Warren Buffett Says …

performance_managementI reviewed an article that was written by Stephen Lynch, wherein he shared some significant thoughts from Warren Buffett. The subject matter revolved around goal setting, prioritization and performance. Here is my take.

Stephen made the following points:

  • A long list of ‘things to do’ is not a strategy. It is just a list of things to do.
  • A long list is most often erroneously called a strategic plan.
  • A successful strategy is based on a careful and thorough analysis of the challenges facing your industry, organization or team. Then you must determine the moves you must take to counter the negative effects and chart a successful course.
  • You will be more successful by focusing on three (3) critical projects or goals at a time.

Stephen cited a story attributed to Warren Buffett to illustrate his point:

A story attributed to Warren Buffett highlights these critical points. The theme of the story is that a person approached Warren with a list of their personal goals, which contained some 25 items that they wanted to accomplish in the next year and beyond. Warren suggested that they highlight the top 5 items that they considered most important and only focus on those 5. “What about the other goals?” the person asked, “Should I do some work on them as well?”

Warren Buffett advised:

“No, you don’t understand. Everything that is not in your top 5 becomes your ‘avoid at all costs’ list. The difference between successful people and very successful people is that, very successful people say ‘NO’ to almost everything.”

OK, you probably can’t tell your team leader that you are given too many goals and that the list must be trimmed to the top five. But the point is that if you have too many goals or priorities at any one time, you have “NO” goals or priorities.

Furthermore, these goals must have a direct correlation to the overall corporate strategy. It would be helpful during any goal setting situation to have a copy of the organizational goals and ask the question: How does this goal support the organizational goal?

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James E. McClain is the author of Successful Career Development: A Game Plan, the book upon which some of our training programs are based. He has over 30 years' experience as a corporate HR executive, small business owner with ongoing experience in career development and as a college instructor. His educational background includes a B.S. and Masters degrees Education and Certification in Financial Planning. Our promise is that "you can pay more for training but you can not buy better training." The mission is to deliver the most effective and cost effective training and development programs.

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