Goal Setting – Continued

This is a continuation of the previous post on goal setting at http://lawrencefine.com/blog/2008/05/goal-setting/

One thing to keep in mind when discussing goal setting is that while it’s mainly talked about in a business environment, it’s important to apply goal setting to all aspects of life. Yes it’s important to have goals of profitability or goals of revenue etc but it’s also important for individuals to have goals in their personal lives. It might be to achieve a certain level of education or to hike a certain number of trails etc.. Just because most examples are business related doesn’t mean it only applies to business applications.

Once you have established your goals (using the definition from the previous post of a goal being a dream that is attainable, measurable, has a time limit and is in writing) the next step is to see if you can break this goal into smaller sub goals.

If we use the example of a non profit organization wanting to increase it’s membership from 25,000 members to 30,000 members in a five year period, one difficulty organizations encounter with this type of a goal is that it appears quite daunting. Adding 5000 members seems to be quite a significant endeavor. Rather than worrying about 5000 new members, you might set a sub goal of adding 500 new members in a 6 month period. This might seem like a much easier number to deal with. The reality is, if they were to add 500 new members every 6 months, that would give them the 5000 new members at the end of the 5 year period.

Now that you have a sub goal, the next step is to figure out a plan on how to get there. This could be a recommend a friend and their first year is half price, or added benefits or simply a better job positioning of the organization.

The key to working toward the sub goals is to realize these sub goals can’t be thought of as working in a vacuum. The things you do to achieve one sub goal frequently will have an effect on the other sub goals.

For example, if you reduce the price of membership for a 6 month period, it might increase the number of new members during that time period. However, when the 6 month period is over and the price goes back up, it might make it more difficult to achieve the second sub goal (which is another 500 member increase in the second 6 month period). This means that the methods decided upon to achieve each sub goal must take into consideration the other sub goals and more importantly, the final goal. It must always be taken into consideration that every action causes a reaction and the reaction must be anticipated to determine the effect on the other sub goals and the ultimate goal. In other words, the sub goals must be seen as steps toward a final outcome as opposed to random steps.

Now that you have your goals and your sub goals and have come up with a plan to achieve these sub goals the next step is to get to work and start toward those sub goals.

Remember, if you have a good plan, work the plan and still don’t achieve all your goals, you are still a success! It’s only those who don’t plan and don’t work toward the plan that fail.

As always, have a great day!


Goal Setting

Too often people, and organizations, fail to take the time and effort to set goals and as a result, don’t accomplish everything they could or should.

An organization operating without goals is the equivalent of an airplane taking off without knowing the final destination. Everything might work properly but long term, you will use up a lot of resources and never get anywhere of significance.

The organizations goal is the equivalent of the planes final destination. Without knowing the destination there is no way to plan the route, calculate the arrival time and file the flight plan. Without knowing the goal, there is no way for the organization to plan how to use it’s resources most effectively.

First, we should start with an explanation of what a good goal is.

A goal is a “dream” that is attainable, measurable, has a time limit and is in writing.

To break this statement down, we start with the word dream. Too many people set a goal that is so easy to achieve it doesn’t “stretch” the organization and, in fact, allows the organization to underachieve while thinking it’s accomplishing something significant. Instead of picking something simple, you want to look aspire to something big and have to really challenge yourself to accomplish this aspiration. This is where the dream comes into play,

While you want this goal to be a dream (or a big time reach) you also want it to be attainable. If you set the goal so high that you aren’t able to attain it, you will end up getting discouraged and quitting. This is a very fine line to make sure it’s a big enough dream to be a challenge but not so far out there it’s not attainable.

The measurable part of definition is extremely important because there needs to be a way to know whether you are getting close to the goal and actually accomplishing the goal. While it’s not always possible to quantify the goal, it is extremely important to try to find a way to do so at all times.

