Maintaining Focus to Achieve Your Goals

“GOALS…What you see when you are not focusing on the challenges.

A Parable on Careers

I set a goal for myself to qualify for the 2017 Boston Marathon.  Goal achieved.  It was not easy…in fact, there was time, effort, and some degree of pain.  But I had a dream, consulted with coaches and mentors, wrote out a specific plan, and then put in the work.  Gratefully, the work, planning, and coaching paid off and I realized my dream of qualifying by running the California International Marathon in Sacramento in goal time.

Then I set a new goal, this time to run the Boston Marathon and beat my previous marathon time.  Having achieved success before, I got a little laid-back in my pursuit of this new goal.  Distractions and set-backs became too common during my training.  One week I caught myself about to give up on meeting my daily training goal, when a fallen tree blocked my trail.  Turning back would have cut my run  short by about 4 miles.

Whoa! Large tree blocking my path.

Focus on this spot!

At first, I turned back.  Then I caught myself…how easy to lose sight of my goal.  I needed to run another 4 miles to stay true to my goal workout.  I reset my gaze on the fallen tree, examined it from different angles, and squinted for signs of the old trail on the other side.  Voila!

Upon determined inspection, I first saw the old trail, and then discovered a way through to it.

With a little extra effort, re-dedication to my goals, committed focus and determination, I made my way past this obstacle and continued my journey to success.  Having persisted and prevailed, I found new confidence in the pursuit of my goal and staying true to my workout.

Persistent focus unveils new pathways.

Next I was to run 19 miles on paved roads, and I attacked my work with renewed vigor.  I’ve since encountered more obstacles and challenges, but am stronger in my conviction, more confident I can overcome, and more determined in my commitment to my training and eventual success in achieving my goal!

I also am proud to say that in April of 2017 I successfully finished the Boston Marathon.  In fact, I re qualified to run it again next year.

What challenges are you facing in successfully achieving your goals?  Are you focusing on those challenges, or your goals? Where have you successfully overcome challenges and “found your path“?  How can you use this story as a parallel for staying focused on achieving success for yourself and your team?

Wishing you much continued focus and career success!

John Boyens on Dominating Your Market

John Boyens, Co-Founder and President, The Boyens Group

John Boyens, renown sales productivity expert, business strategist, and President of the Boyens Group, has invaluable insights to share about improving your sales performance and dominating your customer market.

6 Secrets to Dominating Your Market:

  1. Define Success…establish key performance indicators (KPIs)
  2. Know your Customers…segment your marketplace
  3. Know your Competition…establish competitive differentiation
  4. Document your Business’ 5 P’s(the 5P’s are:  1) Positioning/Unique Value Proposition, 2) Product/Service, 3) Placement in Your Market Space, 4) Price, and 5) Promotion/How You Go To Market)
  5. Establish your Go-to-Market Strategy…including a written sales and marketing plan
  6. Leverage Social Media…establish your virtual business strategy (VBS)

Too many business executives spend most of their time running their business rather than focusing on growing their business…in other words, working “in” versus “on” their business…being tactical versus strategic So what can you do to become more strategic?  Here are some best practices from successful business executives to consider:

  • Do one thing to increase your company’s visibility right away (e.g., social media)
  • Identify one person or company who could immediately and positively impact revenue
  • Identify one mundane, time-consuming task that you could delegate or outsource
  • Defer something you’re working on, that really isn’t necessary to be done now
  • Better leverage technology
  • Facilitate customer feedback to validate/invalidate the marketplace perceptions of your company
  • Ensure that your marketing messaging is consistent across all channels (i.e., website, social media, collateral material, pitch deck, sales presentations, trade show booth and advertising).

For more helpful articles on John’s “5 P’s” of all successful business strategies, what to include in a sales and marketing plan, how to create a unique value proposition (UVP), as well as proven social media tips designed to grow revenues quickly, you may refer to John’s website at

And a few thoughts from John, in closing:

  • Market domination is a result of positioning
  • Positioning is a result of being UNIQUE
  • Being unique means you can charge more… and get it!

Wishing you improved sales performance and success in dominating your market!

