I “grew up” in the business world with Steven Covey’s thoughts as a guide … I totally bought into his Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, and am always impressed at just how often those ideas are reinforced.
One of Covey’s seven habit (Habit #2) is to begin with the end in mind. Effectively the advice says that if we clearly understand where we want to get, then it is easier to map out a way to get there.
We see examples in business and in personal life every day …
If you are in sales and are in the habit of preparing for sales calls then you will understand this. Your objective for a call might be to understand if your client has any new initiatives which might be an opportunity for you to work together. By setting that as an objective the salesperson should think through the types of questions that will uncover the kind of opportunities that make sense. The salesperson who does NOT plan, might well spend 45 minutes drinking coffee, talking about hockey, baseball, the kids and oh ya …isn’t the weather lousy!
If you are negotiating on the price of a car you need to understand your boundaries before you begin. What is your top price? What options are essential? Is the colour a show stopper? Do you want extended warranty? Could you get some snow tires thrown in?
If you are in a committee working towards a goal … then you need to understand if you are all headed in the same direction. You (and everyone involved) need to understand what the common goal is? If you have a common goal there is a chance of success … if not, then maybe the goal needs to be redefined!
Once you have “the end in mind” then coming up with a plan that gets you where you need to get becomes that much easier. If it’s a personal goal then what actions are required to get there? What sacrifices in time are needed? What dollar investment is needed? Who can help you achieve your goal? Etc.
If it is a shared goal then how are you going to make sure everyone pulls together. Can you understand everyone’s motivations? Can you find “wins” for everyone? Who is likely to “lose” and will it affect the outcome?
Covey’s “7 Habits” are a must read for anyone in business, and the longer I have been in business the more I understand just what insight Covey had when he wrote that book.
Habit #2 Begin With the End in Mind is a habit to cultivate!