Posts Tagged principles

Goals & Problem Solving



“If you don’t know where you are going, any road will take you there.” – Lewis Carroll

We have all heard this quote many times. Knowing where you are going (having a goal) makes it easy to find the road that will ‘take you there.’  A goal eliminates confusion and prevents working on the problems that will not help achieve it. A goal helps you to focus on only the problems, out of the many that surround you, that matter, the ones that will ‘take you there’. Amazingly, many organizations and individuals do not have a goal. In an organization this is caused by either poor communications, weak leadership or both. For individuals it is from not taking the time to stop and establish priorities.

“As to methods there may be a million and then some, but principles are few. The man who grasps principles can successfully select his own methods. The man who tries methods, ignoring principles, is sure to have trouble.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Principles are critical to choosing your goal. Your principles will lead you to the best goal and give it a lasting, solid foundation. A properly selected goal will give an individual or organization the confidence of clear direction. The shared knowledge of this goal empowers everyone in an organization to work together, powerfully toward a common objective. This gives both the individual and individual members of an organization the knowledge and freedom to act, producing timely results!

Now, let’s examine how having a goal helps solve problems. It is easy to be overwhelmed in business and personally by the number of problems that surround us. Randomly attacking in every direction seems futile and as a matter of fact, it is. Years ago I came up with a metaphor to illustrate how goal setting gives focus to the problems that matter and eliminates the rest.

Let’s imagine you just attended the Super Bowl and the game is over. You are in the middle of the field, surrounded by people that are very tall and well, you’re not. Your goal is to find where you entered the stadium because that is the exit you will use to find your bus. You look around and see nothing but belt buckles, purses and back pockets. You are surrounded 360 degrees with decisions. Which person do I  go around and should I go right or left. Survival school will tell you without a compass or some form of direction you will wander around in circles. Then you look up and above the heads of the crowd you see the flag pole on top of the stadium and you remember it is above the opening where you entered. Suddenly all decisions evaporate into just those that take  you toward the flag pole.

We call this “The Flag Pole Theory”. The analogy demonstrates the value of having a goal. It shows how a goal eliminates working on anything but the problems that take you toward it. While still surrounded by problems you can now focus, on just those that matter. If you are with a group and scattered, with a common goal, you will all arrive at the same exit (your common goal). While simplistic, this metaphor will help you find ‘the road that takes you there’.

“What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals”. – Henry David Thoreau 


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“Learning the secret of flight from a bird was a good idea like learning the secret of magic from a magician.  After you once know the trick and know what to look for you see things that you did not notice when you did not know exactly what to look for.”  – Orville Wright


I love to sail and fly. Ironically they both share the common power PRINCIPLE of air foil. Once learned this PRINCIPLE has many applications and as with all PRINCIPLES, when violated you lose it’s power. Friday’s was founded on management PRINCIPLES that when violated lost their power. We can learn from Orville’s observation and once a PRINCIPLE is demonstrated, continue to learn from it and exploit it’s power.  Research for my book found many highly successful companies, in multiple fields employing the same PRINCIPLES upon which Friday’s was founded with equally outstanding results. Delightfully Friday’s UK is one of the most successful in my research. 

“Rules are not necessarily sacred, principles are.” ~ Franklin D. Roosevelt

PS: The G650 is my metaphorical image of Friday’s during principled flight.

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Generally associated with the worlds religions or organizations like the Boy Scouts, I relate principles to a life well lived and the best way to run any  business or organization. My years of experience have convinced me that the most profitable,  and fun, way to run any organization is through a foundation of principled core values. These values when put to a standard of excellence, with a clear set of goals make up the management formula we call ‘tricept’. This is the formula that was the basis of Friday’s founding theories and philosophies. My upcoming book teaches this formula which is the ‘why’ part of the equation and then with my legendary metaphors we begin the learning of  the ‘how‘. To  fully understand why this is only the beginning of the ‘how’, you need to read the definition of education in the book. What?!?! of course this is shameless book promotion! 

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I, like many of us, have always said I am going to write a book. Supporters have said. ‘yeah, you ought to write a book’. I have always been principle driven. One of those principles has been you must confront your fears. So when sitting on the boat , alone  in the Sacramento Delta,  it dawned on me the reason I had not written a book, was because I was afraid, so it then became imperative. I began writing and quickly realized, while I had a lot to say, I was a better public speaker than writer. I called my long time friend and associate Mikie Baker, AND before I could get the words out she said, ‘it’s about time!’ As we near the finish of the project I will share a couple of thoughts.

First, writing a book is like standing in front of an audience without your clothes on!  Second, and I quote my hero:

“If you are working on something exciting that you really care about, you don’t have to be pushed. The vision pulls you.” ~ Steve Jobs


P.S. I will share a comment from one of our  editors on the ‘Results’ Chapter, “This chapter is the foundation of a subversive plot to overturn a sluggish economy, recession, unemployment – and instigate a complete change in our government! Dan Scoggin must lead this charge! Dan, it’s never too late! Go for it! You got my vote!!! – Forrest


Forrest’s comments makes me feel better about being on stage but  my only interest in politics is being KING!

Dan Scoggin’s book’s working title is ‘Triceptive’. It is about the founding principles of T.G.I.Friday’s, early turn around and subsequent success. It’s about principled decision making in business & life.

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