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Beyond Survival

September 2, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

by Richard S. Lewine
Read bio here

HR Performance Sites helps organizations to measurably optimize the performance of people and work.

Here we are, knee deep in a recession which is leading many to depression. Many of us don’t know for sure how we got to this place.

We’re unsure which of our many decisions contributed to where we are right now. Maybe it doesn’t matter, except as lessons learned. Our possible futures are really more important, as we can use our past to help us create a different kind of future. What we do with our possibilities depends on how much we believe in ourselves; how high our self-image is; how clearly defined are goals are; and how willing we are to embrace some change.

“Without a system of goals, our only motivation is survival”. When I coined this phrase back in 1977, I didn’t realize just how powerful is was. It was just something that came to me, a realization based on the transition that I was going through at the time. Its impact was brought home to me a few years later when a job candidate told me that the only reason she walked in the door of our somewhat tacky office was because she saw that phrase on a sign in our storefront window. That candidate went on to become a partner and very successful in her own right.

Several of our clients were able to exit their businesses by selling them to outsiders. They tell us that having a system of goals, both personal and business made this possible. Our clients who continue using our goal setting technology long after we’ve finished our consulting gig tell us that it is the difference between just accepting what they think will happen, and getting what they want. “A goal is what you want, not what you think you’ll get”. Another of my epiphany type realizations. Instead of being a victim of your results, you become the beneficiary of your efforts to achieve your desired results.

Creating a system of goals, personal and/or business is no mean feat. It takes commitment, time, effort, thought, risk, and patience. Patience with yourself and with the process.

Now is the time to think about your possible futures. While you’re in line at the unemployment office, or waiting for the person who will be interviewing you for a position. While you’re watching a sporting event or catching a missed episode of your favorite soap. During your lunch break at your job, or while you’re reading a book. Carry pen/pencil and paper with you and when an idea hits you, write it down! More good ideas have been lost on the way from the brain to paper than make the trip. From ideas and dreams come goals. From goals come successes, no matter how they’re measured.

I’d be glad to share the entire goal setting process right here, however, you probably wouldn’t take the time to read all 50 or so pages.

There are many resources available that can help us get the job done and the Internet has made them easily accessible. Effective goal setting isn’t taught in our schools and universities. Rather, we’re told to set goals, but not how. The how is critically important.

When you experience and understand the value of this goal setting technology and what it can do for you, you “won’t leave home without it”!

  1. September 9, 2009 at 2:26 pm

    Richard – great article. The best thing we can do right now is ACT with conviction, commitment, and clarity. Setting and keeping goals, following a plan, all your recommendations are spot on. More than anything, doing something – anything – helps us to get out of the doldrums and feel hopeful for the future. AS HR Leaders, our people deserve nothing less. If the Leaders falter, the staff won’t be far behind. A clear vision with strong action plans will pull us through this. Focusing on woulda coulda shoulda’s just drags us backwards into the abyss.

    Keep the faith and keep on planning and executing!
    Beth Terry, CSP

  2. Alan Weisberg
    September 9, 2009 at 2:54 pm


    Great stuff. It’s not easy continuously reinventing oneself with new goals after 62 years. You are incorrect to assume however, that I would not take the time to read your other 50 pages. I’d love to hear what you have to say!

    Al Weisberg, LFB

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