross-cultural adjustment—Goal-setting behaviors can assist in acclimating to new cul- tures.8 Goals affect the direction, intensity, and persistence of our efforts. In the cross-cultural adjustment process, students who set high goals are more likely to maintain their focus and minimize distractions, giving them a better chance of being successful in their chosen activities.
The approach you use to set goals greatly affects your ability to succeed. A few core behaviors underpin most successful goal-setting efforts:
Key Behaviors for Effective Goal Setting
Goals should be specific, measurable, and realistic; goals should be compatible with one another to minimize conflict; and realistic prioritizing of goals will lead to success.9 Be honest with yourself about your skills and abilities and in evaluating all related conditions needed to attain your goals. You can only influence or change things over which you have control. Understand that there will be setbacks. Continually search for means to overcome obstacles and secure all necessary resources.
■ Challenge yourself—The more you challenge yourself or your team, the more produc- tive you and your team will be. The goals you set should not be out of reach, but more challenging goals can inspire and motivate people, whereas lesser goals that are too easy or mundane may get the job done, but at a lower level than would have occurred with a more compelling set of goals.10
■ Be positive—We face obstacles and challenges in everything we do. The ability to persevere in the face of adversity is a key success factor in goal setting. Adopting an
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optimistic “can-do” attitude can give you the boost to continue the uphill climb. It is also helpful to describe goals in a positive tone; focus on achieving a positive rather than trying to eliminate a negative. For example, say, “I want to master this new version of a software program” rather than saying, “I need to improve my computer skills.”
■ Start small—Begin with smaller, simpler, more manageable goals. Successfully com- pleting small goals will build confidence and create momentum toward future goal- setting behavior. Setting incremental benchmarks for marking your progress will make broader, long-term goals seem attainable.
■ Take full responsibility—Even though you may need to solicit the help and support of others, you are in control of your actions. Set your goals with the understanding that you have the power to direct your energy toward personal productivity.
■ Persevere—Completing a goal requires the ability to maintain strong forward motion. Perseverance is essential for successfully reaching every goal you want to achieve.
There are a number of online tools for tracking goals. Try one or more of these:
Way of Life: http://wayoflifeapp.com
“Success is not measured by those who fought and never fell, but by those who fought, fell, and rose again.”
To determine what goals you want to achieve, start by clarifying your own values, those things in life that are most meaningful to you. Once you determine your values and why they are important to you, you can then work on a plan for achieving your goals.
Values are concepts or beliefs about desirable outcomes that transcend specific situa- tions and guide your selection or evaluation of behaviors and events.11 Our individual set of values is a result of learning and personal experiences. Values are influenced by family, friends, peers, religious beliefs, community, and even the organizations with which we are associated. Many of our values are deeply set, and we make decisions or judgments without consciously reflecting on their source. Values can become a matter of habit.
A value is “an enduring belief that a specific mode of conduct . . . is personally or socially preferable to an opposite or converse mode of conduct. . . .”12 In other words, we work toward what we value—and our values guide our behavior. There are two types of values: instrumental and terminal.13
■ Instrumental values are the “how’s” of goal setting—the standards of behavior by which we achieve desired ends. Courage, honesty, compassion, and love are exam- ples of instrumental values.
■ Terminal values are the “what’s”—the end states or goals that we would like to achieve during our lifetime. Such values include a happy family life, career success, wisdom, salvation, prosperity, or sense of accomplishment.
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Personal values are also tangible and intangible.
■ Tangible values are things you can see, feel, or hold, including the kind of car you want to drive, the level of income you want to have, and the size of the house you want to own. Tangible values consist of the material things you want to possess.
■ Intangible values are concepts rather than things. Freedom, independence, happiness, friendship, and love are intangible values and can be defined differently for each per- son. Intangible values consist of ideals you wish to strive toward or pursue.
Identifying your values will help you answer the question, “What do I want to achieve with my life?” How can you begin your career planning process without knowing your life- style preferences or having a clear sense of what values provide you with the most motiva- tion? One survey showed over half of the MBAs queried “would not work for a tobacco company for ethical, social, and political reasons.”14 Your values can have a direct effect on your behaviors, attitudes, and decisions. Setting and achieving goals that are congruent with your values will lead to increased satisfaction and positive personal feelings.
Clarifying values is also important for organizations. Positive outcomes result when employees’ values are aligned with the values of their organization.15 Individuals draw from their values to guide their decisions and actions, and organizational value systems provide norms that specify how organizational members should behave and how organi- zational resources should be allocated. Communication, trust, and job satisfaction are all affected positively when employee and employer values align.
How to Clarify Your Values
■ List the primary experiences you have had to date. What about these experiences was meaningful or important to you?
■ What accomplishments are you the most proud of? What do these represent to you?
■ If you had to evacuate due to a life-threatening tornado, which possessions would you bring with you?
■ What’s important for you to have in your current or next professional situation? ■ What qualities do you bring to—and expect in—your relationships with others? ■ What is your personal definition of happiness? See Exercise 3–A for an activity that will help you to assess your current and projected values.
