Chris J Powell

Strategy vs. Tactics: Personal / Professional Goals

In the first two installments of Strategy vs. Tactics I looked at the Organizational Alignment and at Change Management but as always, Monday’s are about the most important person in the universe…YOU!  Now I have talked about Goal Setting in the past and the separation of the Personal Goals from Professional Goals but this was more about the Planning of your own Goals.  Let’s assume you have written them down and are starting down the long road to success…what have you done about them since you wrote them down?


For the purposes of this post I am going to do a bit of a mashup  of some of my clients who have shared some of their personal goals and then look at both the Strategic Planning and the Tactical Steps that we have taken to achieve both the Professional and Personal Goals together.  There is a common thread between the several clients that I will be mashing together:


  1. Deeply Engaged with their company
  2. Long Term Goal Setting has aways been part of their career DNA
  3. Very Positive people


So I had a call with Jane an IT Director at a middle American Healthcare Facility a couple of months ago.  She let me know that she wanted to leverage me to achieve some very specific Goals that she had set for me and for our relationship as client and Account Manager.  The key to this success would be regular contact, she absolutely did not want to let the investment in the resources become an afterthought…she saw the value after our first conversation.  She had worked very hard to achieve certain mile markers in her first 100 days in the position of IT Director but she knew that even with the small team she wanted the title of CIO (one that she had never had before) and that together she knew we could do it.

So we now have weekly calls scheduled together but our first call was all about level setting the expectations of what would happen from both sides of the relationship and how we would measure the overall success because this would be the case for expanding our business relationship 10 fold and gaining additional research seats through out the organization.  So just as I did with proving the overall value of our services to Jane, I focused in on diving into the most pressing concerns she had about getting that permanent seat at the Senior Executive Table and we started with a direct analysis of her Budget and then a conversation about the trends that we could extrapolate from comparing Budget and Staffing Metrics to her 40 closest peers in the Healthcare Industry.


Now Jane is not your typical IT Leader, and maybe it is because she is new to the role or that she feels she has something to prove but she is absolutely driven to succeed but at the same time she wants to empower others to do the same.  Her success CANNOT come at the expense of others…it must come with the building of a stronger chain, one that the weakest link is only the Time she expects that success will come.


Jane also has a similar problem that I share…and that is she does not know how to say NO to requests.  While over the past 8-10 weeks I can tell that she is getting better at delegating and letter her team work more independently (she knows they can do it…but when her Goals are directly related to so many external factors…she really can not let go of the reigns) and I can absolutely relate to that problem as I always take on far more than I can functionally do myself.


For bigger projects though she also knows that she does not have the in house expertise to do everything herself.  We identified several ways that she could speed up the Certification Process of her Capital Projects by bringing in some outside assistance.  This is something that except for really big projects was never done…the team would head off, get trained and then do for themselves.  Now there is something to say about self sufficiency but if you work with the right partners…this can happen through effective Practical Knowledge Transfer.


At the end of the day, while it is an important excercise to build your Goals…the daily, weekly and monthly assessments of where you are within that Goal Framework is key…no one will check it for you…that is your sole responsibility…focus and win!  Build those checkpoints directly into your Goal so that it does not become an afterthought.

One thing that I have learned from working with Jane is that the line that we try to draw when setting our Personal Goals (a New House, Family Trip, new Toys etc) and then start to bring in Professional Goals (new Title, top Performer, big Raise, corner Office etc) and look to how that aligns with the Department Goals (quotas, Efficiencies, Metrics) and with the Organizational Goals (Profit, Growth, Awards etc) then we start to see that the success of the Person, is all to often tied directly back from the success of the Organization and the excercise of backwards looking is key…but never forget that regardless of outward forces…YOU THE MOST IMPORTANT PERSON IN THE UNIVERSE!


Well, today is officially Turkey Day here in Canada and I wanted to share with you just a few things that I am thankful for.  In just two weeks I will be celebrating my 6 month anniversary of The Rants and Musings of a Tech Sales Guy.   It has been a wild ride and I appreciate my clients, colleagues and random visitors who have shared with me how I have helped you.  It is this new connection with each of you that I am most Thankful for this year.

I am also Thankful for the opportunity to have looked past my personal Pride (my darling wife made me “suck it up”) and I got to spend some real quality time with my Niece and Nephew on Saturday…it was a joy and a pleasure – I also got to meet the newest addition to the family and find out that I will be an Uncle again in March.  3 years is far to long to let Pride and general Stubbornness rule the day…but at the same time I don’t think the day would have gone as smoothly if it was not known that the status quo would not fly.


Cheers to you all and happy Thanksgiving to my Canadian Readers and Happy Columbus Day South of the Border.


Chris J Powell


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