Monday, September 10, 2012

Are you doing what matters?

Posted on Monday, September 10, 2012 by International Coach Federation

I might be describing a rather common situation: efforts without results, unfinished projects, wasted time and money on training sessions that didn’t change anything. I have worked with professionals who always wanted to achieve certain results in which they highly invested, but without knowing what really matters or what they should be really doing. It’s exactly what the chair of the American Statistical Association said about people’s lack of orientation: Many make the mistake of starting to write questions without spelling out objectives or what Mabel Newcomer would call it: it is more important to know where you are going than to get there quickly. Do not mistake activity for achievement.

So then, in business, how can you separate the things that matter from the ones that don’t?
- What are the activities that contribute to your evolution?

Is it specific? Just as a commercial contract in vague terms can’t be trusted, vague objectives can’t have a precise or positive finality. Even though in my experience, I have met plenty of managers who believe that doing a lot of things means doing well, in real life, these can only confuse you and make you waste valuable time. One of the American Airlines strategies for a profitable activity is making sure that objectives are precise:

When clients make a phone call to book a seat, they must get an answer in no more than 20 seconds since the initial call is made

85% of the company’s airplanes must take off in no more than 5 minutes since the scheduled hour and must land in no more than 15 minutes since the scheduled hour.

If an objective isn’t clear enough, then it cannot be fulfilled.

Do you believe in what you do? The famous basket ball player, Michael Jordan, has one important principle he keeps in mind when playing in a game: you have to expect things of yourself before you can do them. As longs as what you are doing isn’t useful to your development, it might not work out trying to stick to it. Nothing is more frustrating than investing time and money in something that doesn’t work in the end.

Do you keep track of what you’re doing? At the North Pole, the only way to survive is to constantly move; if you stop moving just for one second, you freeze. We can apply the same principle in business: when you have a clear objective, it is important to stick to it and see how far you can go with it. When you lose focus and begin to invest in things that distract you, you risk losing your way. Of course, this doesn’t mean that the only way to success is seeing the objective only. The only thing that matters is equilibrium and the only way of achieving it is by knowing where you are and where you are headed.

Rodica Obancea, ACC
Rodica Obancea, ACC, is passionate about change, emergence, living systems. She works within business environment, with managers, teams for achieving ambitious results. For more information, visit

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