I am currently reading a book that I am enjoying titled Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…and Others Don’t. (I freely admit I am constantly reading a book of one kind or another.) This book is an investigation into and study of the factors that lead some companies to sustained greatness while seemingly comparable companies fail. If you have an interest in business, I highly recommend it!
This is the start of a new year and a time when many of us make resolutions and create new business plans, full of good intentions and hopes for success. In my reading in Good to Great last night, I ran across a thought, a quote, from George Rathmann, co-founder of the biotech company Amgen, referencing the time he worked for Abbott Laboratories. In an interview for this book, he is quoted as saying,
“What I got from Abbott was the idea that when you set your objectives for the year, you record them in concrete. You can change your plans through the year, but you never change what you measure yourself against. You are rigorous at the end of the year, adhering exactly to what you said was going to happen. You don’t get a chance to editorialize. You don’t get a chance to adjust and finagle, and decide that you really didn’t intend to do that anyway, and readjust your objectives to make yourself look better. You never just focus on what you’ve accomplished for the year; you focus on what you’ve accomplished relative to exactly what you said you were going to accomplish – no matter how tough the measure. That was a discipline learned at Abbott, and that we carried into Amgen.”
I think that’s excellent advice. I think going into the new year with our plans and resolutions set, knowing we will make no excuses for our performance but will measure absolutely against the standard we’ve set, is an excellent resolution in itself. I have set goals for myself, ambitious but not impossible, and I like the idea of “no excuses” as I move forward. What about you – are you willing to be rigorous in examining your performance at the end of this year? As we all move ahead into 2015, here’s to the courage to set goals and then to being fearless in our evaluation of what we do, and don’t do, to achieve them. And from me to you, here’s to all your dreams coming true in the months ahead. Don’t hesitate to let me know what I can do to help you achieve them!