It’s ironic to read an article about some aspect of doing business with never-before-seen challenges, and then discover the article was written 100 years ago! So when I recently saw the quote, “Man is a goal seeking animal. His life only has meaning if he is reaching out and striving for his goals,” I was amused to find it was from the philosopher Aristotle who lived in 300 B.C.
Two thousand years later and we’re still recording goals on tablets! There’s much focus today on goals and objectives. Smartphone apps and business efficiency software help us track our progress toward a myriad of goals. Perhaps it’s a case of much that is old is new again.
The discipline of strategic planning requires us to get the fundamentals – purpose, alignment, and direction – right. Aristotle’s use of active verbs “seeking,” “reaching” and “striving” reminds us that we cannot just set the goals, but must execute a plan to get there.
What might Aristotle tell us needs to happen to succeed in this economy, or any other one for that matter? There’s no shortage of reports indicating that most strategic plans miss their targets, so perhaps he’d counsel us to make our goals SMART (specific, measurable, acceptable, realistic, time-bound).
To be measurable and time-bound means to be accountable. A solid plan requires milestones where we must stop to check our progress and correct the course as necessary.
Finally, our success “seeking,” “reaching” and “striving” will be greater if we are passionate about the process. Keeping score is important, but it’s more fun when it’s a game we enjoy.