Warren Buffet 390 (R).
(photo credit: Lucas Jackson / Reuters)
Billionaire Warren Buffet does not allow his companies to take any action unless
the result of that action is profit. There’s no, “We’ll do this and see what
happens.” However, many business people take a “Let’s see what happens,”
approach in business. Unlike Buffet, they don’t have any sort of plan, or
Branding guru Dorie Clark, a friend of mine and the author of the
forthcoming book Reinventing You: Define Your Brand, Imagine Your Future
(Harvard Business Review Press 2013), taught me about goal setting by using the
The narrative arc is a fancy way of saying every story
needs a beginning, middle and an end. So does your business strategy. Having a
narrative arc business strategy means you, like the character in a book, need a
plan or a good plot line to reach a happy ending.
Like a good book your
business should have a long-term goal. It should also have a short-term goal,
and an intermediate goal. In fact, in a book every action or dialogue a
character takes advances the story. Each and every action you take should
advance your business. You do that by having goals for every decision you
Buffet does. He believes there needs to be profit now, in each and
every decision his people make. That is why he is who he is. He hasn’t been
distracted. He’s not depending on serendipity or some glittering, pie-in-the-sky
promise of “maybe” or “possibly.” Every time Buffet does something he has a
specific goal with a specific purpose in mind.
You should too. Your goals
don’t all have to be financial.
Attaining those goals may make you money,
but making money doesn’t have to be the only goal. When you meet your goal, any
other benefits are “gravy.” But you need a goal to ensure the gravy.
I accepted an invitation to visit and speak at Google, my goal was to give a
talk at Google so I could say I spoke at Google. A goal of “speaking to Google,”
was easy to meet: Did I show up? Did they show up? Yes.
(That’s what lets
me brag about it in columns like this one – see?). Was it a financial goal? No.
But the credibility of speaking for Google will help bring me financial rewards
down the road.
When I did some consulting for a $60 million annual-income
client, the goal was “to help them increase their revenue. “Did the numbers go
up or down after they implemented my suggestions? Having a biggie client to add
to my resume was an extra bonus and a secondary goal.
Svetlova on Channel 9, Israel’s Russian-language channel, interviewed me, my goal
was not to attract new business. It was to have something to send my existing
Russian clients. I wanted them to see that while I may not speak fluent Russian,
I’m happy to work with that segment of business owners and entrepreneurs. My
goal was to increase customer confidence and loyalty.
The same is true
for The Jerusalem Post.
Has writing these columns brought me clients? Sure it
has. But that’s not why I write them. My goal is not to make money. The goal is
credibility. What I do get out of being a columnist is prestige and a
What the Post
gives me is tremendous street credibility, more than
any other publication I contribute to. The Jerusalem Post
is known in the world
today to be the voice of Israel. It is on par with the Wall Street Journal
The New York Times
. And when I’m introduced as “Rabbi Issamar who also writes a
weekly column for The Jerusalem Post
,” I’m associated with the tremendous
credibility of one of the world’s most prestigious newspapers.
that special pixie dust rubs off on me. That is my goal.
When I fly to
the United States next week, one of the stops on my itinerary is Los Angeles.
I’m paying my own way, even though, as of this writing, I have no seminar
scheduled for the west coast. I just happen to have a movie studio client
While I don’t have to go down to California at all, considering we
have never met and the work is progressing along wonderfully via technology, I
have a special goal. I want to get a picture of myself with some of the people
I’m working with. And since I know that’s the goal, anything else that happens
while I’m there – like introductions or new business – is all gravy! So
remember, to get the gravy you have to have goals in place first. That’s how it
works. Gravy comes from the meat, not meat from the
gravy.[email protected] Issamar Ginzberg is a business adviser,
marketer, professional speaker and rabbi who has been published in more than 50