“Strike Three” Cried the umpire. Charlie Brown had swung and missed. He slumped back toward the dugout.
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“I am never going to make it to the big leagues.” Charlie Brown Sighed

“Charlie Brown, don’t give up on yourself and make it unanimous; you just set to high goals for yourself,” Lucy exclaimed.

“Set small goals, when you achieve one set another goal a little higher, then one day you will look back at all your steps and see you accomplished something great.”

“Small goals? Like what?” asked Charlie Brown “Like next inning when you go out to pitch, try and make it out to the mound without falling down!” Cried Lucy

I think often times we set very lofty long range goals and then get frustrated when we don’t see significant progress towards those goals. We forget to set short term goals that are very achievable and that act as stepping stones toward the long range goals. Going through the process of strategic planning and setting out the long range vision and also the short term goals that will signify the path to get there serves many purposes.

First the long range strategic goals are set; this establishes the team or company’s vision. Then you build up that vision and get buy in with the team; one critical way to get buy in is to allow the team to set the short term goals that will serve as stepping stones toward the vision. This will help the team to get buy in to both the process and the vision, it will also help to hold the team accountable to those goals because they helped to develop them. As you move forward there will be some miss-steps and adjustments of the short term goals but the vision remains constant; don’t get so caught up in the map that you can’t see the forest for the trees. When there is a miss-step and tensions are high it helps to be able to look back and see how far you have come accomplishing one short term goal after another then you learn from the miss-step and adjust your short term goals accordingly and keep moving forward. If someone on the team doesn’t buy into the vision then they need to go, if someone is unable to hit any of the short term goals consistently then they need to go; the goals help to serve as not only a rally point for the team but also a barometer of who should be on the team and who needs find another team.

Thomas Watson Jr. the son of the founder of IBM articulated the idea of your vision never faltering and just adjusting the steps to get there however drastically necessary as it moves through the corporate life cycle:

“This then is my thesis: I firmly believe that any organization, in order to survive and achieve success, must have a sound set of beliefs on which it premises all its policies and actions. Next I believe that the most important single factor in the corporate success is faithful adherence to those beliefs. And finally, I believe that if an organization is to meet the challenges of a changing world, it must be prepared to change everything about itself except those beliefs as it moves through corporate life.”

Under the leadership of Thomas Watson Jr IBM changed dramatically from the company his father created; he was a firm believer that the culture you create is the most important factor in a company’s success or failure. He also believed in an ever changing world and that you cannot rely on “how you have always done things” and expect the company to continue to be successful; you most constantly be looking for ways to improve and be more efficient and change as circumstances change.

As you go through your day try not to fall into the trap of doing things just because that is how they have always been done; always seek to understand the “why” behind it, there may in fact be a better way.E20-370