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When your role needs a quest and not a path


My role has ambiguous outcomes and undefined KPIs. Everyday I go to work, I believe I got it figured only to change it the next day. Sometimes I don't know what I have achieved in a week as I lose track of what I have done due to changes. What can I do to have a sense of accomplishment at the end of the week?
                                ~ Senior Leader, Tech

When a role has clear outcomes & KPIs, the person playing the role has to define a "path" to reach the outcomes and ensure adherence.

When a role does not have defined outcomes & KPIs because the responsibility is to create a new potential/ solve a problem first time, then the job is a "quest" and not a well defined path.

In his book, Coaching from Essence, Robert Ellis talks about the key difference as below:

difference between quest and path

It is important to notice the fulfilment criteria for the leader as below:

  • In the path, there are clear goal posts and it's easy to know & measure achievement. So the feeling of fulfilment is natural.

  • In the quest, there are no clear goal posts sometimes. Even if goals could be created, achievement is hard to measure and hence fulfilment is hard to experience.

What does a leader need to do when playing such roles to feel more fulfilled?

  1. De-tag fulfilment from planned major/clear goal posts

It is difficult to plan goal posts to the 't' in case of a quest and it is important not to hinge one's fulfilment on achieving them.

Hence it is important to remember this consciously at the beginning, during and end of the day.


2. Enjoy the journey

The feeling of enjoyment comes in being part of the journey/ process of creating something the first time.

Sometimes that is the only thing that is available. Hence parking one's achievemnt orientation and enjoying the moment is important.


3. Chronicling progress

It is important to chronicle the progress you are making at least on a weekly basis so that you understand how far you have come at the end of the month.

Marking Point A is very important even though point B and means to reach there is unknown.


4. Gratitude

There is no better fulfilment generator than gratitude.

Every day, spend 1 minute finding at least 3 things to be grateful for in the day.

Writing it in a notebook before you end the day will also tell you how many things went well for you over the course of time.

How do you feel fulfilled when you are part of quests?

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