I am a self-admitted goal-setting addict. My addiction began in my early thirties when I listened to the motivational tapes – yep, back then we listened to tapes on our car tape players – of Earl Nightingale. “You become what you think about” was Earl’s primary thesis and it resonated with me. So, I began to focus on what I thought about by following his advice to write down goals and review them regularly.
This time of year is especially important for my goal-setting addiction, since I formed the habit of formally revisiting and revising my goals on New Year’s Day or shortly thereafter in the tradition of establishing New Year’s resolutions. Three principles guide my goal-setting:
- no more than five per year
- very specific but simply stated
- should be a combination of business and personal goals
Some advise sharing goals with others, but for me they are usually my private guideposts. I revisit my goals on a regular basis throughout the year to assess progress, but in no case do I change them until the following year.
I have learned the hard way that some specific wording can backfire. For example, for many years I set the goal of “breaking par” in golf, my lifelong favorite avocation. My wording was something like: “My goal is to improve my chipping and putting this year, and to break par at least once.” Looking back, this wording implied that breaking par once would accomplish the goal. In 1992 I shot a 69, breaking par by three shots for the first and, so far, the only time. I have since then focused much more on carefully wording my goals.
I have set numerous business goals for Infotech over the years, both cultural and monetary, and nearly all of them have been met or exceeded. Random chance? Perhaps, but as a statistician I think chance explanations are often a cop-out.
The pandemic certainly impacted some of my 2020 goals — some had to be put on hold, others re-doubled. For example, I had some travel goals for my wife and I this year that had to be pandemic-postponed. In contrast, I expanded both the time and frequency of my exercise goals. I also had a goal of working with Infotech Consulting President, and my daughter, Dr. Jamie McClave Baldwin to advance our Consulting business as she has taken the reins and will be advancing our business to the next level. I think the pandemic has actually resulted in our working with increased focus on building and strengthening our team, and as a result we are ahead of schedule on this goal.
I look forward to establishing my 2021 goals in the light of our new reality. My first goal for 2021 is: I will get my COVID-19 vaccination at the earliest time at which it becomes available to me. I’m still working on the other four. I think goal-setting is especially important this year. In some sense the main goal for 2020 was just to get through the year safely, and to help our family, friends, and co-workers do the same.
I believe 2021 is a time to look forward with hope and determination. My goals will reflect a determination to apply lessons learned from 2020 to make 2021 a better year in all respects. If you have never tried goal-setting, with 2020 finally behind us I suggest that 2021 offers an ideal time to start!
Dr. James McClave
I am a self-admitted goal-setting addict. My addiction began in my early thirties when I listened to the motivational tapes – yep, back then we listened to tapes on our car tape players – of Earl Nightingale. “You become what you think about” was Earl’s primary thesis, and it resonated with me. So, I began to focus on what I “thought about” by following his advice to write down goals and review them regularly.
This time of year is especially important for my goal-setting addiction, since I formed the habit of formally revisiting and revising my goals on New Years Day or shortly thereafter, in the tradition of establishing New Year’s resolutions. Several principles guide my goal-setting: no more than five per year, very specific but simply stated, and a combination of business and personal goals. Some advise sharing goals with others, but for me they are my private guideposts. I revisit my goals on a regular basis throughout the year to assess progress, but in no case do I change them until the following year.
I have learned the hard way that some specific wording can backfire. For example, for some years I set the goal of “breaking par” in golf, my lifelong favorite avocation. In 1992 that happened for the first time, and perhaps because of my having been so specific, for the only time to date! More importantly, I have set numerous business goals for Infotech Consulting over the years, both cultural and monetary, and nearly all of them have been met or exceeded. Random chance? Perhaps, but as a statistician, I think chance explanations are often a cop-out.
Pardon me, but I need to get busy on my 2019 goals.
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Dr. Jim McClave
Forty years ago when I founded Info Tech, I had no concept of what it might take to lead a company. My only real job had been teaching and doing research as a member of UF’s Statistics Department. I loved my job, particularly the teaching part, but there was no leadership involved, unless one counts trying to get students motivated to study a subject in which few were really interested and by which most were truly intimidated! In the early 1980s when Tom Rothrock and I became partners and Info Tech began to grow, we necessarily had to make “policy decisions” that affected those joining our little company. I use quotation marks because we had no employee handbook, no strategic plan, nothing more than our instincts on which to base decisions.
Looking back on those early days, I think my Dad deserves credit (or blame!) for my leadership development. I grew up in an entrepreneurial family, with my Dad becoming a second-generation leader of a manufacturing company founded by my grandfather. I observed Dad’s unwavering commitment to his employees; watched him grieve when he lost a truck driver to an accident over one Christmas season; saw him reach quick agreements when the union contract was up for renewal by being transparent and caring during the negotiations. Over time nearly all competitors went under by refusing to change, while Dad worked with his team to make changes that allowed his company to survive and thrive.
So Dad’s leadership DNA led me naturally to adopt his philosophy in developing Info Tech’s culture. I figure we are all into this together, one corporate family, so treating one another with caring respect just makes common sense. Being transparent about our finances, sharing profits in good times, sacrificing together to pull out of bad times, is not only the right thing, but also the smart thing, to do. Treating customers as part of our extended family means doing whatever it takes to make them want to continue doing business with us. While business manuals may advise doing whatever it takes – including if necessary harsh personnel decisions — to maximize profits, Tom and I believe that profits follow naturally from doing the right thing by our Info Tech family and our customers.
The advice that runs through nearly every religious tradition to “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” is actually a darn good guide to business decisions. I’ll close with one example to illustrate this. At some point along the way, Tom and I had to decide what sort of policy regarding employee’s taking paid time off to be with very sick family members. Although I had read about companies agonizing over this, weighing the balance between the cost of time off and lost productivity, the decision was easy for us: Family comes First. Take the time you need, know that your Info Tech family will be supporting you and your ailing family member, and you will be welcomed back when you are ready to return. Our determination to maintain our family culture makes decisions like this easy.
As we transform into a second-generation company and make strategic changes to continue our growth and success, one constant remains: we are determined to maintain our sharing and caring family culture.