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Mark McKergow gives the skinny on big goals

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Alexandria Orozco
Staff Writer

The Campus Center Ball­room was filled with anxious and excited guests waiting for Mark McKergow to give his lecture on “Rutenso; The Art of Thriving in a Time of Constant Change.”

McKergow is an author and the co-director of “The Centre for Solutions Focus at Work,” which helps consult people and businesses on almost every continent of the world.

Students, faculty and alumni from the College of Business and Public Management showed up to hear McKergow speak about how to achieve goals and the mentality that should be embraced when trying to solve a problem.

“Instead of making big goals, take small steps leading to the future and building on what works,” McKergow said. “By doing this it will help move you forward.”

McKergow gave various examples that helped to visually and interactively involve the audience understand the message he was trying to convey.

He made a point that contradicted many of the traditional ideas regarding goal-setting and problem solving.

The humorous undertone within his presentation was seen when he showed a slide on the PowerPoint that read “Goals (can) put you in a Gaol” which is the British spelling for jail.

Another important focus of the presentation was on the mindset difference between rutenso and koteiso, two Japanese terms that refer to the constant change and living in a fixed world. This idea was explained through a scale of one to 10.

A person who possesses the traits of rutenso would ask themselves what would take them one step up, while koteiso would wonder what is stopping them from getting to a 10.

“It’s not irrelevant just because it is small. Find useful change and amplify it,” McKergow said.

McKergow spoke about how he was asked to help solve a problem in Italy regarding Italian men who were working with chemicals and refused to wear eye protection goggles because they were too prideful.

The solution they found for this was that if they bought new goggles that were a bit more updated and stylish then the men would wear the glasses.

The stylish glasses ended up being the solution and the Italian men began wearing their protective glasses outside of work.

It is this kind of critical thinking and taking small logical steps forward that McKergow emphasized.

After the lecture many faculty members stayed around to chat amongst themselves about what they thought of McKergow’s lecture.

“I agree with what he said about small changes being important,” Professor of Information Technology Yehia Mortagy said.

“The idea he said that was new to me was the difference between a vision and a goal. He was talking about not following a path; a vision is an end point,” Mortagy said.

“Small steps do make a difference but I think that sometimes you need permission; otherwise it can end up slapping you in the face,” adjunct professor Teresa Martinelli-Lee said.

Many of the people really appreciated what McKergow had to say about goals and the best mindset to have when achieving them.

“I enjoyed how McKergow talked about how we can set our goals so that the small steps become part of our big goal.”

“We are always shooting for a 10 or 11 when we should be grateful of small changes and hope for the better,” graduate student Al Hadjrasoolitha said.

Alexandria Orozco can be reached at

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