Work with Passion isn’t Really Work


When not handling retained search assignments for organizations, I enjoy teaching.  In one of my classes for entrepreneurs, I share that business success is the result of four ingredients.  Careers, like businesses, benefit from the same four ingredients:

  1. Desire (dream or nightmare)
  2. Plan (business vehicle)
  3. Mentor (coach/adviser/council)
  4. Work (consistent and persistent energy and effort)


Work, or as my grandfather calls it “elbow grease,” is that last necessary ingredient.  Our source of motivation for work changes over time and lifestyle.  Consistent effort is critical for success, so be aware when you are burning out, losing focus, or losing energy.  When that happens, or preferably before, go back to the other three ingredients and get re-energized.  Like businesses, making money is not in itself a Mission Statement.  You need to refocus on your passions to become re-energized.

Tim Cook, Apple CEO, was recently quoted in the Silicon Valley Business Journal as saying “Don’t work for money- it will wear out fast, or you’ll never make enough and you will never be happy.” Amen to that!


Last week I met Nobel Prize Winning Economist Dr. Robert Merton, who shared this career advice: “Pursue passion in your career.  Be the solution in business.  Build trust and social capital.” Sound familiar?  Work with passion is not work.

When working in your career, remind yourself what a great job looks like.  Associate with people pursing similar goals to yourself. Put in the effort to stay focused on your passions and goals…and your energy will be limitless!

In summary, for career success, define your dreams, refine your plan, actively engage mentors, and then consistently work with passion.  By following your dreams, or people you trust with dreams, it won’t even feel like work.

if you happen to be someone’s mentor, then encourage them to rekindle their passions and find themselves in their work.  Contact me if you would like to connect with career or organizational coaches who can help.  Let’s turn work into fired-up passion!


The Race Is On! – My Boston Marathon Race experience…April 2017


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What an experience!

After months of training, preceded by the obligatory qualifying marathon in Sacramento (CIM) to time-qualify, applying for the Boston Marathon Race, being selected, and then planning the trip to Boston…we have arrived!

Boston folks bringing incredible energy the whole weekend, from the closed streets days in advance, well-attended runner’s expo, buses taking 10,000+ runners to the start line 26.2 miles away, and cheering crowds lining the streets all the way back to Boston to the finish line!  As I sped to the finish, it felt like I was starring in a ticker-tape parade!

RESULTS?  Tremendous feeling of accomplishment…took hours to stop grinning!  Completed the race in under 4 hours, re-qualified to run again next year, and placed in the top 20% of men in my age group.

SHARING: Many events along the way to share, but here are a few select photos of highlights.

So grateful for the support from family, friends, clients, coaches, and fellow Tamalpa Running Club members.

Completing the Boston Marathon is one of my greatest accomplishments yet… AND I QUALIFY for 2018!   3:49:40.  WOW!  Who would have thought…

More thoughts about running the Boston Marathon, and parallels with running businesses and managing our careers, coming soon!


Completing the 2017 Boston Marathon in under 4 hours.

I couldn’t have done it without my coach!  Worked with athletic trainer Warren Lanier for 9 months to prepare for a pain-free race.

So glad I got to run with my partner for life!  Danielle also qualified to run the Boston Marathon, and encouraged me all the way here.  And I encouraged her!

Repping Stanton Chase!  Checking out the finish line the day before the race.

Caught me! Hand Slap #195… Gotta love these fans!  Who knew an introvert could get energized by strangers?

Lot of active audience participation. My right shoulder started hurting from all the High-Fives I shared along the way. Some fans are over-enthusiastic in their support…and hand slaps!

Trusting that I was truly across the finish line, it hit me that I could stop running now, and take a break. Yahoo!

2017 Boston Marathon successfully completed.


Helping Candidates Make Great Life Decisions

Steve Caliger

by Steve Caliger, Principal Search Consultant, San Francisco – Reno

Many vendors have sophisticated tools that try to assess the fit between candidates and career opportunities.  The ‘Decision Matrix’ is a quick tool I created while working on a project that helped one of my clients with a major recruiting project.  The project was for IGT, the largest gaming-machine manufacturer in the world.  We were tasked with recruiting 20+ highly technical hardware and software engineers, managers, and directors in a relatively short period of time.  The mission was complicated by the fact that the company was headquartered in Reno, which had a very limited pool of local candidates.  Searches that require relocation are probably the most difficult type of search because you have to find the optimum match, and then convince a family to move to a new land.  One of the keys to our recruiting success was using my Decision Matrix to help candidates make quality of life decisions.  With it, we recruited more than 25 individuals in 18 months for our client.

