Goal Setting

Do you follow the rules?

There are always rules to be followed in life.  Most rules were put in place by well-meaning people who felt they were needed to right a wrong, protect from injury, or create agreement between two or more parties.

Over time, we can forget the wise words of Franklin D. Roosevelt who said, “Rules are not necessarily sacred, principles are.”

I call the principles the “Why’s” behind the rules.

But we need more than just the rules. Without the wisdom of why the rules were made – understanding of their intent, and knowledge of when to apply them – we rely on their strict wording instead of the spirit of the rules.

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The Tough Steps To Success

Instead of focusing on the long climb, focus on the next step.

My family and I have moved many times, all for job related reasons.   We have built homes and bought homes; lived in warm climates and cold ones. We even spent one Christmas in a corporate apartment – I took the presents and the tree with me when I drove ahead of my family so Santa could visit.

No matter how many times we have reached success – found a home, school, grocery store, church, friends etc…It never gets easier.

The secret, we have found, is to plan out the steps, then take them one at a time.

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Before you say “I can’t”, you pass by “I can.”

When I first learned this simple statement from Gay Hendricks, I have to be honest, it didn’t stick.  It seemed too easy to say, and too hard to implement.  Could I really just choose to think “I can” over “I can’t?”  I thought about that for some time.  It finally clicked for me when I added two words: because and if.  So, for me this simple statement now reads like this:

Before you say “I can’t because”, you pass by “I can if.”

This thought process has worked for me in business, and in life.

In times of struggle or doubt, turn your focus from the obstacles to success and instead focus on the means to overcome the obstacles.

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Leadership Vision Set Into Motion

Whether you are starting a new team, or just became the leader of an existing one, things will be different for this particular set of people on this particular team.  They might all buy into the goals you set, but your vision for how to achieve those goals will be unique and new.

For your vision to be effective you have to set it into motion.

The best way to set your vision into motion is through success.  And the best type of success is that which consistently delivers many small successes for each team member.

Vaclav Havel, the first president of the Czech Republic said:

“Vision is not enough. It must be combined with venture. It is not enough to stare up the steps; we must step up the stairs.”

I call this “stepping up the stairs” quick winsFor quick wins to be effective they must both support your vision, and have an immediate impact on your team. Your team needs to see progress toward the goals, and feel their job satisfaction improving. Pick five to eight things that you can personally drive to success and make them happen.  This will set your vision into motion.

Think Big; Plan Big; Achieve Big

“Make no little plans. They have no magic to stir men’s blood and probably themselves will not be realized. Make big plans; aim high in hope and work…Remember that our sons and grandsons are going to do things that would stagger us…Think big.”

I first heard this quote from Daniel Burnham on an Architectural tour of Chicago.  Shortly after moving to The Windy City, my family and I boarded a small boat to learn the history of downtown Chicago.  The tour guide mentioned Burnham’s name many times when describing the classical buildings we admired.

He then described the man who changed the face of architecture in Chicago and cities across America because he accepted the challenge to Think Big.  

Daniel Burnham was one of the most sought after architects in America in the early 20th century.  He designed one of the first American skyscrapers: the Masonic Temple Building in Chicago, and was influential in shaping the design of the National Mall of Washington D.C. under the McMillan plan.  He and his company designed over forty well known buildings across America.

His best known work was his design of the Chicago World’s Fair of 1893.  The World’s Fair held in Chicago in 1893 celebrated the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’ arrival in the New World in 1492. It also demonstrated to the world that Chicago had risen again from the great fire which destroyed much of the city in 1871.

Over 27 million people attended the fair during its six month run.   It covered more than 600 acres, and featured 200 new buildings of neoclassical architecture and people and cultures from around the world.  Its scale exceeded any other world fair before it, and it was the first world fair to have international pavilions for forty-six nations.  It was the prototype of what Burnham thought a city should be; the first example of city planning.

The Big Plans of the Chicago World’s Fair of 1893 left quite an impression on the world.  The design brought international prominence to Daniel Burnham, and is said to have inspired the Emerald City of the Land of Oz and Walt Disney’s theme parks.

In his book Built to Last, Jim Collins highlights great successful companies that Achieved Big.  Most had what Collins calls Big Harry Audacious Goals or BHAGS.  Like Jack Welch and General Electric whose BHAG was, “To become #1 or #2 in every market we serve and revolutionize this company to have the speed and agility of a small enterprise.”

In leadership you need to inspire your teams to achieve greatness.  For your vision to be successful you must Think Big; Plan Big and you will Achieve Big.

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