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Secrets of Success

What We’re Supposed to Do

My fifteen- year old daughter, Jane, and I recently ran a 10K race in downtown Baltimore.

As we were walking to the starting line I was going over my goals and strategy for the race.

To be successful you must create a goal, have a strategy and execute.

It’s how I, and many athletes I know, approach our races.

Because that’s what we’re supposed to do.

Many of us spend a great deal of time convinced we know what we’re supposed to do.

What if we’re wrong?

The Problem with Doing “What We’re Supposed to Do.”

The president of a local equipment repair company was frustrated as we spoke.

His accounts receivable people and his operations people weren’t communicating effectively.

Operations would get a call to send a technician to a job. When the job came up in the system it was flagged if the client was over their credit limit. Someone in operations was then supposed to speak with someone in accounts receivable to see if they should send the technician to do the work.

This was not being done.

They were operations.

Their job was to write the work order and send the technician out to the job.

Because that’s what they’re supposed to do.

It was accounts receivable’s job to deal with credit limits.

Because that’s what they’re supposed to do.

Everyone it seems was doing “their job” but somehow the process had broken down.

Was that what was supposed to happen?

What Are We Really Supposed to Do?

As Jane and I were walking to our race I passed some homeless people.

I saw them but I didn’t see them.

Jane did.

Jane it seems had a different idea of what we were supposed to do that day.

As we arrived at the race site she looked over to the tent that contained the post-race food and drink we would enjoy. “After the race let’s take some of that food and give it to those homeless people,” she said.

My fifteen year old, it seems, had a much better idea of our real purpose that day.

We were certainly there to accomplish some personal goals, but there were larger issues.

Ways we could help others.

What would happen in our organizations and in our lives if we redefined what we were supposed to do to always include caring for others?

What would happen if meeting other’s needs was always a part of how we defined our success?

What if the operations and the accounts receivable people decided to sit down and focus not just on their concerns but how their concerns affected each other?

Over the next few days vow to focus on the needs of others as you work to accomplish your goals.

After the race Jane and I took the food and gave it to the homeless. They were most grateful and I felt honored to serve them.

I learned quite a lesson that race day about what I was really supposed to do.

One final note:

I had my best time in years and finished the race several minutes ahead of Jane.

She beat me by a country mile.

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Baltimore, Maryland 21214

phone 410-444-5857

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