What to Do When the Goal Posts Move at Work

By Nicki Gilmour, Executive Coach and Organizational Psychologist

Recently, Fast Company published an article on unclear goals and what to do with the boss’s instructions are lacking or confusing.

As a coach, organizational psychologist, there is a piece of advice I offer everyday to my clients and it is something my own mentor told me many years ago. What is this sage wisdom? Never take a job where your responsibilities and your authority to execute (resources, power, ability) don’t align. Literally, do not accept the role of protecting the free world, if you can have the big red button to press if you need it. This analogy feels much more edgy these days than when I used to say it, which in itself is a reflective moment on whether we need a new analogy. Words matter!

So, say you take a job that you thought you were given the ability to execute on but it turns out that other people hold the resource, or the tools or the actual sign off? What do you do? You are already in the seat and the goal posts feel like they are a moving target!

It is key to explore your options and understand their potential future payoffs and consequences.

This is where good coaches can really help you.

I look forward to hearing from you since matrix organizations, company dysfunction etc means this is often much more common than we would like to believe.

Book an exploratory coaching call with Nicki here: