Long Way to Go and a Short Time to get There!

October 12, 2011

Back in 1977, Bo (Bandit) Darville and Cletus (Snowman) Snow had a job to do. Bring 400 cases of Coors from Texas to Georgia in 28 hours. At the time, no one could buy Coors east of the Mississippi. They were on a mission. They had a goal and a set objective. They were persistent and focused on the task. Simply put, they knew what they had to do and nothing else mattered. Defeat was not in their vocabulary. Of course this is a Burt Reynolds and Jerry Reed farce, and of course we have seen it a more than a few times. It is a great flick.

Now think of this movie from a business and leadership perspective. The guys were small business owners and they were indeed doing business. They knew from past experience that it was okay to have fun at work. Isn’t that what it is all about? In the end, they were rewarded with a brand new assignment; this one as impossible as the last. Bring chowder back from Boston in 18 hours. After a quick switch of cars, they headed north in a bright red Cadillac. They had a job to do and they did it well.

There are leadership, goal, and objective lessons galore in Smokey and the Bandit. Persistence does pay off. The customer is always right. Teamwork is essential. You do not succeed without alliance and collaboration.

A big mistake for leaders today is to combine business goals and objectives as one. Goals and objectives are never the same. The goal to get the Coors to Georgia is different from the objective of doing it in 28 hours. Sadly, businesses confuse these all the time. Often it is to the detriment of all involved.

Here are the main differences between goals and objectives.

  • Goals are general. Objectives are very specific.
  • Goals are broad. Objectives are precise.
  • Goals are intangible. Objectives are tangible
  • Goals are abstract. Objectives are concrete.
  • Goals can never be validated. Objectives are valid (edweb.sdsu.edu).

It is always a great strategy to have your team focus on the big picture. The Bandit did. But he realized that it is always the little things that get you there, and you just can’t do it alone no matter how good you are. You are only as good as your results.

Leaders should always be eastbound and down! Now, is that a goal or an objective?

This post is brought to you by the good folks at Dale Carnegie Training of Alabama, providers of professional development and management development courses and information in Huntsville, Alabama. We would love to connect with you on Facebook and Twitter @DaleCarnegieALA

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