Thursday, January 8, 2009

If you don't know about Seth Godin, you need to. He writes fun-to-read books that are poignant and practical for anyone trying to work and be happy, or in other works, anyone or any company trying to market themselves or a product and enjoy doing it. The first of his books that I read was Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable. The premise being that you (an individual or a company) will not be noticed or remarked about, if you are like every other cow in the pasture. A Purple Cow - something new, different, and refreshingly authentic - now that is remarkable!

Here is a complete list of books by Seth Godin.

And, you should subscribe to his blog because he posts almost everyday short provocative ideas that help the reader get really honest about what you are doing and how. Here is his most recent post about goals.

The thing about goals

Having goals is a pain in the neck.

If you don't have a goal (a corporate goal, a market share goal, a personal career goal, an athletic goal...) then you can just do your best. You can take what comes. You can reprioritize on a regular basis. If you don't have a goal, you never have to worry about missing it. If you don't have a goal you don't need nearly as many excuses, either.

Not having a goal lets you make a ruckus, or have more fun, or spend time doing what matters right now, which is, after all, the moment in which you are living.

The thing about goals is that living without them is a lot more fun, in the short run.

It seems to me, though, that the people who get things done, who lead, who grow and who make an impact... those people have goals.

The thing about setting goals is that it starts with honest assessment and reflection. You have to critically look and honestly state where you are. This does not include defending how you got there or why you are there. Just state where you are.

Next, you have to decide where you want to go. What placement, position, and quality of service for your organization makes sense for your customers two years from now, five years from now? This step is often short changed because the people crafting the vision get mentally, intellectually, and emotionally bogged down by thinking and spreading the idea that it sure will be hard work to get there from here. It is easy to hear: that's a lot of work! Mr. Been-Here-A-Long is not going to go for this! Can't we just make a few spruce-up type fixes and call it a day? - (as if they customers are so dumb that they wouldn't notice!) When this sort of sabotage happens in the visioning process, you might as well just quit because the process is so severely tainted that it is not worth finishing because it is not true to the mission of the organization. It has been adulterated by the I might fail and it sounds like I will have to change and work harder disease.

If you get get through the honest assessment and the imagining the future parts, then your goals become clear: What do I have to do to get from point A to point B? What resources - financial, intellectual, human, mindset, etc - will I need to get there? Who shall lead this initiative and in what ways are they going to be measured and held accountable? The process has lots of components, but its an elephant you can eat, one bite at a time.

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