Decision Matrix:  It has been my experience that there are four major criteria people use to make career choices, whether they are aware of it or not.  With my tool, the job seeker rates these four categories by importance to them at this time (Importance Weighting Score).  Importance Rankings Scores range from 1 – 3.  Next the candidate rates each job in the four career choice categories, including both their current job and all other options they are considering, also on a 1-3 score range.  These job rating scores go in the rows across for each job.  Then the Job Scores are weighted by multiplying by the Importance Weighting Score, yielding a Weighted Job Score in each box, and then are summed up in the final column, Total Weighted Score.

Comparing the Total Weighed Score for each job opportunity, current and proposed, becomes easier with this visual and quantitative scoring system.  When candidate’s suspicions are validated, and they  see proof that the role with my client is a better career move because of its ratings in each of these four common career categories, they are more confident in moving ahead with the change.  Very simple, easy to use, and works every time.

 EXAMPLE Quality of Life

Value = 2

Job Satisfaction

Value = 3

Corporate Culture

Value = 2

Financial Package

Value = 1

Total Value


Current Job 1 (x 2) = 2 2 (x 3) = 6 1 (x 2) = 2 2 (x 1) = 2 12
New Opportunity 1 2 (x 2) = 4 3 (x 3) = 9 2 (x 2) = 4 1 (x 1) = 1 18
New Opportunity 2
New Opportunity 3

Helping people make great life and career decisions builds trust and produces better results.  We are looking out for the candidate’s best interests while representing client opportunities, which leads to better career decisions and longer-tenure for both candidate and employer!

Bringing the Global Power of Stanton Chase to the Wine Industry

Ian MacNeilby Ian MacNeil, Senior Search Consultant, North Bay San Francisco

As the wine harvest winds down in Northern California and the signs of Winter begin to emerge, wine executives shift their focus from their fields to their office teams. Their strategic plan for 2017 includes reviewing their personnel, including hiring, developing, training, and retention needs for the coming year.  However, this year, in Northern California, they have one more tool in their arsenal!

Stanton Chase is now the only global executive retained search firm with an office and “boots-on-the-ground” in the wine country, with the addition of Ian MacNeil.  Ian brings over 18 years of living, working, and networking in wine country.  His hands-on experience gives significant advantage to a CPG companies, particularly in the Wine/Beverage/Food and Hospitality industries.

IMN article imageThe demand for recruiting highly-qualified directors and executives to all sizes of wine and food companies is very strong right now, thus raising the stakes for executives seeking to add to their team and increase their competitiveness in the marketplace.  More executives and owners are turning to retained search firms, and now they have one of their own to help them.  Ian has built trusting relationships across vineyards, wineries, retailers, and bankers, both locally and globally.

Looking ahead to the next generation of wine industry executives, Stanton Chase is leading the way for them.   Ian is active in the North Bay wine and hospitality education community.  He teaches college-level courses on topics relevant to the wine industry, sits on advisory boards, and mentors students pursuing executive careers in Northern California and across the globe.

With 75 offices in 45 countries, Stanton Chase has an office in proximity to every major wine growing region in the world.  The San Francisco North Bay is a hot-bed for food innovation and entrepreneurship.  Across Stanton Chase, inter-office cooperation and active communication enhances trust and opportunity across continents for the benefit of local growers, winery operators, foodies, as well as multi-national companies.  Executive searches range from the highly visible to the highly confidential, customized for each company’s needs.  When Wine/Beverage/Food/Hospitality executives and owners need help recruiting their top teammates, Stanton Chase is there as their leadership partner…now in the San Francisco’s North Bay.  So, as the leaves fall off the vines in the fields, the wines ferment in the barrels, and executives plan for their 2017 human capital needs, they can now call Ian MacNeil for help!