As the swim season comes to a close after six months of intense training and meets, it is time to evaluate our success. Success in swimming can be measured on a variety of levels: the number of meets won, the number of individual best times, the number of people that qualified for NCAA’s, the number of records broken, etc. Though each a sufficient method, evaluating success based on team and individual goals is an easy way that encompasses many of the fore stated quantitative results as well as other non-measurable aspects of the sport.
At the start of each season the women’s team captains arrange a meeting in which we discuss our aspirations and objectives for the season.
This year our team goals included:
1. Beat Navy in the dual meet
2. Get to know each other as more than just teammates
3. Be supportive and positive at practice and meets
4. Have at least a 3.4 team cumulative GPA
5. Score more points at Patriots this year than last year
And my individual goals were:
1. Break the 200 free school record
2. Go faster than 52.0 in the 100 free
3. Make Dean’s List
4. Final in all of my events at Patriots
The goals of our organization can best be understood using a Natural System approach. Whetten and Godfrey, two natural system analysts, emphasize the cathectic properties of goals. “Goals serve as a source of identification and motivation for participants.” (p. 184 Organizations and Organizing) The goals we proposed at the start of the season were used to keep us on track when the season seemed long and drawn out. Although some of them are ambiguous, #2 and #3, vague and general goals are adequate for motivational purposes according to Scott and Davis. Teamwork and cooperation were essential in making sure our goals were attained during the season. Though our goals were imposed by our captains it was the team as a whole that was able to achieve our goals. This is exemplary of Chester Barnard’s Cooperative System. Barnard emphasized that “organizations rely on the willingness of participants to make contributions.” (p. 70)
And now for the evaluation. Our team was unable to defeat Navy in the dual meet earlier this season. We lost 157-138. Though we weren’t able to beat Navy, we had the most successful dual meet season that Bucknell has had in over ten years. We were 7 and 3 overall and defeated two teams that we lost to last year, Boston College and Duquesne. Our second and third goals were intangible but I would argue we achieved them. The atmosphere on deck was different this year than in previous years. Everyone showed up early for practice to chat for awhile before we had to dive in and during meets we were always on our feet supporting each other. Our team GPA was not as high as we had hoped, our average was 3.27. Finally we were able to score 12 more points at the championship meet this year than last. Individually, I was accomplished each of my goals except I did not final in my third individual event at Patriots.
So, were we successful? I would argue we were. The Navy dual meet was a stretch for us, so this loss was disappointing but not devastating. Our team GPA was more of a let down. We are student athletes and it is very important for our team to continue to excel in the classroom and in the pool. I gauged our success on unexpected events that we were able to do. As a team we re-wrote the record board. Of the eighteen swimming school records, we broke fourteen of them.
Do you think an organization can be successful without achieving each of its stated goals and should these goals be specifically determined more or less important when originated?