As a year ends, or a new one begins, it’s not uncommon for sales team members to go through an exercise of analyzing their respective territories and creating a sales plan for the coming fiscal year. It’s something sales professionals are accustomed to. Even if they work in an industry where it is difficult to analyze the potential achievements for the coming year, they’re still expected to set goals…and then expected to reach them. Conventional wisdom on goal setting says to then share those goals so that others can help you achieve them.

But things change based on research, science and technology. It used to be thought that the world was flat (until Columbus changed that thinking). It used to be thought that the sun and all the planets revolved around the earth (until Copernicus changed that thinking).  It used to be thought that women had fewer teeth than men (until someone finally counted).  In sales, it used to be thought that more phone calls would translate to more appointments which would translate to more sales  – and then along comes technology, and voice mail, email, texting, Internet marketing and social media create the system to change the paradigm.

Similarly, if sharing goals actually helped to achieve them, then why don’t we reach our goals every year?  Such a question is particularly appropriate at this time of year, since most new year’s resolutions are dashed less than a month after they’re made.

The reason deals with research that’s been recently done regarding brain function, discovering an interesting phenomenon.  Once a person formulates a goal, and then shares it with others, the brain makes connections that makes it believe that the goal is “en route” to being achieved, which makes it less likely for the one who set the goal to achieve it.  Just as the journey of 10,000 steps begins with the first step, once that step is taken, a sense of accomplishment is achieved. This is why, according to Jack Dixon, “If you focus on results, you will never change. If you focus on change, you will get results.”

Since these “Tetrahedronics” articles are all about Systems Thinking, James Clear, the author of the best-seller “Atomic Habits,” has suggested that for real change, don’t set goals.  Instead, Clear presents some compelling reasons to focus on “the system” instead.  I encourage you to read the article by visiting and consider it as new thinking for the new year.

You can also connect to James Clear’s Web site at  I especially like his comment, “Art is healthy, and creating more can save your life.”

In the words of J. W. Marriott, “The devil is in the details, but success is in the system.”

© Michael V. Ziemski, SchoolAdvancement, 2012-2023