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Got Goals

Jan 08, 2010

                "I've always felt it was extremely important to set goals for yourself.  After the 1967 season, our entire staff was fired at South Carolina where I was an assistant.  My wife bought me a book entitled The Magic of Thinking Big by David Schwartz.  So I sat down and made a list of all the things I still wanted to accomplish in life, and there were 107 of them.  Some of them involved traveling, some of them were a little crazy, some I'll never reach - I don't know if I'm ever going to learn a foreign language.  I'm not going to be a scratch golfer.  Some of them have happened, like appearing on The Tonight Show and being invited for dinner at the White House.  But my life changed after I made that list.  I think I've accomplished 95 of them."  Always, entertaining, I've found this quote from Lou Holtz to be very inspiring.  Many folks I know don't have this kind of courage and fortitude.

                When you write down your goals they suddenly become real.  For most folks, the process of sitting down and writing out your goals can be motivating.  Written goals help mentally solidify concepts and they become real.  In many ways, it gives individuals a reason to get up and get out of bed.  Without goals that same person might drift from one thing to another, not really doing anything out of the ordinary.  We need clear goals and responsibilities to help us achieve.  Without goals we become just another average person.

                Proof of this came in study by Gail Matthews, Written Goal Study Dominican University.  His findings confirm that people with written goals, shared this information with a friend, and sent weekly updates to that friend were on average 33% more successful in accomplishing their stated goals than those who merely formulated goals.

                Written goals can be scary.  I've met many people who seem terrified by the prospect of having to put their goals in writing.  Until the goal is written down, it is just their idea--something only they have an interest in.  If they don't reach it, they'll be the only one to know.  In effect, it is acceptable for them to fail if they are the only one to know they didn't reach their goals.  Writing down a goal and missing it might cause some else to view them as a failure.  Amazingly, this becomes motivational as well.  The group with the best results wrote down their goals and then shared the goal and the result with someone else.

                For business owners, written goals are critical as well.  Have you written down your goals for 2010?  How did you do in 2009?  For most companies, 2009 was very difficult.  However, one of my clients established a list of potential clients for 2009.  This list was posted on a simple whiteboard in the office of the president.  As each customer was added, a check mark was placed by their name.  By the end of November, a check mark was next to every name on that list.  I am convinced by placing that list in a position of prominence, it kept the president and the organization focused on meeting their goals.  Their work, done in 2009, will set up a very prosperous 2010 for this company.

                As business people, creation of a business plan with written goals and smaller objectives helps divide our projects into increments that can be achieved.  For most business owners, one of the most important relationships is with their banker.  A written plan that is shared with the bank helps both the company and the banker.  The banker will be able to refer to the plan and use it to measure the success of the firm.  In effect, sharing the plan has the effect on the management of the company of making the plan real.  That reality will push the company to take the steps necessary to be successful.  Instead of focusing on small day to day issues, the focus stays on meeting those objectives that are necessary to meet the larger corporate goals. 

                At B2B CFO® we appreciate the opportunity to help companies meet their goals.  Feel free to contact me at mlandrigan@b2bcfo.com.

More from Michael P. Landrigan…

About the Author

Michael is a business professional with over 31 years experience in finance, working as a Controller, Vice President of Finance and Administration, and CFO. In those positions, he has been effective in leading not only the accounting function, but MIS and HR as well.

View Michael’s Personal Website

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