Setting Sober Goals

July 19, 2019. Goal-setting is important because it provides a focus for marketing activities. It can also circumvent dubious behaviour.

For this post, I draw your attention to Captain Benjamin Hornigold.

And a bizarre tale that occurred shortly before his death.

Captain Hornigold was an English pirate during the Golden Age of Piracy.

He spent most of his career attacking merchant ships with profit-orientated goals.

Later becoming a pirate hunter pursuing his former colleagues.

His crew of 350 hardened men terrorised and pillaged every non-British merchant ship they could get their hands on.

His second in command was no other than Edward Thatch, who later became known as “Blackbeard.”

In 1717, Hornigold and his crew set their sights on a merchant ship off the coast of Honduras.

Approaching the ship, Hornigold prepared to board and terrorise as he had done many times before.

Horror-struck, the merchants begged for their lives.

But the merchants, as it turned out, to their surprise, would be sparred any bloodshed.

The previous evening, Hornigold and his men got drunk onboard their ship, the Ranger.

In the drunken haze, they had thrown their hats off into the sea.

So the notorious Hornigold was attacking the merchant ship just to steal the crew members’ hats to replace theirs.

Stranger still…

After they took the merchants’ hats, Hornigold and his crew allowed them to continue with their journey.

Conversing with them in an uncharacteristic manner.

Leaving the ship’s cargo (apart from the hats on board, of course) alone.

One of the passengers explains the event:

“They did us no further injury than the taking most of our hats from us, having got drunk the night before, as they told us, and toss’d theirs overboard.”

I like this story for many reasons.

Apart from the humour element, it reminds me of goal-setting.

Goal-setting involves the development of an action plan designed to motivate and guide a person or group toward a goal.

It provides focus.

It narrows attention and directs efforts toward goal-relevant activities.

When goals are set, we will strive to reach those goals by all means and we spend less time on the things that don’t contribute towards the goals.

Setting goals increases the likelihood of producing results, like replacing lost hats.

Marketing planning follows the same approach.

Without them, we have no way of knowing if our marketing activities are worthwhile.

They ensure functional activities are consistent with corporate goals.

They provide a focus for marketing decision-making and effort.

They offer incentives and a measure of success.

And they establish priorities for marketing resources and effort.

Before any activity, therefore, the first port of call is to set goals for your marketing plan.

When a destination is agreed upon, the journey is often plain sailing.

Effective marketing goals meet the SMART criteria: Specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely.

If the goal incorporates each criteria within the SMART framework, it’s likely a good goal.

Because it’s a fool-proof way of defining such goals.

Do you have marketing, blogging or personal goals?

If not, what are you doing with your time?

When Captain Benjamin Hornigold decided to board the merchant ship for its treasure (hats), it’s likely he was still feeling the effects of alcohol.

His strategic mindset was questionable at the very least.

Leaving the ship’s cargo behind, and risking his own crew members’ lives for hats is beyond me and most historians.

Historians now believe that it’s an instance of Hornigold demonstrating power and authority.

I’m not so sure.

On the other hand, he was able to effectively replace his hat.

That same year, Hornigold and Blackbeard were to part ways, with Hornigold breaking his long-term policy of not attacking British ships.

Another strange endeavour.

Just a few months after, he avoided punishment and received a pardon from King George I, and forced to hunt down his former colleagues, including Blackbeard.

In 1719, Hornigold’s ship was caught in a hurricane and was wrecked on an uncharted reef.

Hornigold was cast away upon rocks miles from land and was never seen again.

So there we have it.

Captain Benjamin Hornigold:

Notorious pirate.

Dubious goal-setter.

Hat thief.

Thanks for reading. How did I do? If you found this post useful please help share on Twitter!

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