On Management

Dec. 21, 2004
Achieve those dreams.

The world is a difficult and challenging place as we sit on the threshold of the new millennium. Change is more rapid and radical than ever. Personal responsibility appears to be in decline. Values are shaken by the events of the day. Against that backdrop, what should your goal be as you enter the next century? My answer: ACHIEVE what you dream of doing. I've identified seven critical attributes that are powerful keys to achieving in the life of business and in the business of life.

  • Action -- Get the job done. Be a self-starter. Be proactive, not reactive.
  • Common sense -- It isn't very common. It's a blend of experience, judgment, intuition, knowledge, integrity, and the courage to listen to your instincts when others (or even the facts) don't seem to agree or make sense.
  • Hard work -- In the words of legendary Green Bay Packers Coach Vince Lombardi, "You've got to pay the price." Hard work requires determination, relentlessness, and persistence.
  • Imagination -- As Albert Einstein put it, "Imagination is more important than knowledge." But I would add: Never stop learning. In order to constantly add to your imagination base you must keep your mind open to new ideas.
  • Energy -- Be a mover and a shaker, but be sure your energy is channeled in a positive direction.
  • Vision and values -- Dream big dreams and then go after them, always staying true to your values, the internal beacons that keep you on the right path, even though expedient, short-term victories might come easier if you cheat just a little.
  • Enthusiasm -- It's infectious. It attracts others to join and help you. Everyone appreciates a person with an enthusiastic, positive mental outlook.
The world is changing. As we reach the end of this decade, factory workers make up less than 15% of the total workforce. The Industrial Age as we've known it is in its declining stage. But what is not declining is the scope of opportunities for those who know how to achieve. What the future holds is uncertain, but it will be dynamic and different. One thing will remain the same, however: People still will be the essential, decisive ingredient for success. Teams of people -- working together, interacting, collaborating, cooperating, communicating, and competing -- will create value in a new and brighter future. As management expert Peter Drucker advises: "The best way to predict the future is to create it." He's right. When I was 18 years old I read something in a little book entitled I Dare You that I received from William H. Danforth, the author, who founded Ralston Purina Co: "I dare you, whoever you are, to share with others the fruits of your daring. Catch a passion for helping others, and a richer life will come back to you." The world is like a mirror. Smile and it smiles back; frown and it frowns on you. "It is one of the most beautiful compensations of this life," said Ralph Waldo Emerson, "that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself." High expectations generate high results -- and vice versa. So set high goals for your future. Dream big dreams of what is to come -- for yourself and others. Take responsibility for your own actions and the outcomes, because no one else will. Go out and make the world a better place for all the people you touch. Do it in your own unique way, by being true to yourself and to your values. Then, when you lay your head on your pillow at night, you will sleep secure in the knowledge that you gave all that you had -- your intellect, your body, and your soul -- to achieve your vision. And you can dream of tomorrow, a new day during which you can create the future you envision. John Mariotti, a former manufacturing CEO, is the author ofSmart Things to Know About Brands(1999, Capstone Ltd.). His e-mail address is [email protected].

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