At the same time it’s important for the goal to be measurable, it’s also important for there to be a time period involved. Without a time period, there is a built in excuse for not having accomplished a goal “I just haven’t gotten around to it, I’ll do it tomorrow (or next week or next month or next year)” . Putting a deadline on goals makes it much easier to monitor.

Putting the goal in writing is important because otherwise, there is nothing to keep you to that goal or to prevent you from changing the goal halfway through the process. It’s important to not just put the goal in writing but to also “publish” the goals somewhere so you see them on a regular basis and for others to see them as well.

To give some examples of effectively written goals look at the list below:

A non profit organization might set as it’s goal to increase membership from 24,000-30,000 by Jan 1 2012
A hotel might set as a goal to increase daily occupancy from 60%-65% by December 31. 2008
A Prosecuting Attorney might set as his goal to win convictions in 90% of their cases in 2008
A Realtor might set as his goal to sell $20,000,000 in real estate in 2008
An artist might set as his goal to average one show a month for the last 6 months of 2008

In each of the examples above, it’s a goal that is measurable and has a time period (I don’t honestly know whether any of those numbers are realistic for their given fields)

Many organizations don’t spend enough time setting goals because they don’t think they have enough time. The reality is, I’m not sure many organizations have the time to NOT set goals properly.

Once you set have set your goals, your next step is to create plans for achieving these goals. This will be left for a future post

Spend the time needed to set goals, work toward achieving these goals and good things will happen

Have a great day!


New Tutorial

Just a quick note that a new tutorial has been added. This tutorial shows you how to set up and run a WordPress Blog (the Lawrence Fine Blog is a WordPress Blog).

While the tutorial is quite extensive, once the blog is set up, it’s simple to add content and maintain. For example, I write a post in Word, then when I’m dine with it, I login to the admin section of the blog, click on Write a New Post, enter the subject, paste the content in and then publish. It really is that easy.

In a week or two, I will write about the advantages of blogging but till then, you can get the tutorial for how to set up and run your blog at http://lawrencefine.com/tutorials.html

Tomorrow, there will be a regular post as opposed to this short notification


Positive Leadership: How It Can Be The Difference Between Success And Failure

Leaders emotions and behavior can have a strong influence on their followers. Things don’t always pan out the way you want them to. So, the challenge is to stay positive, while remaining aware of the reality of any adverse situation that might confront you.

In a soccer match I recently watched, the referee ordered a penalty kick in favor of one of the teams (Team A), with less than 10 minutes remaining in the game. Just as the Team A player was about to shoot the penalty, another Team A player, unable to contain his excitement, surged forward, resulting in encroachment.

Meanwhile, the ball had entered Team B’s goal. Team A were the better team that day, and the penalty itself was the result of great momentum they had built, in their own favor. The referee disallowed the goal.

In fact, in keeping with FIFA rules, the referee should have allowed the penalty to be taken again but did not do so.

The match went on to be a goal-less draw. In the last ten minutes of the game, the players of the rival teams concentrated less on scoring goals, and more on settling scores with one another. Foul after foul was committed, and the whole scene resembled a wrestling match, more than a soccer game.

Here was a great opportunity for Team A’s captain to display positive leadership. He could have motivated his players to carry on playing good soccer, which might well have resulted in his team’s victory. Instead, he chose to vent his anger on rival players, an example his teammates were quick to emulate.

Positive leadership is about boosting your team’s productivity. You also need to recognize the pitfalls. People are covertly attracted to negativity, and things are unlikely to improve, when leaders, themselves, are not positive. This is as true of a workplace, as it is in a soccer game.

Team A lost focus on their final objective – that of winning – by allowing themselves to be distracted by a referee’s decision. The person who could have prevented this distraction was the team’s captain.

He could have done this, after the penalty was disallowed, by having a word with the team. He could have reminded his other team members that they had dominated the game, and were likely to win if they continued to play as well as they had. A victory for Team A would have made the referee error moot.

