The Christmas and New Year’s celebrations are over, now we are fully locked into the new year. In anticipation of moving into a new calendar year, many of us are also engaged in the annual practice of making resolutions or setting goals.
These can range from stopping bad habits and starting good ones, to assessing the past year and determining new goals for the next 12 months.
Experts in planning tell us goals should have at least three common characteristics: They should be specific, they should be measurable, and they should be attainable. "I intend to do better" is none of the three, since it is vague, has no means for evaluating whether and when it is achieved, and "better" can always be a moving, frustrating target.
Let me suggest a goal many of us could pursue, although its implementation would depend on our unique workplace circumstances. Here is the goal, borrowed from Heath Eslinger, head wrestling coach at the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga: "The goal of every leader should be life transformation. Great outcomes are the result of great people. Be in the business of people."
This is a goal we all could embrace, regardless of our levels of responsibility. Yes, we need to pursue profits. We also should demand to provide quality products and services. If we are to stay in business, excellent customer service is a non-negotiable. But we find people at the heart of each of those objectives. As has been said many times, "You win with people."
We repeatedly find this principle in the Bible, in both the Old and New Testaments, applied to people whose goals and desires aligned with God's. Israel's King David serves as a good example:
People having the right heart. In choosing a king of Israel to succeed King Saul, God did not choose an individual that simply passed the "look test." Instead, He selected a young man who was right on the inside. "After removing Saul, he made David their king. God testified concerning him, 'I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do'" (Acts 13:22).
People having the right spirit. After falling into grievous sin, David did not seek to deny, ignore or cover up his failings. Instead, he asked God to forgive him and restore their relationship. "Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.... Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me" (Psalm 51:10-12).
People having the right attitude. David exhibited a humble, teachable spirit that the apostle Peter also described. "Young men...be submissive to those who are older. All of you, clothes yourselves with humility toward one another, because 'God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.' Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time" (1 Peter 5:5-6).
Robert J. Tamasy is vice president of communications for Leaders Legacy, Inc., a non-profit based in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A. Bob has written Business At Its Best: Timeless Wisdom from Proverbs for Today's Workplace; Tufting Legacies; and coauthored with David A. Stoddard, The Heart of Mentoring. His biweekly blog is: www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com.