There are several best selling
books, fantastic speakers and video and tape programs on the market for what
is traditionally called goal setting. Ironically, we distinguish between goal
setting and strategic planning as if they are two separate animals. Napoleon
Hill's book "Think and Grow Rich" is one of those books that sits on the fence
as to whether is it a business book or a personal book.
In business, management
tends to seldom marry the two as a method of developing its employees or its
company objectives. Moore's law dictates that technology will double in speed
every 18 months. If this is true the traditional method of annual review of
strategic objectives for some firms lacks the ability to keep pace with change.
When the annual business plan was first developed it was at a time when business
moved quickly but not at the pace of today's technology. You waited for mail
that included the PO or proposal. Time was based on how quickly decisions could
be made. Today you can talk a person through your web site, and decisions can
be made via email in minutes.
As for strategic planning,
Napoleon Hill seemed to be more on target than most strategic thinkers. For
those who are unfamiliar, Andrew Carnegie requested that Napoleon study what
made leaders successful for over 20 years before he wrote his book. Hill had
access to some of history's greatest inventors and businessmen from Albert Einstein
to Charles Schwaab due to this connection. In several pages, unmatched by others,
he outlines a few basic steps to making your vision or strategic plan come true
for both personal and corporate goals. Here's a modification as it suits the
1. A company must have its
goals written down. Everyone associated with the goals must want them or be
willing to follow those who do.
2. Each step must be dated.
By what date will you have accomplished your plans? When driving on a long trip
we check where we are against where we think we ought to be, using gauges, road
signs and our watches. We need to do so in business, also, to inform us of our
3. Post the goals for others
to see. This is not a secret. If no one knows where the organization, group,
team is going how can they get there? The more employees feel "in the dark,"
the less likely they are to follow your lead with 100% zeal.
4. View your strategic plan
daily. Not quarterly, not yearly, but daily. Are you on track? Are the decisions
you are making today in line with your objectives? It's surprising what one
can accomplish if they're informed. When we play sports, we check the time left
in the game or check the score often. In some sports, the score is even announced
as it happens, keeping us motivated.
5. Modify your direction
if need be. There is nothing wrong with realizing that due to the "rapid" (or
what we call "rapid" today) changes in our economy, we, too, must adapt as quickly
as Moore's law.
6. Repeat step one. A clear
strategic planner can paint a picture that everyone can believe in or follow.
Keep everyone motivated as well as informed of your progress. Employees are
looking to be a part of the team as they ask, "What's in it for me." Help them
reach their goals and you will reach yours.
David & Lorrie Goldsmith
are founders of the Syracuse based MetaMatrix Consulting Group Inc. Their firm
specializes in consulting and speaking services. They can be reached at 315-476-0510
888-777-8857 or emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org