JS Tip 39: From the Training the Workforce Workshops: Guarding Your Credibility

Last week we offered a tip on planning. We wanted to include a study on the effects of goal setting. We did some research and found this account: 

A 1953 study of Yale University graduates demonstrated that people’s goals make a big difference in their ability to tap their personal resources. The graduates were asked if they had a written set of goals. Only three percent had.

Twenty years later, the researchers interviewed the same graduates. The three percent with the written goals were worth more in financial terms than the other 97 percent combined.

Powerful, huh?

Quoted by some of the best: Anthony Robbins. Zig Ziglar. Brian Tracy.   

Unfortunately, it’s bogus. It never happened. It’s an urban legend.

Consider this statement from Yale Business Answers Now at the Yale Library:

It has been determined that no “goals study” of the Class of 1953 actually occurred. . . . The secretary of the Class of 1953, who had served in that capacity for many years, did not know of the study, nor did any of the fellow class members he questioned. . . . There was no relevant record, nor did anyone recall the purported study of the Class of 1953, or any other class.

We learned the story was bogus about four hours before we published. We scrambled to develop a new tip.

So what’s the point of this week’s tip? Be careful. Check your sources. Use the internet and check for urban legends. Guard your credibility.

Oh . . . and Happy New Year!