Stretch Goals That Break The Band

So I learned some important lessons about stretch goals. 


You want to have stretch goals because they make your strive to do and be your best. 


When you have to stretch yourself above your normal then you can take yourself to whole new levels of performance and achievement. 


However, if the stretch goals are ridiculously unachievable than you simply set yourself up for frustration and failure. 


Goals need to be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound. 


But too often they are DUMB goals: Directed by others, Unachievable, Made to fail, and Based on false assumptions. 


For example, if someone tells you to jump off that bridge into the whitewater beneath because they assume that somehow you can spread you bare arms and fly–guess what is going to happen to you?


Goals can help you get to new heights of accomplishment in life or they can pull you down in false condemnation and despair.

 

Like in fighting the good fight…be careful when you are sent to the front lines in trench warfare with heavily dug fortifications, machine guns, artillery placements aimed your way and yelled at with no rational strategy to “Advance!”

 

The only place that is going to take you is to an early grave.

 

Instead, fight smart and take the hill when the hill is takable–you save a lot of lives that way and you actually take the hill successfully. 😉

 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

What’s Free And What’s Not

I like this saying and wanted to share it:

“The dream is free, but the hustle is sold separately.”


Yes, this is the home of the free. 


And we are all able to dream BIG dreams.


However, without the hard work and hustle, dream are not made, but rather they die on the vine. 


So dream big–imagine the very best.


Reach for the stars…


And then work your butt off to make it happen.


Choose carefully. 


No one can have it all.


You have to prioritize.


Also, you need to balance. 


In the end:

Dreams+Hard Work+Blessing From G-d


That’s success by whatever standards you measure. 


(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)

Strategy, Strategery, Stratego

Strategy.jpeg

Like the all knowing eye…


Strategy is our way of trying to forge a coherent path ahead. 


Of course, as humans, we are imperfect and don’t know what we don’t know. 


But whether we call it strategy, strategery, or stratego, the goal is to have a method to our madness. 


We can’t just rely on luck, gut, intuition, or subjective whim to get us wherever. 


Having no strategy is brainless following or aimless wandering. 


Strategy means your thinking ahead what you want to achieve and then at least trying your best to accomplish something. 


Ample course corrections allowed and encouraged, as needed. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Crosshair Planning And National Security

 

Crosshairs Diagram.jpeg

So I wanted to share this amazing crosshair diagram…


Not because we currently have North Korea in the crosshairs before they hit us with a nuclear-tipped ICBM.


But rather for how this diagram can be used in strategic planning and enterprise architecture. 


The way this is used is the following:


First, you put your goals in the inner quadrants (or other such division of the inner circle).  For example, perhaps you have a goal to reduce your weight which is now 215 lbs. 


Next you create concentric rings around your goals with each ring representing a time horizon. For example, the first ring could be 6 months, the 2nd ring 1 year, and so on. 


Then for each timeframe in the rings, you put what your target is for that related goal. For example, maybe in 6 months you want to reduce your weight to 210, and then by end of year 1 to 205.


In this way, you can easily show your goals as well your targets over various time frames into the future. 


You can similarly use the other quadrants (or other divisions of the circle) for other goals emanating from the center to the future targets. 


Of course, you can also use this for North Korea–to target above the 38th parallel for dropping a good deals MOABs to clear the enemy and their nukes and missiles from threatening the U.S. and our allies.  The same solution goes for Axis of Evil, Iran, and their endless spread of global terrorism and human rights abuses. 


Targets are for restoring the peace and for strategic planning and these two intersect when it’s comes to national security. 😉


(Source Diagram: Andy Blumenthal)

Driving Your Organization Off A Cliff

Cliff.jpeg

So life is generally supposed to be a series a peaks and valleys. 


There are highs, but also lows.  


No one and nothing can perform at peak all the time. 


Like the commandment to keep the Shabbat, everyone needs a rest. 


And studies have shown that getting a healthy dose of sleep, pause, and rest in life is healthy.


When we force ourselves or others to perform past their “designed” limits, then we risk a breakdown. 


Machines break and people can break. 


The risks are either explosion or implosion: some people can frighteningly “go postal” and others end up on psychiatric medication or even sick and in the hospital. 


What is key to remember is that you can push the limits of performance so far, but then no further without a healthy, recuperative rest period and down time. 


If you want to raise the bar on yourself, others, or your organization, you need to do it strategically so there is a surge forward and then a normative recovery and energy buildup again. 


As we all know, life is a marathon and not a sprint, and the journey is as important as the destination. 😉


(Source Photo: here with attribution to Alan Levine)

Should You MYOB?