After you have determined your values and understand why they are important to you, you can then incorporate them into a plan for achieving your goals. For example, Matthew, in our case study, might write down some of the things that are important to him. These might include continued learning, spending time with family and friends, and being secure financially. This might explain why going to graduate school has not been his uppermost priority. He might be concerned about having to borrow money to pay the tuition, or about the time it would cause him to spend away from friends and family.
Take a minute and write your definition of personal satisfaction. What are the behaviors you’ll use to achieve this satisfaction? What will bring you enjoyment or fulfillment? Is this short term or long term? Which values are terminal, the things you must have accomplished? Which aspects of satisfaction are derived from your instrumental values? What aspects are tangible or intangible? Now write your definition of success. What will you need to accomplish or attain in order to say you are a success in your life? Set these definitions aside for later reflection.
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Goals should be a direct reflection of your values, aspirations, and life mission. Devel- oping personal goals based on your personal values begins with creating written goal statements. Written goal statements are the aims or the targets you want to achieve. These goal statements deal with various aspects of your life such as career, social, well- ness, community, spirituality, relationships, job/career, family, personal, financial, and so on. Objectives or an action plan should accompany every goal statement. The plan should specify the steps needed or means for reaching your ends. For instance, in our case example Matthew could have as a goal “To achieve the level of vice president within the next two years.” His action plan could include talking with his boss about potential career options within the firm, taking extra courses at night to develop the technical skills needed to advance, and networking with several alumni from his college who work at the firm who are in senior positions to gain their support and advice.
One system used successfully by managers and others who wish to incorporate goal- setting principles into their lives is the “SMART” system. SMART refers to a goal that is specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and has a time frame.16 By ensuring your goal statements are SMART, you create a system for managing action steps and increase the likelihood that these goals will be attained. Use this approach as a check- list for writing your goal statements and action plan.
Writing Effective Goals
“SMART” Goal Writing
■ Specific—Write your goals, including as many details as possible, leaving no room for misinterpretation. Say “I want to lose 10 pounds,” or “lower my cholesterol by 20 points,” or “increase our sales by 10 percent.” Loose, broad, or vague goals are not desirable. When goals are specific, it is much easier to hold someone accountable for the achievement.17 An employee who establishes career goals is likely to advance his or her career, especially if the goals are specific, challeng- ing, and accompanied by regular feedback on progress toward the goals.18
■ Measurable—Provide a means to measure your progress, a way to measure actual performance against desired performance standards. Set up checkpoints to evaluate your progress from the time you start to the time you expect to attain your goal. Write your goals in quantifiable terms to determine to what extent you completed each goal and fulfilled each objective. For example, “I will write one essay per week to improve my writing skills.”
■ Attainable/believable—Set an actionable, believable goal. In addition to being fully dedicated, you also need the resources and capabilities required for attaining a goal. Goals that are believable have a much higher probability of success. Make sure you have secured all necessary resources and that you anticipate and develop a strategy for dealing with any obstacles that could bar your success. For example, say “I will raise my GPA from 2.5 to 3.0. To do this I will get tested at the Learning Center to see if I have a learning disability.”
■ Realistic/achievable—Write your goals with consideration for your capabilities and limitations. A goal should be challenging enough that you stretch your abilities to gain attainment, but not so difficult that it is impossible to fulfill. Goal-setting theory suggests that specific and challenging goals result in a higher performance than moderate or easily attainable goals, vague goals, or no goals at all.19 Goals should also have realistic deadlines. Closely tied to the notion of realistic goals is the aspect of control. Only set goals that are within your means to achieve. Say, “I will contact 10 percent more potential clients this week than usual,” rather than “I will sell 10 percent more than usual this week.” The former statement reflects things that are within your control as well as realistic. The latter reflects a desire about something that may not be totally within your control.
■ Time bound—Develop a specific deadline for meeting each of your goals; otherwise they will remain dreams and never become reality. Setting a deadline creates a commitment to begin and pursue a goal until it is attained. Saying “I’d like to lose 10 pounds” is specific, measurable, and realistic, but without a target date for com- pletion, you might find yourself continuously repeating “I’ll start my diet tomorrow.”
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Another important criterion that can be added to SMART goals is to make sure the goal is yours. Personal goals are just that, personal. You will be less likely to accept and complete goals that someone else gives you.20 Your goals should reflect your values, aspi- rations, and mission, not someone else’s such as those of your friends, parents, or room- mates. If you are pursuing an accounting degree because a parent believes it’s a good solid career, yet you just don’t see yourself as an accountant, you may want to reevaluate this goal. You are more likely to stick with and attain goals you desire than goals set for you by others. Likewise, when you are in a position to influence others such as subordi- nates or children, encourage them, but let them set their own goals. When individuals set their own goals, they have a greater amount of well-being, commitment, job satisfac- tion, and organizational commitment, resulting in higher performance and productivity.21
There are several strategic steps you can take to overcome potential pitfalls while ensur- ing progress toward achieving your goals.
