Charting the Course – be clear on the why

Happy New Year and thank you for your continued interest in receiving, reading and sharing these newsletters that we write. It’s an encouragement to us and we remain grateful for the positive feedback we receive. We’re pleased our thoughts resonate with yours, as we do our best to help people and organizations be their best.

At this time of year, many organizations will be charting a course for the year ahead. Budgets will have been written, plans have been made and goals set. Likewise, it’s at this time of the year that individuals tend to set new year resolutions. But, as I’m sure you know, most resolutions will be broken within a few weeks at best. Sadly, most organizations won’t meet their goals and even fewer exceed the agreed aims. Why is this?

Well from our experience, most individuals and organizations are not clear on their WHY. Whereas most individuals and organizations are pretty clear on their VISION (where do I/we want to get to by when), few are clear on their WHY. Why do I/we want to achieve that vision for success? It’s the WHY that sets the compass, the directional north and will help individuals and organizations navigate through the noise of another new year.

If I may, I’ll give you a personal and organizational example:

Personally, my wife and I have set ourselves a goal to run a half-marathon every six months. Many people will have the same general goal as ours, which is to lose a bit of weight and get a little healthier. Can you see how this goal is clear on the VISION (where do I/we want to get to by when) i.e. run a half-marathon every 6 months but the WHY is a bit fuzzy? I mean who can really get excited about losing a little weight and getting a little healthier?

So we asked ourselves a bigger WHY. Well, we’ve found that many of our fellow ‘empty-nester’ friends seem to lose their own relationship when their children go off to college and leave home (hopefully for good). We wanted to be intentional about investing time together on something we could do with each other. So, we wrapped some more fun around the goal and agreed to run a half-marathon in EVERY state! WHY? We’ve found that most of our American friends haven’t visited more than a few states. We love this Country, and we figured WHY not visit every state by running a half-marathon in each state? Two a year. So that’s a 25 year goal! That should keep the marriage together! I hope this serves as a simple, yet fun way of being clear on the WHY when setting goals.Remember a VISION without action is just hallucination.

In our work, serving organizations all over the country and indeed other parts of the world, we have found that many had lost sight of WHO they were meant to be of service to and WHY. We have a program architecture for strategic retreats called ‘Charting the Course’ and we invest sometimes 30-40% of the day, drilling and pushing and testing to ensure the intact work team are clear on WHO they’re serving and WHY their customers buy their products and/or services. In summary we have found this makes ALL the difference between mediocre and excellent organizations.

So, our top tip (for individuals and organizations) to stay on course to achieve those big goals for this year is to be clear on the WHY. The VISION is important (and many aren’t clear on that), but you will falter and fall short if you don’t stay laser-focused on the WHY.

I’m hoping I can preach this to myself when I’m at mile 12 and every ounce of my being is screaming STOP! I mean it’s a lot of work for a free banana and an energy gel!

Here’s to a wonderful 2017, charting your course.

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