By coincidence I met a good friend recently in a coffee shop, and of course as good friends do, we had to sit down and have a cup together. Well, if I am being precise, she had coffee and I indulged in a yogurt. I always enjoy speaking with Stacey because our conversations are always enlightening and refreshing. As two contemporaries and professionals in our own spheres we typically share experiences, ideas , aspirations, and such like.

We used to work as colleagues some years ago, and now all our encounters are by chance, but whenever we meet, it is always refreshing. It is like two swords crossing in a friendly exchange – “iron sharpening iron”. Therefore, it is no surprise that most times after the encounter I feel a deeper sense of purpose and that deposits are made into my intellectual toolkit.

Case in point, when we met yesterday and were discussing organizational dynamics , Stacey said this, “They don’t even know what good Looks like!”. This statement was etched into my mind and I had to marinate on it long after our conversation. This statement was made in relation to many companies operating on auto pilot without a clear landing strip in their sight. They might know what hemisphere or region they want to fly to, but to a much lesser extent they cannot pinpoint  the Latitude and Longitude of where they must land.

I am putting forward that the reason for this is, before embarking they did not clearly define and identify what the destination (end) will look like. Sometimes organizations do not take the time to examine and see what the end or their future state should ideally be. – they define the path with little consideration to the destination.

It is like this; I can plan a vacation and simply say I want to go to Florida for a holiday. But it can be better by first saying, “What does a good vacation look like for me?”. Start by defining what the end of the vacation looks like (The Good) and work backwards from there.

A good vacation for me is, “lovely beaches, great scenery, wonderful food, meeting new people and a general sense of total relaxation”. Now once I define my idea of good I can carve out many paths to get there and I might realize that Florida is only one option to get there. This approach also gives a greater sense of expectation and purpose, because I can now work towards achieving a good vacation since I have clearly defined what GOOD is.

Another way of looking at it is, “What is our clear standard of achievement?” or, “What does success look like to us?”. It is about zoning in on the target we want to hit, and not just zoning in, but also making sure it is the best possible target to land on – the better the archer aims, the more accurate the shot.

This concept of focusing with the end in mind is effective, and also not new. Yet still many of us do not adopt it. We commence our objectives without fully crystalizing what good should look like at the end.

Taking a narrower view of this we can scale down from the organization itself and look at it departmentally. How much of us have set the standard as to what good looks like in our department? This can even apply to everyday things around the home as well. Have you established what a good well kept home looks like? Have you given thought as to what a good atmosphere in the home should be?

On a personal level, have you defined what a good marriage looks like for you? Have you defined what a good relationship with your kids is? If you have not done this then one can argue that you might just be flying on autopilot.

If this is the case, then now might be an appropriate time to define what good should look like in the various facets of your life. If you don’t clearly define and understand what good looks like, you will accept subpar performance and standards of delivery. Then if this goes on for too long you run the chance of the abnormal becoming normal and this is not an optimal place to be.

My recommendation is to clearly articulate what good is and then go all out to attain and maintain it. Don’t just go all out to reach it but also ensure others around you also know and understand the standards you aspire to. Would it be easy? NO. Would it be worthwhile? YES! I can assure you, if you apply this concept then you will achieve more, feel a greater sense of satisfaction, and add tremendous value to those around you.

Now for those of you who are thinking that they have already established good standards around them or those who want to know what’s next after attaining new levels of good. Well, then I encourage you to read the book “Good to Great” by Jim Collins. Jim states:

“Good is the enemy of great. And that is one of the key reasons why we have so few that becomes great. We don’t have great schools, principally because we have good schools. We don’t have great government principally because we have good government. Few people attain great lives, in large part because it is just so easy to settle for a good life. The vast majority of companies never become great, precisely because the vast majority become quite good and that is their main problem.”

In short, Jim teaches that one of the reasons we don’t become great is because we only want to settle for good.

“Greatness is not a function of circumstance. Greatness, as it turns out, is largely a matter of conscious choice” –Jim Collins.

PS: Dane Miller was last seen with pen and paper rewriting definitions of what good must look like in his life.

Your Brother in the Lord,

Dane Miller | Author

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