Interpreting and Using Your Goal Orientation Index Data

    The key issue in our being able to get anything done at all involves our personal energy use.  Everything we do involves our personal energy.  We don’t do anything  that does not involve our personal energy. Because of that, having a way to think about our personal energy that acts as a personal resource that is vitally involved in what we do and who we become could be quite valuable.  It is important for three reasons:

    1) Our use of our personal energy goes on minute-by-minute whether we are aware of it or not.  The work is being done by our brain as it directs our ACTING (moving from activity to activity with grace and style).

    2) The amount of our energy reserve is something that we might want to be concerned about.  It is not a good idea to be operating one’s life on an energy reserve that is close to empty. We are in charge of filling the gas tank when the gauge tells us that it time to do it. We need strong PLANNING skills to insure that we have the capacity to do what we want to do.

    3) There are some steps we can take to be sure that we are getting the best “bang for our buck” in the way we use our energy on a daily basis. Knowing and practicing some simple life skills associated with three major life skill areas:  ACTING. PLANNING and REFLECTING (taking the time to think about what actually is going on in our lives or in the world around us) will enable us to “power our potential” and make the best use of the energy that we have available.


    For those of you reading this article who have taken the Goal Orientation Index, you will have in front of you a Grid on which you have constructed a profile of your Goal Accomplishment Style.  Take a look at your Grid. The profile, represented by a line you have drawn on the Grid, helps you to see your relative strengths in the three important life skill categories of Acting, Planning and Reflecting.  (See Figure 1.)


    If you have not taken the Goal Orientation Index, but would like to, check out the Opportunities link on this website.


    ACTING Life Skill Category

    Some people are very strong in their capacity to Act.  They are able to get started right away, and their energy is ready-to-go on an as-needed basis.  Four goal-oriented behavior life skills are measured by the GOI within the ACTING life skill category:  Make it HappenWrap It Up! (Finish what you start); Push On (Don’t procrastinate) and Select Strategy (Be decisive, Make up your mind, Decide how you are going to accomplish your goal).


    ACTING encompasses the behaviors of individuals who engage in intentional achievement, i.e.: the conscious choice to focus one’s energy in a pre-determined direction. Nothing is accomplished if we do not direct our personal energy into the doing of it. Becoming an Intentional Achiever involves practicing the use of vectored energy, i.e.: personal energy that has direction and magnitude. (Atman, 1987)


    But having adequate energy to do the work may not be sufficient when it comes to making things happen well.  Sometimes “doers” find themselves in trouble – not because they do not have the energy to “do it” – but because they did not plan ahead.  They forgot to provide enough time or resources to accomplish the entire piece of work.  They did not set a clear goal so they did not begin with the outcome in mind.  Just because there was energy present did not mean that it was well-focused. They forgot to PLAN.


    PLANNING Life Skill Category

    Looking at your Goal Accomplishment Style profile data, you will see that PLANNING is a life skill category that is multi-faceted.  Four goal-oriented life skills are measured by the GOI in this category:  Set goals; Recognize needs, problems, challenges and opportunities; Purpose (Set long range goals) and Organize.


    To begin with, PLANNING involves making use of both long and short term goals.  To get where  you want to go, you must have the destination clearly in mind.  This can apply to your hosting a party; or it can apply to your making a change in your career.


    In order to PLAN well, you must be aware of what is going on around you:  you must recognize needs, problems, challenges and opportunities.  Our brains are selective in what we “see.”  In order to see an opportunity, for example, we must have our radar scopes alerted for new information that may impact what we have begun to perceive to be a challenge or a problem. Maximizing our potential, or “becoming who we are meant to be,” draws on creative fight-brain thinking as well as left-brain analytic thought.


    Essentially, planning is our capacity 1) to integrate what we want to do (our goal) with 2) what we know (our mental resources) and, after considering our options, 3)  to determine the steps we need to take to reach the goal. The steps then need to be worked into a meaningful sequence of events that fit in a feasible time-frame. On the Grid, this last sentence is captured in Category 7, Organize. Clearly developed planning skills save us time, energy – and sometimes money. Without well-focused planning skills, we can waste time rushing up dead-end streets, becoming distracted, or simply losing our way.  How sad!


