You’ve probably heard or read these before:
• If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.
• A goal without a plan is just a dream.
While preparing for a meeting this past week on goal setting, those phrases came to mind. It’s still early enough in the year that many organizations and businesses are still mapping goals for 2017.
This quote, of which there have been a few variations, is a keeper: "The smallest deed is better than the grandest intention."
What’s great about that philosophy is that it celebrates accomplishment – no matter how small. Sometimes, by steering a series of small steps or victories, leaders can help create the momentum to accomplish the grander visions.
Planning is key. There are plenty of tools available, but one of the simplest to remember, yet effective, may be the well-established SMART or SMARTER model. Using each letter in those words, you develop goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, timely, ethical and recorded.
People tend to love goals. It’s part of imagining a better way, the "what if." But realizing goals takes work. It takes commitment and typically requires meetings – some of them long. It takes brainstorming and compromise. It takes patience and accountability.
January and even February might be among the busiest months for fine-tuning vision and setting goals. But the follow-up steps and strategies in the months that come later will likely determine how serious we are about our grand intentions.
Here are several more quotes about planning (and in some cases who they have been attributed to):
• Plan your work and work your plan. (Napoleon Hill)
• There are three kinds of people: those who make things happen; those who watch things happen; and those who wonder what happened.
• Proper planning and preparation prevents poor performance. (Stephen Keague)
• Good luck is the result of good planning.
• Plans are only good intentions unless they immediately degenerate into hard work. (Peter Drucker)
• Poor planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part.
• Sometimes we need to stop analyzing the past and start planning the future.
• Good business planning is nine parts execution for every one part strategy. (Tim Berry)
• If Plan A didn’t work, the alphabet has 25 more letters. Stay cool.
• The reason most people never reach their goals is that they don’t define them. Winners can tell you where they are going, what they plan to do along the way and who will be sharing the adventure with them. (Denis Waitley)
History buff Gordon Leidner in February is scheduled to have another book released, this one titled "The Leadership Secrets of Hamilton: 7 Steps to Revolutionary Leadership from Alexander Hamilton and the Founding Fathers."
Hamilton, who was a treasury secretary and considered George Washington’s right-hand man, has become "an unlikely pop culture icon in the 21st century, and now his reach extends into the office," according to a news release about the book.
Leidner has written several books about Abraham Lincoln and the American Civil War. He maintains the website GreatAmericanHistory.net
In "The Leadership Secrets of Hamilton," Leidner shares principles that can be applied to modern leadership challenges, including starting a new company and motivating your workforce.
Each short chapter begins with historical events demonstrating how Hamilton or another Founding Father used a featured leadership skill, along with three key actions for success that can be used today.
Anecdotes and quotes help illustrate the key steps to revolutionary leadership:
1. Prepare Yourself
2. Exemplify Moral Integrity
3. Go Beyond Self-Interest
4. Establish Clear Goals
5. Respect Your People
6. Convey an Inspiring Vision
7. Be a Mentor