Thursday, January 5, 2012

Two Things Necessary

We have entered a new year and resolutions abound. It's a time when people reflect on the year past and set goals for the upcoming 365 days. The nostalgia of the holidays has worn off, the success of the year before is buried in the history books and we are charged with putting a new plan in place. Goal setting usually runs in tandem with "what could I have done better". We think back, grind our teeth and forget our victories.

Our path to success is limited to the time we have on this planet and how we choose to spend it.

Setting goals is a simple process....differentiate what you want to do from what you have to do, and prioritize accordingly.

Last year I saw presentations by Tony Hsieh and Google's Compensation Team. Walking out of both presentations people told me directly - My company will never be like Google (Zappos). They missed the point. Tony Hsieh would not spend time away from his company if he didn't believe in his personal mission of delivering happiness. Google would not take their employees out of the workplace if they didn't feel that sharing their model for success would benefit the marketplace.

It comes down to 2 things: Alignment and Adoption

In considering your goals for 2012, ask yourself the following.....

Are your professional goals aligned with your personal purpose?

Do you have a strategy to have your ideas adopted?

Zappos has become the model for developing organizational culture. But, you don't need to have parades or weird employees to have an extraordinary company culture. All you need is established core values that align with your business critical goals (and employees who believe in said values).

For several years I have been in search of the true definition of Employee Engagement. The one central truth I have discovered is that no 2 companies are the there is no all-encompassing definition of the aforementioned catch phrase. The best proposed definition I have heard for Employee Engagement?:

Core Values that are aligned with departmental goals

What are your personal core values? Are they aligned with your metrics for achieving success?

Your goal setting for 2012 should start with a long walk. On your journey ask questions of yourself to discover if you are on the right path. If everything that drives you is an expectation of someone are mislead. You have to consider your genuine purpose on this earth and how that influences your work. I am not suggesting that you quit your job and work on a fishing boat in Alaska...I am suggesting that you make your cubicle your fishing boat.

You are the only person on earth who truly knows what you genuinely love (and what you could do without). No one has to know what drives YOU but yourself. Find your fishing boat and let it guide you through the storm.

When I was a young man, I opposed almost every directive that was given me by my boss. At one point, he asked me if I had a better idea....? I used to run to my general manager to ask him for special pricing for a client. He consistently asked me for numbers to back up my request for a discount. I was swinging at shadows; unprepared to make change but vocal about what wasn't working.

You have to have a strategy for adoption!

Sit down with a CEO without a distinct plan and data to back it up and you will be thrown out a boardroom window. Ask a client to meet you, show up with a blank pad, and you have lost an opportunity forever. Don't waste people's time by asking them to prepare for you.

The aforementioned Google presentation outlined a 6 point plan for gaining Executive approval. The people who overlooked this strategy for adoption mired by the Google logo don't work at Google for a reason.

Whether you are meeting a client, reviewing strategy with your boss, or choosing a movie with your wife; you have to have a strategy.

At the very least:
* Gather information from the trenches
Quantify and Qualify the information you gather in the trenches
* Speak with your audiences tongue
* Tell them something they have never heard before

So there you have it. 2 simple things you need to make 2012 (and the rest of your life) a raging success!

Don't Forget to Remember!


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