Joe Calloway, CSP
We all want to do better. Whether as individuals or as business
organizations we all want to be the best that we can be and take our
performance to the next level. We want to do more this year than last
year, accomplish new goals, and reach our potential. Companies want to
win in the marketplace and create success and prosperity for employees
and shareholders. As individuals we strive to get in shape, get that
promotion, or make that million dollars.
My observation is that most of us are actually pretty good at
thoughtfully setting our goals, carefully planning our strategies, and
enthusiastically announcing our ambitions to the world. We do everything
that the motivational books and speakers tell us to do. We create clear
and vivid visual images in our minds of what we want to accomplish. We
break our goals down into step by step plans with accompanying deadlines
to mark milestones on the path to accomplishment. We cover our walls
with attitude boosting posters featuring glorious color photographs of
eagles soaring above the clouds, snow topped mountain summits, and
runners crossing the finish line first in sweat drenched celebrations.
Affirmations are written and posted on the bathroom mirror to be read
each day as we keep our attitudes positive and our enthusiasm high.
Entire companies go through much the same rituals of motivation. I
myself have been witness to hundreds of company meetings and conventions
in which it is declared that this year we will reach new levels of
sales, higher profits, total customer satisfaction, increased market
share, achieve distinction, excellence, quality, exceed our personal
best or whatever the goal of the moment may happen to be. And, after
three days of meetings, speeches, team-building exercises on the beach,
breakout sessions on new products and systems, the awards dinner and
dance with the fifties band, and the closing general session with the
former professional athlete motivational speaker that builds to a
motivational climax of a thunderous crescendo of wildly cheering
employees as the sound system blares Tina Turner singing "Simply The
Best" at warp volume
.they go home.
And six months later, people stare into their affirmation covered
bathroom mirrors and companies look at their less than hoped for numbers
and they wonder what went wrong. The goal wasn't reached. The eagle
didn't soar to the mountaintop. Some other company turned out to be
simply the best. And what's often most deeply frustrating in these
situations is that the failure to achieve goals happens to people who
seemingly have everything going for them, and companies that have great
people, sound strategies, and excellent products.
So what happened? What happened is that with all the best-laid plans and
all the chest-thumping motivational cheerleading
they never took the
critically important first step. They never decided to go.
But wait! Surely they decided to go! Why else would they have taken the
time and trouble to put up the posters and play the Tina Turner song and
have the meetings and tape all those affirmations to the bathroom
mirror? Because they were willing to do the easy stuff. The hard stuff
is reaching deep down inside and pulling out the guts of your soul and
asking "Do I really want to do this?"
What is it that you want to accomplish? I confront companies every week
with a simple question about their stated goals: "Do you really mean
this?" When you say that your intention is to be the best in the
business or to achieve true excellence or to take your business to the
next level, are you dead serious or are you really just kidding around?
Because most of the time there are some major ramifications involved if
the answer is "yes, we're serious". And you and your company just may
not be willing to do what it takes to go there. Which is fine. Just be
clear on what you're committing or not committing to.