Books

It’s extremely important to stay abreast of what is happening with current events, whether related to business, politics, local happenings etc.. There are many sources to do this including your local newspapers (whether paper on online), magazines and other periodicals, news on TV etc (personally, besides reading a few newspapers online each day and going to the library weekly, I use www.news.google.com to see what is happening in various subjects around the world). However, it seems that many people neglect books these days as a way to further their learning.

While most books could be considered “out of date” by the time they are in print, the reality is many of the lessons from the past are still very relevant today. The old adage that those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it is so true.

There are some books I have read over the years that I would consider to be useful for all to read. There are many more I could recommend but rather than listing a lot of books that might get skipped over, I would like to start with these three with the hope that some people reading this post might take the time to read some, or all of them.

The first book I would recommend for all is “Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In”. While the subject might give the impression of only being applicable to someone who is involved in business negotiations, the reality is, every one of us is involved in negotiations every day of our lives. Whether it’s negotiating a contract to buy a company, or negotiating a plea bargain with a defendant or negotiating with a loved one about what to cook for dinner, we all negotiate on a daily basis. This book has some great reminders that we don’t need to be thinking in terms of zero sum agreements (which means for one side to win the other side must lose). Instead, in many cases, there are win/win solutions available. I have read this book at least once a year for at least 15 years and strongly recommend it to everyone.

The second book is Victor Frankl’s “Man’s Search For Meaning“. This is a must read for many different reasons including learning how if you think things are going poorly for you, things could be worse yet you can survive, thrive and learn from all situations. This book can definitely make a difference in your life!

The third book is “Who Moved My Cheese” by Spencer Johnson. This is an extremely quick read that teaches a great life lesson through a very simple story. I enjoyed the story so much and also found it to be such a powerful way to teach that it was the impetus for me writing the book SoccerAtEase (which can be found at www.socceratease.com). Considering it can be read in an hour or two, Who Moved My Cheese is well worth anyones time to read.

If you have any recommendations for books people should read, you can either send them to me or add them to the comments section of the blog

Have a great day!

Lawrence

Heroes

(Author Unknown)
Heroes:

Deal in Transformational change. No one ever became a hero by perpetuating the status quo

Adopt the highest level of values and are committed to these values even in the face of adversity

Overcome a number of substantial obstacles that threaten their ability to create the desired changes

Deal effectively with uncertainty. At most times during the hero’s journey, success is in doubt

Rarely work alone. Achievement of the desired goals usually requires the hero to enlist the assistance of others

Are Values Driven. The hero influences others through the strength of his or her ideas. In most cases, the hero is more driven by a sense of purpose than opportunity

Are persistent even in the face of skepticism

Think differently. They are marked differences in the way the hero thinks and what is considered convention wisdom

Create a different sense of order. Challenging the present system in order to create a system that is consistent with the hero’s purpose is central to the hero’s actions

Are internally driven and seem relatively unaffected by external rewards, threats or punishments

Are you a hero?

Lawrence

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!

Lawrence

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!

Lawrence

Persistence

“If you stop today because the pain gets to be too much, tomorrow you will stop a little earlier and the next day you will make no effort at all.” (author unknown)

How many times were you on the verge of a breakthrough when you stopped just short of the end? The answer to that question is, you will never know. The difference between success and failure is frequently simply the willingness to go one more step

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.“ (Thomas Edison)

How many people are willing to find the 10,000 ways that don’t work in order to find the one way that does work?

“Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all. “ (Dale Carnegie)

What opportunities have you lost because you weren’t willing to take one more chance?

“Let me tell you the secret that has led me to my goal: my strength lies solely in my tenacity.“
(Louis Pasteur)

Do you have some secret that surpasses tenacity and persistence?

“What man actually needs is not a tensionless state but rather the striving and struggling for some goal worthy of him. What he needs is not the discharge of tension at any cost, but the call of a potential meaning waiting to be fulfilled by him.” (Victor Frankl)

Whether you look at it as dedication, determination, persistence or some other word, it’s a trait that nearly every successful person possesses.

Do you?

Lawrence

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

Lawrence