Meaning Of Life.jpeg

Great Salt And Pepper comic in the Wall Street Journal today.

“What makes you think the meaning of life

is any of your business.”

Man goes to mountain. 

Man seeks to know the meaning of his existence. 

Mountain tells man to mind your own business.

I guess it’s just not that easy. 

No one will just tell us how each of us is to make our difference in this world. 

Of course, there is faith and religious teachings to guide us.

But each and every one of us must find our path to G-d and our mission to his world. 

In doing that we struggle through life’s trials and tribulations. 

It is painful at times, but we change and grow especially when the pain of what we are doing wrong becomes greater than the pleasure we gain from it. 

The meaning is in the journey and in the destination we seek. 

Our paths are not straight, but winding and hilly and not without obstacles–but it is a trek not only to the mountain, but to the very heavens itself. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Getting A Leadership Washing

Getting It WashedGetting It Washed 2

So I am reading this book called, “What Your Boss NEVER Told You.”


In terms of leadership, a key principle is stated very well here: 

“‘What’ flows down

And

‘How’ flows up.”

Meaning that as the leader, you set the goal, but you don’t tell people how to achieve it.

Micromanagement “stomp[s] out 

creativity, ownership, and commitment.”

To give your people the breathing room to innovate and solve problems and feel good about their work, here’s the ideal manager:

“Hands-off whenever possible, 

and 

hands-on whenever needed.”

And finally the 3 “H’s” of leadership:

1. Honor — doing the right thing (i.e. integrity)

2. Humility — “give away the credit,” but own the responsibility 100%!

3. Humor — “take their work seriously, but themselves lightly.”

Overall, good book to get a clean bill of leadership health. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

 

Prove Them Wrong

Your Not

So I was recently teaching a certification class. 


And this was a very high-caliber class of professionals attending. 


One gentlemen was a wonderful African American who I will call John. 


As part of one of the class assignments, John,  a very successful man, told of how as a young man growing up in the DC projects, a neighbor told him something very hurtful and potentially devastating to him.


The neighbor angrily said, “You’ll never be anything in your life!”


And John described how he pursued his education, his career goals, his family, as well as philanthropic pursuits to give back to the community–and he went quite far. 


He told with great emotion and tears in his eyes how ten years ago, he went back to his old neighborhood to thank this neighbor for motivating him (even though in a negative way) to go as far in life as he did. 


You could hear a pin drop in the class–I think a lot of people could relate to this story in their own lives. 


I know that I for one certainly could. 


For me, while I am a simple person and have not gone so far, I have certainly had an interesting life and lots of wonderful opportunities.


Yet, I too remember more than 20 years ago, when I had taken a job in a wild pursuit in my youthful ambitions that one crazy boss that I was briefly working for who was considerably older than me and with his own business abusively said to me one day, “You’re not half of what you think you are!”


BAM! Like a huge sledge hammer hitting me right across my head–I was still relatively young and impressionable.


Also, I came from a pretty blue collar-type working family and although upwardly mobile, and I was certainly trying to become “more,” I never really felt at all entitled. 


Anyway, the story this student told really brought my own experience hurling back to me from my past. 


In the class, John said–you have to go out and “Prove them wrong.” 


And while I don’t exactly feel that proving others who wish us bad to be wrong is the point, I do agree that we shouldn’t let any of these negative nellies in our own lives drag us down. 


We all have our mission in life–and it’s up to us to become the best people that we can–and to hell with everyone who looks down on us, discourages us, maybe are competitive with us or jealous in some way, or simply don’t wish us the best. 


So John is right–go out there and do great things! 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Work For It

Hard Work

This was an astute fortune cookie this weekend:


“The dictionary is the only place where success comes before work.”


It reminded me of what my dad used to tell me that:


“Nothing, in life, is easy.


Or as my mother-in-law says:


“The world owes you nothing!”


Basically, the messages are similar that we have to work hard for what we want in life.


You have to believe in your goals and your mission. 


And follow through with rock solid determination and perserverance.


It seems in life that almost as soon as one challenge is over the next is ready to begin.


Got to have faith, pray for G-d’s guidance, and be strong. 😉


(Source Photo: Dannielle Blumenthal)

Random Luck My A*s

EA

Here’s an interesting enterprise architecture themed fortune cookie. 


“Good luck is the result of good planning.”


Everybody wants good fortune, but a big differentiator is whether you are willing to think through life’s scenarios, pull together a solid plan (A, B, and C to be on the safe side) and put in the effort and hard work to achieve your dreams and goals.


Fortunes rise and fall likes the tides, but a solid plan (with G-d’s blessings) can take you further than any ocean spans.  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)