Understanding your goal and breaking it down in doable steps
Identifying the first step which gives you decisive advantage
Most important for a good change strategy, is to break down your Big Goal in doable steps. Look for the first step that will give you a decisive advantage!
How would you break down the Big Goal ‘everybody should protect Biodiversity in our nature park’ into a doable first step?
Breaking down the Big Goal of our frog
Let’s take a look at our frog and his Big Goal. He wants to go to the other side of the pond. He saw a nice frog he wants to meet. What should he do? What would be a good strategy?
Several small frog leaps make One Big Leap
The other side of the pond is too far for One Big Leap. Our frog sees the possibility of several small leaps.
If our frog only focuses on his ‘Big goal’ – he will fail. There are threats. With One Big Leap, he will be eaten by a fish or a bird.
So he needs to develop a strategy: which small leaps will make the Big Leap to the other side? And which first leap is successful for sure?
OUR CASE OF SIMONA: Finding the first doable step
Simona communicated for years: ‘Stop the threat to Biodiversity in the park Boč throughout the whole year by all visitors’. It did not lead to behavior change.
Then Simona got help from IUCN CEC, who asked:
- ‘What is the problem, what is the threat to biodiversity, what species or habitats are threatened most?
- ‘Who are causing the threat, when do they cause that threat, what behavior causes the threat?’
Camping on Natura 2000 site during May 1st celebrations
Simona was surprised by these stupid questions. Her answer was: ‘The whole park is full of biodiversity, it is under threat of all visitors during the whole year. People do not know the value of nature. They don’t understand biodiversity. That’s why they don’t respect nature. If we educate these people about the value of nature in our park, their behavior should change.’
IUCN CEC did not give up and asked Simona: ‘What behavior, by whom and when is the biggest threat?’ The answer was easy for her: ‘The beautiful and very rare Pulsatilla Grandis is the most important threatened species in the park. Most damage is done during the 1st of May celebrations when large crowds of visitors come for a few days of camping and partying on the mountain meadow, part of which is a Natura 2000 site. And in doing so they trample our rare flowering plants.’
Well done Simona! Now we have a unique possibility that can bring us a decisive advantage. We have a doable first step: Stop damage to the Pulsatilla Grandis by people who celebrate the 1st of May on Boč mountain meadows.
Why is it so important to break down your goal in realistic steps?
Sustainability change is powered by success and is blocked by failure
The secret of change is not to focus all your energy on fighting the old, but to focus on building the new (Socrates).
Leading your way to big success by starting with small success
By focusing on a realistic first small step that will give you a decisive advantage, you greatly increase chances of success. One first success will lead to new successes more easily. Only this way you can identify who can help you to reach your goal.
Know the benefits of taking a first successful step together with stakeholders:
- Built trust and understanding
- Strengthen relations
- Become a team
- Take the next successful step more easy
- Realize your Big Goal after a number of successful steps
When you focus on ‘One Big Goal’:
- The problem will be too complex to solve
- There will be too many stakeholders
- The required behavior change will be too complicated.
- There will be too many threats to cope with.
The result – failure – will damage the relations between the people involved.
Breaking down your Big Goal