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Is success a goal or a byproduct?

               Look this up sometime in your browser: “Success is a byproduct, not a goal.”  You will find it attributed to tens of originators.  I first heard this in an episode of Friday Night Lights, when sage Coach Taylor began a locker room speech with those words.

                And yet, when I facilitate strategic planning sessions, I often lead executives to create a goal for their enterprise, one which can be reached by successfully accomplishing a series of strategic actions, each of which is braced with a series of tactics to accomplish in its support.  The goal is often stated in revenues, such as “Become a twenty million dollar company in three years.”

                Achieving such a goal is a direct measure of the success of the company’s strategies and tactics.  But in this case, the goal is success, which is counter to the locker room speech by the good coach.

                It is most important to focus everyone in the organization on a goal.  And when that goal is achieved, another should be set, then another.  Achievement of the goal is a byproduct of the successful accomplishment of each of those strategic and tactical actions called for in a good plan. 

                The point to remember is that you, as leader, must set and broadcast a clear goal, one that rallies your troops to succeed.  Don’t let the goal be achieved merely by the accident of good work and practice.  Make it tangible, obvious, attainable with effort, and worthwhile for the players on your team.      In that sense, success is a goal, contrary to the locker room encouragement by the coach.

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