Everybody in this industry talks about goals and dreams (the terms, to a degree, are somewhat interchangeable–though I think goals are more finite and short-term oriented, and dreams often convey a “bigger than life” scenario that are longer-term but oftentimes too esoteric and intangible).
There’s a big difference between an accomplishment-oriented dreamer and a daydreamer.
An accomplishment-oriented dreamer sets tangible dreams. A daydreamer doesn’t.
An accomplishment-oriented dreamer tracks and assesses her progress. A daydreamer doesn’t.
An accomplishment-oriented dreamer knows precisely the next action steps needed to move the few steps closer to accomplishment. A daydreamer doesn’t.
The biggest difference is in the action of it.
For example, I hear people tell me all the time they want to “Go Diamond”, and while I think they think they mean it what they often don’t realize is there’s a giant chasm between their desires and accomplishment of their dream. And often it’s the “Next Action Steps.”
There’s a really good book on organization skills called “Getting Things Done” by David Allen. Pages 75-77 explain a simple concept that’s critical for the success of project management, but dream/goal management isn’t really that much different. It’s just a really really big project. And a really really important one.
The magic on those pages is the simple concept of a “Next Action” for each of the projects. Specifically, every project needs to have a “Next Action” that is required in order to keep it moving. And it’s not what you need to do next year, next quarter, or next month. It’s what you need to do today, tomorrow, or this week.
At Convention I challenged everybody with the “Dream Cubes”, and to try to set an achievable dream/goal in each quadrant of your life: business, cultural, physical, personal.
Then, perhaps equally importantly, on the flip side of the cube there’s a square that lists out the “Next Actions” in order for you to accomplish these dreams. It’s the very things you need to do this week, however small, to move you closer to your dreams.
I’ve been following this process as well, with both some success and failure. Right after Convention I completed my Dream Cube, and I’m including a picture of the front and back below.
The front, of course, are my dreams. These are simply stated, and each of them has a timeline for completion–all of them are to be done by the end of 2009. Yours might be radically different, the dreams might be for three or six months from now, or maybe not for another 12-years. Whatever works for you. But once I’m done with one quadrant I’m going to re-up for something that’s bigger or different in each part of my life.
As you look to goal setting for 2009 I would really encourage that you think about the balance in your life and the various areas where you want to make an impact–the business is vitally important, but so are the other areas as well.
For example, for me there are a few important areas outside of business that I’m focused on. One of my culturally dreams is on my mind right now; when we talk about the importance of Servant Leadership in our Company, I think it’s not just about what we do and how we act at the Company but how we serve outside of it. If I’m ONLY trying to serve associates, well, this is good–but there’s a part of my life that is unbalanced, whether that be serving my family, community, etc. So a part of my cultural dream for the next year is to spend some time at an important place to me for a few weeks volunteering, while also participating in some consistent volunteer organizations in my local community.
Naturally, I’m pretty aggressive with my business dreams–being aggressive and focused on the business dreams has never been a problem, though this year I’m writing some very specific “Next Action” steps for each of the areas important to me including the business dreams.
It’s important that each of us realize that if we had a mediocre plan for 2009, we could still achieve great success through phenomenal execution.
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