Selecting Your Next Goal

Some are astounded by their program's success. Some set off an avalanche of ideas and they don't know which one to tackle first. Most are not quite sure what the next right move is.

Not knowing where you want to go is like thumbing a lift without having any destination. Opportunists invariably end up in Las Vegas. Luck, however, isn't a reliable mechanism on which to build any ongoing security for your colleagues, to say nothing of yourself.

In your chosen field there's no shortage of brilliant ideas. Software is a mine of opportunities, and the people who work in information technology have some of the best minds in the world. If you are uncertain about your ideas, someone else is very likely to implant their objectives. Initially, attractive as they may appear, they may not take you exactly where you wish to be.

To avoid confusion, it is important for you to quietly reflect on your next strategic aim before the business takes off. Practically as soon as they were able to move out of their parents' garage, the teenagers who started Microsoft knew that if they could control the market for a computer's operating system, they could afford to produce all the other programs on which they had set their hearts.

Intel knew that by making their processor the de facto choice for the IBM PC (and therefore its clones), they would be able to capture a slice of the market that would enable them to out research all competition.

Cisco knew that by introducing new routers faster than anyone else's they would remain the market leader.

Once you have a clear picture in your mind of what the firm needs to be and do to succeed at the next stage, the decisions that further your aims virtually identify themselves. You may have many objectives in mind, including the following:

♦ Develop your program

♦ Write something new

♦ Raise sales higher still

♦ Concentrate on a particular niche

♦ Win a particular client

♦ Reorganize

♦ Smarten up your image

These are all good objectives and everybody has them. Yet they all miss the point. You don't want to pick from the menu while there is a chance of buying the entire restaurant. The real question is which of these objectives is the magic word to invoke the others? Sometimes the answer is already on your list. Other times you can only put your finger on it if you start to think tangentially.

Once you have a definite strategic vision, sound it out among close colleagues until it's honed. Then, when success arrives, share the next salutation with your team. It's their lives you are dreaming for, too. Once they believe that you can see over the next hill and know how to get there, any blaseness and arrogance that creeps in with success is supplanted by fresh motivation as feet touch the ground again and the firm's morale rises.

As soon as you have the cardinal concept in place, most of the subsidiary choices make their own priorities. Everyone around you will be dying to help. Good ideas should always be encouraged and valued. You just have to ask each volunteer, "Does your idea fit in with company strategy? Can you demonstrate that it is practicable?" If their idea passes these two tests, analyze its business worth with the same severity that you used to pick your original winner.

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