Letter from President
Release the Breaks
Welcome to March! I
love this month for many reasons. First of all living in Chicago means
that March is the beginning of the rest of the year,
warmth, flowers, outdoor activities, new beginnings, awakenings and then
there is the name march. March to me is a time to begin a new, go
forward, raise my knees and engage fully in the future. January and
February was a time to prepare now March is a time to execute!
In Canfields book the success
principles he speaks to releasing the breaks, a human being going
through life with their emergency break on, playing it safe, living
cautiously, only going a certain mile per hour in life, as if you were a
car and you had the emergency break on, once you take off the emergency
break the car goes with ease, kind of like once you give up letting your
fears control you and you march forth, even in the face of your fears
your life begins to flow.
When a human being is being true to
their purpose and their values, typically there is no ‘real’ reason to
play it safe and not pursue what matters. The problem is that most
people have not taken the time or made the time to really get to know
themselves on a deeper level, or worse they have given up the ‘dream’ of
who they wanted to be, for some other pathway that at the time, seemed
like the right thing to do. Instinctively many people know what trips
their trigger on the surface, but while they move through life in the
rush to make it all work, most people are simply not present to what
really matters, inside, hence they don’t focus on capitalizing on those
internal values, traits and motivations.
Taking on releasing your breaks in
life, means taking the time to identify what about you works, what
drives you, what individual traits do you posses that really leverage
your abilities and give you a personal competitive advantage in life?
You could do this through reading, there are books such as “Now
Discovery your Strengths” & “The Internal Frontier” and surely many
more, there are assessments such as the DISC –that highlight your
behavioral style, the Primary Insights and Values survey (PIAV), that
isolates your core fundamental motivations, the Merit Profile, backed by
Ken Blanchard, which spotlights your core values and character, and the
PTSI that lays out your strongest capabilities and competencies.
Whether you read yourself to discovery or you take an assessment, the
power comes in knowing yourself and then in being true to who you really
are and what really lights you up in life. The fear will always be
looming around to remind you that in life there are no guarantees, and
how you respond in the face of fear is what matters to your ultimate
happiness and effectiveness in life. Being afraid and acting anyway is
one of the highest forms of personal power known to man, just look at
people like Martin Luther, Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Mother Theresa &
Oprah, to name a few, surely they were afraid at times, however their
commitment to their higher purpose had/has them
leading extraordinary lives that made/make a difference.
March forth to your greatest
The 5% FACTOR
Leadership - Have Your Goals and Achieve Them
By Howard Shore
You see it every day in your daily lives and particularly at year-end
with all of the New Year resolutions and business plans. Next year you
are going to do all of those things you have never done and more. Or
maybe you just want to get back to where you used to be.
You set goals for some really important reasons:
- Keep you on target
- Make better decisions
- Keep you focused
- Increase self-motivation
- Develop self-confidence
How many goals do you have going right now?
How have the anticipated rewards influenced your progress (or lack
Are all of your goals planned out fully? What difference might it
How do you know if you really are going to achieve those goals?
Here is a quick quiz to see if you are on track:
- Do I state my goals in a way that tells exactly what will be
achieved and by when?
- Are my goals measurable in a way so that I know whether they are
achieved or not?
- Do I set goals that are attainable and are not designed to stretch
to some level below that goal?
- Are my goals set realistically high so that they require some sort
of behavior change?
- Do all my goals have a definite target date for completion?
- Do I evaluate my goals to make sure that I do not have too many
- Have I taken the time to prioritize my goals?
- Have I written down all of my goals?
- Do all the people who contribute to my goals know exactly what the
goals are and how they contribute to them?
- Have I thought through in advance and considered all the detailed
steps that it will take to complete my goal?
The answer to every question above should always be yes whether it is
a personal or professional goal. For every question you answered “no”
you can probably drop your goal success rate down by at least 20%.
Do not try to put more importance on any one of these items as that
would be like building the engine of your car or baking a cake and
saying one part or ingredient is more important than the other. The
reality is if one part or ingredient is missing, your car will probably
not start or your cake will not bake.
