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Maset News

Volume 33  December 17, 2003

Message From Charles Loew
Comments From Our Readers
New On The Maset Web Site
Helpful Hints from fellow Practitioners
Top Ten List
Feature Of This Issue
Second Feature Of This Issue
QBQ! QuickNote
Coming in the Next Few Issues


Welcome to MASET News. A monthly publication dedicated to the communication between MASET and our many interested friends, customers and potential customers




Some religions of the world began celebrating their holidays in November while others will do so in December and January. It would be wonderful if all faiths and all people of this earth could pray together for peace among all mankind. With that wish of peace to each of you, may you enjoy your holiday with your friends and family. May the New Year bring you peace, health and prosperity!

Our feature article, "If Goals Are So Good, Why Aren't They Easy?", by Stanton Sipes, is very timely since many organizations are wrapping up the planning process for the next year and many individuals are about to make their New Year's resolutions. The establishment of the "right" goals is a vital ingredient in reaching one's vision.

"The "V" Formation - a metaphor for Team Work", written by Maset Associate Lory Ann Fischler, helps us understand that often nature provides us many lessons on how to become a better person and operate as a better Team Player.

  • This month, John G. Miller writes in the QuickNote # 7 that trying to find out "who made the mistake" is really unimportant. The important issues are "moving forward by solving the problem and developing a system so the mistake is not repeated. To significantly reduce the number of mistakes made in your organization, contact us at




    "Thanks for the MASET NEWS. I specially enjoyed the article about "what made a good director." - Germany

  • "Great articles again this month. I really like the one in QBQ" - Maryland

  • "Thank-you for your newsletter. It is very valuable, reminding us of principles and ideas to incorporate in our daily business life without having to take the time and incurring the expense of going to a training class. Thank-you!" - California

  • "I am looking forward to the monthly arrival of Maset News. A breath of fresh air in my thoughts each and every time. Plus the "American" very pragmatic way of thinking behind the readings is really refreshing to me and helps me have new insights at business issues." - France
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  • We have not added anything to the web this month. However, there are many new and exciting additions coming up soon in the New Year.
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  • Presence is the most powerful tool a leader possesses.
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    Managing by Walking Around - First Ten of Twenty

    A Checklist for Managers

    The first 10 of 20 Ways to Communicate With Your Employees

    1. Include affected employees in goal setting.

    2. Give frequent and meaningful recognition for a job well done.

    3. Interact with employees on an informal basis.

    4. Go to staff's work area. Meet them on their own turf.

    5. Interact with employees on an informal basis.

    6. Share non-confidential information with staff, and ask for their input and response on issues.

    7. Offset demoralizing actions and events by emphasizing what went well, and use the experience as a learning opportunity.

    8. Listen 80% of the time and talk 20%.

    9. Ask staff what rumors they have heard, and address them.

    10. Get into the "trenches" with staff. Look for opportunities to understand employees' jobs better.

    © 1995 Reid Moomaugh & Associates | Permission is granted to reproduce this document for training and education.




    If Goals are so Good, Why Aren't They Easy?

    By Stanton Sipes

    "Most people aim at nothing in life, and hit it with amazing accuracy". (Anonymous)

    This comment is true for most organizations as well as individuals, and it is truly a sad commentary on the state of the business and personal lives of most people.

    According to Dr. Tony Alessandra, author of Charisma and The Platinum Rule, "Goals, when earnestly pursued, give people reasons to do some things, and to avoid other things". In other words, those individuals and companies who DO have goals behave on a daily basis in alignment with their priorities, and have the ability to effectively avoid the things that do not align with those top priorities.

    "It is easy to spot someone or a company who has a clear set of goals" says Dr. Alessandra. "They exude purpose and determination. They have abundant energy and put more effort into any given task. Being goal oriented helps one become more positive, optimistic, and assertive."

    Goals oriented behavior also leads to success. In fact, a study of college graduates 20 years after their graduation found that only three percent of them had consistently set goals and created plans to achieve them. Those who had were happier, healthier, more content than their peers, and the wealth of that 3% exceeded the other 97%!

    Here are some examples of people who use goals as a cornerstone of their lives:

    Of all the things I have done, the most vital is coordinating the talents of those who work for us and pointing them toward a goal.

    Walt Disney

    Far better to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the grey twilight that knows not victory, nor defeat.

    Theodore Roosevelt, 1899

    We worked furiously to realize our goals. Because we did not have fear, we could do something drastic.

    Masaru Ibuka, Founder
    Sony Corporation ,1991

    One Minute Goal Setting is the first secret and the foundation of the One Minute Manager.

    Ken Blanchard, Author
    One Minute Manager

    Technique, methodology, the process you'll need to follow... this will come to you. Just make sure your aim is good, open yourself to the unexpected, and proceed.

    You don't have to know how you're going to get there, but you must know where you want to go.

    Price Pritchett, Author
    International Consultant

    Goals concentrate our minds, and shape who we are.

    Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner
    Encouraging the Heart


    Why Don't We Set Goals?