Team A’s captain not only failed to motivate his team; he actually encouraged his teammates to fight with the rival team’s members, by doing so himself.

Positive leadership is about focusing on strengths, (better playing ability), and down-playing weaknesses or negatives, (the refereeing decision that frustrated a scoring opportunity).

You have to move on, and relegate lost opportunities to history. Leaders don’t have the luxury of seeing things from a historical perspective, which might allow them a more sympathetic view of events, as they happen.

This, then, is the challenge of positive leadership: staying focused in the face of events that conspire to distract you from your true objective.

Have a great day!



One of the biggest frustrations with computers is they are capable of so much while at the same time, so vastly underutilized.

This could be because the computer runs too slow or the software is misunderstood or many other factors,

To help people utilize technology a bit better, my company (www.WebBreez.com) has decided to start creating tutorials to guide people through various functions

To start we have four tutorials available

How to delete your temporary files and defragment your hard drive
How to use Excel
How to use Mail Merge in Word
How to create mailing labels in Word

If you would like to download these tutorials you can do so at http://lawrencefine.com/tutorials.html. There is absolutely no cost for these tutorials and you may share them with anyone you want provided you give credit to WebBreez.com for their creation

It’s our intention to keep adding more tutorials as time permits. If there are any specific tutorials you would like to see created, please let me know by using the form at http://lawrencefine.com/contact.php. The two requirements for us to create a tutorial is access to the software and also a belief there is a general need for the tutorial (as opposed to just one person)

Hope this helps!

Have a great day!


Great Leaders Surround Themselves With Great People!

One way to determine a leaders competence as well as their confidence is to look at the people around them.

A leader who surrounds themselves with people less talented than themselves is typically one who is afraid to be shown up, so they would rather look good and fail, than risking someone looking better than themselves and succeeding.

For example, if the leader hires a marketing person who knows less about marketing then themselves, what did they really get out of this person? If they hire a finance person who struggles with finance, this again is a sign of a leader lacking in self esteem and afraid to risk looking bad.

A top leader realizes they don’t need to know everything about marketing, rather they need to hire someone who knows everything (or as close to everything as possible) about marketing. Rather than knowing everything there is to know about finance, they go out and hire an expert in that field instead.

The weak leader would rather do everything him or herself (and usually let EVERYONE know it) than risk bringing in others who are as good or better at the specific task and risk look expendable.

The strong leader knows that if they surround themselves with experts in the various fields, it only makes themselves look better.

The weak leader thinks if they surround themselves with experts, it will make them look dumber.

I remember reading a quote from a long time ago which said “a genius is a person who surrounds himself with people smarter than himself”. For years I thought the quote was from Andrew Carnegie but now I can’t find where it’s from. Regardless of whom it’s from, it’s a great definition of brilliant leadership.

Obviously there are some times when it will prove difficult to do this such as when you are on a very limited budget or when you are “the expert” in a field. Even when there are budgetary limitations, there might be ways to work around them. For example, if you are looking to hire an Accounts Receivables manager but don’t have a lot of money in the budget for this position, your options might be to hire a less qualified person to do the job or to look at an incentive program that would allow you to bring in a more qualified and capable person with the agreement this person would get a percentage of the collections over a predetermined amount. The thinking here would be you have $40,000 budgeted for this position, you could pay $40,000 to hire someone with the thinking they will collect $300,000 or you could hire a more experienced person with the agreement they will make $40,000 base salary plus a certain percentage of all collections over $300,000 for the year.

The willingness to surround yourself with talented people is a sure sign you are willing to be an effective leader. How many times do you hear excuses such as “that person would never work for us”, or “we could never afford someone like that” when the reality is, no effort is made to see if there is a way to make things work.

Take a chance, surround yourself with the best you can and see how much more effective your organization can be.

Have a great day!
PS If you know anyone else who would find this article helpful, please encourage them to go to http://lawrencefine.com/blog