The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of the some of
the critical factors that can help you increase your goal success rate
to over 90%. There are too many factors to cover in this article so my
aim is to clarify some of the top (key) points.
There are a lot of things you do (consciously or subconsciously) to
achieve or not to achieve your goals. While I would agree that outside
circumstances can play a role in goal achievement, you must be honest
with yourself. When you fail to achieve a goal, whether it’s more sales,
customer retention, employee retention or something personal like weight
loss, success or failure is more dependent on those responsible for the
goal than outside influences.
I always get a funny look when I discuss this issue with clients and
friends. Many people think that because they made a decision, they made
a commitment. This could be the farthest from the truth. Actually the
hardest decisions oftentimes have the weakest commitments particularly
the larger the group size.
Does this scenario sound familiar to you? More than a year is spent
thinking about something, maybe even a committee is created to evaluate
it, consultants are hired, friends and colleagues conferred with, money
is spent for market research, and finally an affirmative decision is
made. The project, system, process, or other decision is placed into
action and all of a sudden the inevitable happens -- problems arise, big
problems, little problems, and problems disguised as attitudes.
What happens to most people’s level of commitment when faced with
these problems? Rather than solving the problem, ignoring all of the
thought that went into decision, they allow emotion to take over and
rethink the decision. Commitment crumbles and with it the chance of
following through on the decision.
IF YOU MAKE A DECISION...MAKE A COMMITMENT!
The first step in setting goals is to establish a SMART goal that is
stated positively. As alluded to in the Quiz, SMART stands for Specific,
Measurable, Attainable, Realistically-high, and Time-based. However, one
often overlooked item is the goal must be Yours. While this criterion
seems simple it is actually not easy in execution. If it were, everyone
would be achieving a lot more goals. Very briefly let us discuss what
each of these criteria really mean:
- Specific – You say exactly what it is you are going to do.
Hazy goals are doomed to failure. For example, we are going to
establish a new training program for our supervisors by a certain
date. You are not defining what you want to train them to do.
- Measurable – The goal must be stated in a way so that you
can definitely know whether it has been achieved. In addition, you
should be able to see when the trend is negative so that you can
modify your detailed action steps accordingly. For example, we are
going to increase the frequency of meetings with our hourly staff. How
often would you consider acceptable?
- Attainable and Realistically-High – Goals should have
sufficient rewards and/or consequences to be motivated and they must
be attainable. If it appears that your goal will not require any kind
of behavior change, challenge yourself to make sure that it does.
Either the goal is too low or you are not being realistic on what it
will take to get there. The reality is you have set it as a goal
because you are not already doing it and the definition of insanity is
“doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different
- Time Based – When do you want this goal completed by? Be
honest, are there goals you have talked about for years that are still
on your goal list? It is probably because you have not committed to a
Bring every employee up to – or above – standards. This task may
not be as easy to achieve as you might
wish. You will be tempted to waive some requirements or let some
people "get by." Every time you do this, you risk dropping your
standards for everyone. If people are not working up to your
standards, you'd be wise to give them a creative career redirection
Tighten your hiring practices. No more warm bodies. No more
hiring the best available. Every person hired must meet your
standards. No exceptions. This practice sends a very clear message
that you won't allow anyone who may drag you down to become a part of
your organization. By adhering to this rule, you reinforce the high
performance of your current employees.
Recruit aggressively. Don't wait until you have an opening
to recruit qualified applicants. Always have a list of screened
potential employees, ready to call when you have the right opportunity
for them. Use internships, co-op programs, assessments and other
similar tools to subtly recruit and evaluate future employees. Develop
your succession planning for all positions to assure full utilization
of your recruits.
Critically examine your organizational structure. Is your
company structured in a way that is optimal for your smooth operation?
Does it support productivity, accountability, and profitability? If
not, make the changes that will concentrate your energies on results.
Consider engaging an outside professional to give you an objective
perspective. Use of Certified Management Consultants can be a valuable
investment in your future.