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!

To be an effective Second-In-Command (CFO, COO, President, etc.) you have to have the confidence of the Boss. Here is how to do so…

Paul Herrerias facilitates the Marin Chapter of the COO Forum as their Chapter Director.  His Chapter members recently brainstormed how to gain, nurture, and keep the confidence of their bosses (Owners, Founders, CEO, Board Chair, etc.).  This is a real challenge for many COOs and Second-In-Commands. Here are some ideas we suggested.  Can you recommend some more for us?  Thanks!

1. Communicate UP

  • Manage the barrage of ideas from the top (record, consider, respond to each of them)
  • Provide written, regular, frequent reports on the business’s progress: Let them know you are in control of operations.
  • Provide quantitative analysis where possible to support your analysis and recommendations
  • Use their own words when you are reporting back (visions, goals, values, assessments, etc.)

2. Manage perceptions

  • Report back formally, so they know you are “following up” and “following through” on their ideas and requests.
  • Communicate the company’s current “story” so they know you are in control.
  • Play to their egos when appropriate, so they will be more prone to listening to you and hearing you.

3. Work to create unity in vision, values, and priorities up and down inside the organization.

  • Ask them to Define and then Rank their priorities.
  • Find common words, expressions, and language for everyone to use.
  • Reinforce management philosophies and desired cultural shifts by handing out copies of management books as support tools and visual reminders to staff and bosses.
    • Raving Fans (Blanchard)
    • One-Minute Manager (Blanchard)
    • The Five Dysfunctions of a TEAM (Lencioni)

4. Your ideas?

Thank you…

To be an effective #2 In Charge…you have to have the confidence of #1. Here is how to do so…

 

Our Group brainstormed how to gain, nurture, and keep the confidence of our #1’s (Owners, Founders, CEO, Board Chair, etc.).  This is a real challenge for many in our COO Forum.  Here are some ideas we suggested.  Can you recommend some more for us?  Thanks!

  • COMMUNICATE UP
    • Manage the barrage of ideas from the top (record, consider, respond to each of them)
    • Provide written, regular, frequent reports on the business’s progress: Let them know you are in control of operations.
    • Provide quantitative analysis where possible to support your analysis and recommendations
    • Use their own words when you are reporting back (visions, goals, values, assessments, etc.)
    • MANAGE PERCEPTIONS
      • Report back formally, so they know you are “following up” and “following through” on their ideas and requests.
      • Communicate the company’s current “story” so they know you are in control.
      • Play to their egos when appropriate, so they will be more prone to listening to you and hearing you.
      • WORK TO CREATE UNITY IN VISION, VALUES, AND PRIORITIES THROUGHOUT THE ORGANIZATION.
        • Ask them to Define and then Rank their priorities.
        • Find common words, expressions, and language for everyone to use.
        • Reinforce management philosophies and desired cultural shifts by handing out copies of management books as support tools and visual reminders to staff and bosses.
          • Raving Fans (Blanchard)
          • One-Minute Manager (Blanchard)
          • The Five Dysfunctions of a TEAM (Lencioni)
          • YOUR IDEAS?

A Capitalist’s ethical dilemna…

The Wall Street Journal today posted an article about how RockPort Capital may have crossed the ethical line…they did three things that alone would seem innocent, even praiseworthy:

1) The serve on a Pentagon panel to help the U.S. government find emerging technologies;

2) They invested in Solyndra, the solar panel manufacturer; and

3) They lobbied on Solyndra’s behalf to win a contract with the U.S. Navy.

Nice of them to provide the “extra value” to their portfolio company, which is a desired outcome for most entrepreneurs when they select a capital firm to support them.  But, taken together, was their lobbying effort a conflict of interest with their other patriotic activity of guiding the govenrmnent’s support of emerging technologies?

As  board member of the American Institute of Ethics, our mission is to raise awareness of ethical issues.  To learn more, visit www.aieweb.org or contact me directly.  Keep the conversation going…