    So, setting goals and the plans to achieve them is the precursor to great things, right? Then, why do we not see a much higher level of individuals and companies who set goals?

    Zig Ziglar, noted motivational speaker, and passionate advocate of having a plan in every phase of life, says there are four basic reasons people and companies do not set clear goals and plans.

    1. Fear of Failure- This is the number one issue people deal with. What if we/I don't achieve it? What will failure feel like? That lack of willingness to fail is, more than anything else, the number one resistor to setting goals. People and companies who do set goals have typically had their share of failures, and have learned from them.
    2. Lack of Positive Self Image- I/we don't deserve it. Surprisingly, this is a very significant factor that prevents goal setting. Achievement is a great self-worth builder, and if this is the issue, setting short-term goals that allow the company or individual to experience success is a vital first step in becoming goal oriented.
    3. No one has Sold Them on Setting Goals- Goal oriented people and companies are every where you look, and they can provide great mentorship to a company or individual looking to be goal oriented. Those who are goal oriented love to tell their story, so search them out and learn!
    4. Don't Know How- An entire industry of Management and Leadership Training and Consulting was born out of this fourth factor. Believe it or not over $76 Billion is spent annually in the United States by companies and individuals on consulting, training, higher-learning and business books. There is a huge appetite for learning how to get more out of business and personal lives, and that will not likely change as we move into the next century.

    What is a Goal?

    Where it all begins is with what is called the Goal Statement. It is the rallying point, the point on the mountain top, the "stuff we really want", and if a goal is to be achieved, it has to be clearly stated.

    In effect, a goal is exactly what we want to achieve within a specific time frame. If we have this in mind then, we have our goal, right? Wrong!

    Until this goal is in writing, it is merely a wish. That is where most potential goals reside today... in the minds of the millions of us wandering around. Until it is written down, it is invisible. Giving a goal visibility, or writing it down, is the essential step necessary to "release the energy" that is required to do the tasks necessary to achieve the goal. It also allows others who are undoubtedly critical partners in the achievement of the goal to see it as well, and to participate in that success. If the wish is in your mind, how will any of your critical partners know that they have a role in your success? How will you know what role you play in the plans of others if it is their mind? I guarantee you that people surround you every day that are wondering why you are not doing what they would like you to do in order for their goals to be accomplished. Unfortunately, you have no idea what those goals are, and as a result, are incapable of helping.

    The first rule of goal setting is the commitment to Write Them Down!

    How To Write A Goal

    Next, after there is a commitment made that we will write them down, you need to write them in a clear, understandable manner so that all actions required to achieve the goal will be easily created. Foggy goals create foggy behavior, and there are many good guidelines to writing goals that have been created since Peter Drucker first began writing about goals in the 1950's. We are going to lay out the guidelines of a SMART Goal.

    What is a SMART Goal? One which is Specific, Measurable, Action Oriented, Realistic, and Time Bound. If we write goals that meet these guidelines, we will have created a well written goal.

    • Specific
      • Does the goal include enough detail for decisive action?
      • Is it easy for others to translate the goal into outcomes?
      • Is the goal stated with a simplicity and clarity that ensures clear and broad understanding?
      • Is the goal easy for others to align with?

    • Measurable
      • When you achieve the goal, will there be tangible evidence of its completion?
      • Will the evidence of the goal achievement allow for evaluation of its quality?
      • Can you communicate and record results versus expectations?
      • Could others easily quantify the results of completing the goal?

    • Action Oriented
      • Are you able to describe what needs to be done?
      • Is the goal stated in an energizing manner?
      • Are there concrete steps that can be taken to realize the goal?
      • Would others be energized by the goal?

    • Realistic
      • Given the time and resources available, are you likely to reach the goal?
      • Is the goal sufficiently challenging?
      • Have you taken into account the likelihood that unplanned events may arise?
      • Can you create a "Plan B"?

    • Time Bound
      • Have you set a specific date for completion of the goal?
      • Can you break down the goal into key accomplishments in order to gauge progress?
      • Do you understand the sequence of events required for completion of the goal?


    Always test your goal against these guidelines before you set them in stone, because without all of these guidelines being met, we build in confusion and as a result, likelihood of failure. We want to achieve these goals, right? So make them SMART!

    Since we all have likely gone through the process of buying a house, here is an example of a goal statement that you should be able to relate to:

    We want to buy a house for $250,000 or less, with 3500 sq ft, preferably one story ranch style, in the ABC School District, by March 1st of 2004.

    Is this a Specific, Measurable, Action Oriented, Realistic, and Time Bound goal? Yes, it meets all these requirements, and once written and put in front of the family, real estate agents, title company, and any other people who are critical members of this process, it stands to reason that it will be accomplished.

    Achievement Requires Effective Execution of the Plan.

    Now that we have taken our ideas from our head and created a clearly written set of SMART goals, we are now challenged to execute the plan that will take us to the promised land.