1. Visualize the outcome—Imagine being at the completion point of your goal. State your goals as if it is definite you will accomplish them. Say things such as, “When I have paid off my car,” not “if I have paid off my car.” Positive self-talk will reinforce your belief in your ability to achieve your dreams.
2. Strive for performance, not outcomes—Throughout the process, you should strive to give 100 percent effort and to perform to the best of your ability. This will allow you to feel confident and proud of your smaller accomplishments. Ryan Seacrest, a successful radio and TV host and producer, says he has always focused on creating the best programs possible, making sure the performers shine; money and success resulted as a by-product.
3. Develop a support network—Determine the resources that will be necessary for you to achieve your goals. Obtain support and commitment from individuals who will be essential in ensuring your success. Associate with people who will support you in attaining your goals. If someone in your network is hindering your ability to accom- plish your goals, reevaluate whether continued association with this person is desirable.
4. Limit the number—Focus on a limited number of goals at a time. Having too many goals will only drain your resources and reduce the potency of your efforts. One way to do this is to focus on those goals that relate to your key roles at a point in time. Another way to do this is to create a master plan—a three- or five-year plan—in which you map out the pursuit of specific goals according to your personal and pro- fessional mission.
5. Allow for setbacks—We are all human. If you get sidetracked or make a mistake while trying to accomplish your goal, forgive yourself and get back to your plan. If you do not move on, you will never accomplish your goals. When experiencing a setback, it may be an appropriate time to tap into your support network. Let’s say you are mid- way in achieving your goal to quit smoking over a three-month period when your favorite uncle is diagnosed with a terminal illness. You might find it difficult to cope with this tragedy without returning to your pack-a-day habit. At this point, you might choose to reevaluate and adjust your goal; you might also seek friends, relatives, or medical or counseling assistance to help you get through this crisis.
Some goals may be unattainable within a compressed time frame, yet possible within a longer time frame. In fact, when setting goals that span a longer time horizon, it is best to establish incremental time frames to make long-term timeliness more manageable and acceptable. Plan a schedule or time frame for goal completion that is sufficient to allow you to achieve the goal, and at the same time not allowing for so much slack time that you lose interest or focus.
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6. Be honest with yourself—Evaluate objectively how well you accomplish your goals and objectives. The only way you can improve is to understand what you did wrong and focus on how you can change. Ask yourself, “Why did my last semester go so badly?” or “Why did that project go over budget?” You might answer yourself, “Poor study habits, lack of time or discipline, lack of oversight, or lack of priorities.”
7. Reward small accomplishments—Once you have reached an incremental, objective step or milestone, provide yourself with a reward. Celebrating your continual accomplish- ments will help to maintain your optimism and belief in your abilities while refueling your commitment and motivation to goal achievement.
8. Don’t lose sight of the big picture—Make a habit of reviewing your goals on a daily basis. Use positive self-talk to reinforce your beliefs and reiterate the purpose behind your actions. Remain flexible yet diligent. Allow for necessary changes and restructure as needed while still working toward the ultimate end. Understand how everything you do facilitates your ability to complete your goal.
Revisit the Process
Goal setting is not a one-time action; it is an ongoing process. Your values, roles, and dreams may change. Your resources may need to be reevaluated, or you may need to make adjustments to overcome unforeseen obstacles. Goals should remain fluid, enabling you to plan, react, and adapt to changing circumstances as needed.
9. Consider your ethics—In developing your goals, consider your and your organization’s ethical standards. You will want to have a deep understanding of your personal beliefs and principles. You can do this by clarifying your values as described and taking these into consideration in all of your personal and job-related activities and interactions. As an employee and manager, be aware of ethical norms as you and your team develop and execute strategic and tactical plans. Involve your employees in corporate planning and goal-setting sessions that include discussions of ethics and social responsibility.22
What Are Ethics? The word ethics comes from the Greek word ethos, which refers to the moral character of a group or organization.23 Ethics involves moral principles that people use to guide their behavior by separating right from wrong.24 Business ethics involves issues of morality in the sphere of business organizations, including both normative and behav- ioral approaches.25 Many complicating factors make it a challenge to establish, monitor, and maintain ethical behavior in organizations.26 The difficulty with ethics and the goals we set is that the situations we face as managers are seldom black and white, enabling a clear understanding of which answer is the best for all concerned. Each per- son has a different worldview (based on life experiences, education, family background, religious and political affiliations, perceptions, and values) that he or she brings into decision making and goal setting. Each person possesses a different ethical barometer that stems from his or her experience and background. This diversity affects the ethical decision-making and goal-setting processes, outcomes, and ramifications.
With corporate scandals continuing to surface, the ethics of individuals and organizations is coming under closer scrutiny. Increasingly, people are demanding that organizations and their employees set goals based on high ethical and moral standards. Business ethics
Why Are Ethics Important?
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