Greetings.  It's the middle of December and a perfect time to start focusing on the year ahead.  Sure there's work to be done to close out 2010.  A year that brought its share of challenges to most companies and organizations.  But it's even more important to make sure that we begin 2011 with a clear direction and a commitment to focus our strategic planning and action on the things that matter most.  It beats coming back to the office after the holidays with a boatload of New Year's resolutions, a full in-box, a lack of direction, and no greater sense of clarity about what it takes to be more remarkable.  So prepare to hit the ground running and, while you're at it, make an even stronger commitment to communicate where you are going in a way that inspires employees at all levels to become more engaged, innovate, and figure out ways to deliver even greater value to the customers you have the privilege to serve.

And if you're having trouble figuring out exactly what to say, then start by asking the following two questions:

1.  Why do we exist as an organization?


2.  Would it matter if we disappeared?  

Now the pressure's on…and that's a good thing!

Which reminds me of a story about the time when Oliver Wendell Holmes, the distinguished Supreme Court Justice and legal scholar, boarded a train only to discover that he had misplaced his ticket.  As the conductor approached, Justice Holmes searched frantically–first checking all of his pockets, then his briefcase, then the area around his seat.  But the ticket was nowhere to be found.  Sensing his concern, the conductor said:  "Don't worry Mr. Holmes.  I know who you are. When you find your ticket simply mail it in."  To which Holmes replied:  "But you don't understand.  It's not the ticket I'm worried about, it's knowing where I'm going."

Where will you and your company be going in the year ahead?  And, is it a place worth going to?  Or is it a place that fails to bring out the real genius in all of your people and the full potential of what your organization has to offer?

Train ticket 2

We win in business and in life when we never forget where we're going. And when we make bold plans that enable us to reach our full potential as individuals and organizations.  Maybe it's time to take a new look at your ticket and destination.