    Execution requires what we refer to in GoalCentrix as the five C's:

    • Commitment- Across the entire span of people who will be responsible to accomplish any portion of the plan
    • Communication- On a constant basis, communication processes are necessary in order to inform one another what has been done, what remains to be accomplished, and what needs to change.
    • Collaboration- Several heads are always better than one. Having a collaboration methodology in place that allows team members to make decisions, run meetings, understand responsibilities, etc is critical to success.
    • Consistency- Having a predictable way of operating together. When will we meet? Who will attend? Who is responsible to do what? What type of reports do we need? People are more successful who have a clearly established set of behavioral guidelines, and making them consistent ensures constant forward motion.
    • Constant Awareness (Knowledge)- Making decisions requires knowing exactly where we are with respect to where we said we would be. In today's competitive world, this is becoming more and more critical to organizations that are trying to integrate a goal oriented culture.

    In our next article, we will concentrate on that what is required to effectively execute a plan, and how technology is being created that can drive that plan execution. Good luck with your SMART goals, and from GoalCentrix, enjoy your holiday season!

    Stanton Sipes is the co founder and CEO of GoalCentrix, a software company that has created the Leading Goal Achievement System. Their software automates the processes of goal achievement for individuals and teams, including goal writing, plan creation and assignment/delegation, puts those goals in front of the user daily, and it drives effective plan execution. GoalCentrix integrates with applications like Outlook, ACT! And others, and allows the user to put everything in their world in one place, increasing dramatically the probability of success for individuals and teams. For more information, go to




    The "V" Formation - a metaphor for Team Work

    By Lory Ann Fischler

    This Spring when you see geese heading back north for the summer flying along in "V" formation, you might be interested in knowing what scientists have discovered about why they fly that way. It has been learned that as each bird flaps its wings, it creates an uplift for the bird immediately following.

    By flying in "V" formation, the whole flock adds at least 71 percent greater flying range than if each bird flew on its own.

    Basic Truth No. 1: People who a share a common direction and sense of community can get where they are going quicker and easier because they are traveling on the thrust of one another.

    Whenever a goose falls out of formation it suddenly feels the drag and resistance of trying to go it alone and quickly gets back into formation to take advantage of the lifting power of the bird immediately in front.

    Basic Truth No. 2: There is strength and power (safety, too) in numbers when traveling in the same direction as others with whom we share a common goal.

    When the lead goose gets tired, he rotates back in the wing and another goose flies point.

    Basic Truth No. 3: It pays to take turns doing hard jobs - with people or with geese flying north.

    These geese honk from behind to encourage those up front to keep up their speed.

    Basic Truth No. 4: Those who are exercising leadership need to be remembered with our active support and praise.

    Finally, when a goose gets sick or is wounded by gunshot and falls out, two geese fall out of formation and follow him down to help and protect him. They stay with him until he is either able to fly or until he is dead, and then they launch out on their own or with another formation to catch up with their group.

    Basic Truth No. 5: We must stand by those among us in their times of need.



    QBQ! (The Question Behind the Question) QuickNote #7

    John G. Miller
    Author of the QBQ! book.

    "Who dropped the ball?"

    Being a new employee can be confusing, especially in a fast-paced and high-stress industry like the mortgage business. Sarah didn't complete and turn in the "right" paperwork to the payroll department. Her first payday rolled around and - no check. Ouch. The director of the field unit caught wind of this problem and called the home office only to be asked, "Who made the mistake?" Upon hearing that, the director responded with this simple yet powerful statement: "Well, if it gets Sarah her check, then I did!"

    "Who dropped the ball?" - does it matter? Not to leaders - at all levels - who recognize this truth:

    All problems are in the past, solutions are now.

    Leaders don't care whodunnit, they care about moving forward by solving the problems, removing the obstacles, clearing the hurdles. Do you have finger-pointing in your organization? You probably do since it was once written, "Where two or more are gathered together, there also shall be blame!"

    It's easy to see that questions like "Who dropped the ball?" and "Who made the mistake?" are all about blame. But what about these?

    "Who's going to clarify my job?"

    "Who's going to fix the problem?"

    "Who's going to give us the vision?"

    These are also a form of blame because they're essentially saying, "I will externalize - or blame outside forces, people, and events - for my results and station in life." And even if questions like these feel justified, the fact is they just don't get us anywhere. Taking ownership, like the director in our story, is a far better approach.

    Ownership is a word we hear a lot, but let's define it:

    A decision to fix the problem and no longer affix the blame.

    Walking through the door each day and saying "I own this place!" sure would be a fun way to start the day, wouldn't it? Can you visualize the caring, commitment, creativity, and camaraderie that would result from this type of leadership thinking? If nothing else, it'd break down barriers, build teams, increase our effectiveness - and get rid of the "We/They" mentality so prevalent in most organizations.

    One field sales force of hundreds has affectionately labeled their headquarters with this name: The Sales Prevention Club! Think about that one for a moment or two.

    When we stop playing the Blame Game the real fun begins. So let's not waste any more time and energy affixing blame and perpetuating a "We/They" mentality. Let's each of us instead practice personal accountability today by asking these QBQ!s:

    "What can I do today to contribute?" and "How can I fix the problem?"

    Remember, I own this place!

    John G. Miller

    author of the QBQ! book




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