Monday, November 9, 2009

"Goal Obsession" InsideWork 52

From InsideWork 52, a very amusing study. I guess words do not always lead to action:

Marshall Goldsmith with Mark Reiter

What Got You Here Won't Get You There - How Successful People Become Even More Successful!, (p. 102), Hyperion, 2007

One of the most ironic examples of goal obsession was the "Good Samaritan" research done by Darley and Batson at Princeton in 1973. In this widely-referenced study, one group of theology students was told that they were to go across campus to deliver a sermon on the topic of the Good Samaritan. As part of the research, some of these students were told that they were late and needed to hurry up. They believed people would be waiting for them to arrive. Along the route across campus to the chapel, Darley and Batson had hired an actor to play the role of a "victim" who was coughing and suffering. Ninety percent of the late students in Princeton Theological Seminary ignored the needs of a suffering person in their haste to get across campus. As the study reports, "Indeed, on several occasions, a seminary student going to give his talk on the parable of the Good Samaritan literally stepped over the victim as he hurried on his way!"

My guess is that few, if any, of these seminary students were "bad people." ... they probably were ethical, well-meaning people who deeply believed in the value of helping others. But goal obsession clouded their judgment...

They were chasing the spotlight. They were under pressure! They were in a hurry! They had deadlines! They were going to do something that they thought was important! Other people were depending upon them!

These are the classic conditions that can lead to goal obsession.

Luke 10:29-37
The New International Version

29 But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?"

30 In reply Jesus said: "A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper. 'Look after him,' he said, 'and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.'

36 "Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?"

37 The expert in the law replied, "The one who had mercy on him."
Jesus told him, "Go and do likewise."

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