The Big Idea with Ron Davis
Pursue Your Goals With Steely Resolve
If Tim Whall were in the military he would be at least a one-star general. If he entered politics, we’d be addressing him as senator or something similar. But he’s not either of those, or any other title I can think of, other than chief executive of very successful past entrepreneurial efforts, including Cambridge Protection Industries and HSM Protection Services.
Now comes his latest venture as president and CEO of Protection One. Whall is a leader, a winner and an idea guy. So when he has a great idea, we need to at least give it a passing thought, and for some of us, really contemplate what he means. This month Whall has actually selected a concept that virtually all of the important philosophers have embraced, in one way or another, in trying to help those of us who care about goal achievement.
Whall and I had lunch recently, during which I posed the question, “What can you do to more effectively manage a nationwide company?” I was about to add that former Protection One executives Richard Ginsburg and Darius Nevin were a couple of pretty good managers and would be a tough act to follow. But before I could get a word in edgewise, Whall began to explain in detail what he had to do in the first 90 days.
What he had to do, however, was not nearly as important as the fact that he had set a goal, put a time limit on it, and was absolutely determined to get it accomplished. I was about to say to him, “If you were to travel full-time visiting each of P1’s 60 branches, and still be able to run your company, it would probably take you six months to get to all of them.”
Instead, Whall said it for me: “My goal is to get to all 60 branches in the first 90 days of my assuming office. Further, I figured out how I can do this without bothering anyone else in the organization. I’m just going to call Southwest Airlines, tell them where I have to go, and let them do the rest.” He went on to add that Southwest had the cheapest airfares! Whall continued, “Then I’ll make sure that I have a hotel room in each of the cities that I’m visiting, again a chain that is among the least expensive, and I’ll just go about my business of meeting the people who will constitute the team that I want to lead into the next battle.”
The message for us is simple. If you establish a goal, set about a plan on how to achieve it, let other people know what that goal is, and lead with the absolute understanding that you’re going to accomplish it. The likelihood is that you probably will. And when you do, no one will be surprised to learn that not only have you accomplished your original goal, you will also have had the time and desire to go ahead and set the next one or two goals that you have, and so forth.
It’s like watching a great athlete jumping from one plateau to another all the way to the top of the mountain he has chosen to climb.
Ron Davis is Security Sales & Integration's "What's the Big Idea?" columnist and contributing market analyst. He is president of Davis Group, a full-service consulting firm serving the security industry, which also includes GraybeardsRus. He has 35 years of industry experience, including founding Security Associates International in the 1980s.