    REFLECTING Life Skill Category

    REFLECTING, the third and final life skill category related to goal accomplishment, is a collection of four life skills that, while seemingly unrelated, draw on the same source: our imagination.  The four life skills measured by the GOI include:  GET YOUR ACT IN GEAR (Visualize); Brainstorm Alternativdes; Ooo & Ah! (Evaluate) and Assess risks. With our imagination, we can see in our mind’s eye how things might be (visualize), think of options (brainstorm alternatives), evaluate how things are and, at the same time, see how they might be different/modified/improved. Finally, with our imagination, we are able to assess risks.  Entrepreneurs, those people who can dream up new enterprises and succeed, are well known for their risk-taking capacity.  Look again.  Entrepreneurs take risks when they know that the time is right or the reward outweighs the risk.


    Now, take a look at the “drift” of your Goal Accomplishment Style Profile line.  Is your line fairly stable at the 30 point mark across the twelve life skill elements? (Find the number 30 on the left and right sides of the Grid and look at where you positioned your dots when you recorded your data). A profile line is “in balance” across the twelve life skills identified at the bottom of the Grid when the dots you placed on the Grid for each of the 12 skills are almost at the same numerical level.  A dot placement that is “level” indicates that you pay equal attention to and demonstrate behaviors associated with each of the skills on a consistent basis.  “Usually” indicates that the behavior is practiced more often than “frequently” but not as often as “almost always.”


    A goal accomplishment style profile may be generally consistent, or it may appear as a mountain range of behaviors across the grid.  If your profile contains some high and low dots. don’t be worried. Identify one of the behaviors represented by a dot and think about what you might do if you wanted a different result.  This is the first step in changing how you go about doing things.


    A bit of history

    You will notice that the solid line printed on the GRID “falls off” as the line approaches the right side of the Grid. This indicates that the 1116 American adults who took the Goal Orientation Index in 1986 were not as strong in REFLECTING as they were in ACTING. In fact, there was a significant difference between the scores in those two broad life skill categories.


    Why is this important?  Because, if you want to release the power of your potential, the energy that you have ready and waiting to be applied to accomplishing a goal you have set for yourself, you can be confident that ACTING, PLANNING and REFLECTING are three distinct life skill categories and that each of the areas will make an important contribution to the whole and integrity of your success.


    Take a look at your profile.  How many of your life skill indicators (the dots that represent your scores on the Goal Orientation Index) fall below the number, 22, on the left and right sides of the Grid? A score of 22 or below suggests that you frequently may make use of that life skill, but not usually.  We accomplish what we DO by focusing our energy and using it productively. Being inconsistent in our DOING will bring inconsistent results in our accomplishment.


    What can you do about the problem of being inconsistent? You can become aware of your pattern(s) and intentionally choose to change them. Begin with just one life skill area.  Think of options, Make a plan to try out one of the options. Commit to DOING what you have planned for a week. Then evaluate your results.  Are you pleased with the results?  What worked?  What was a problem?


    These are the types of questions and this is the mindset that will move you toward becoming an Intentional Achiever.



    Your goal accomplishment style profile has provided you with information that can be useful if you want to use your personal energy in new creative and productive ways. You can select a life skill area that needs some work and identify a life skill that will contribute to your accomplishing a goal that you set for yourself. Using this approach, you are on the road to becoming an Intentional Achiever!


    This journey is easier than you think! It begins with taking one step at a time. Turn the curiosity that led you to take the GOI toward consciously focusing your energy on one task at a time and accomplishing it.  Bringing energy focusing to a conscious level of awareness is an important step in the process. Soon you will see that your focused energy is working for you.


    Best wishes as you practice becoming an Intentional Achiever!

    I have confidence that you will experience the fun of goal-directed striving and that you will be very proud of your goal accomplishments.

    Have a great time “doing” well and becoming the person you are meant to be!


    Kay Atman  May, 2014

    Copyright © 2014 Kathryn S. Atman, Ph. D.

    Last Updated (Monday, 19 May 2014 13:24)