This coaching moment is for the achiever. The go-getter. The person who believes in goals.

There are Three (3) Tools You Need for Your Next…

Year, season, journey, challenge, goal. Whatever you want to call it, you will need three tools. These tools are a way of thinking. They are tools for collaborating. They are individual questions you need to answer. They will provide focus, alignment, energy, and ownership. Just as important, these three tools will keep you from taking shortcuts, looking for quick fixes, assuming, and simply fooling yourself. As a bonus, these three questions will keep you from chasing after the wrong questions.


The first question is the starting place. It’s the first tool. Here it is. WHAT exactly do you want to accomplish? The correct answer is not a long list of goals. It is probably not the first thing that comes to mind. One of the top reasons we do not achieve our goals is because we have identified too many. Too many goals equal failure. Too many goals is the equivalent of zero goals.

The reason why we list a multitude of goals is because it is easy. To separate good goals from your one main goal, your chief aim is difficult work. What we forget… it requires about 80% of a disciplined life to take care of everything required to do the work of living including the normal parts of our job. To accomplish or improve things that matter beyond our required responsibilities, we only have about 20% of time and energy to apply.

The first tool is to identify the one thing you want to improve, create, or accomplish with your 20%. This can be something that needs to be done better, bringing you greater profit or it can be something new.

The WHAT is your Chief AIM. It describes what will be accomplished once you’ve achieved it.


This tool or question gets left out all the time. You might think the question is “Who is going to do this?” No, that’s not the question. The question is always, “Who is in my inner circle?” Who is on my team? You become most like the people you spend time with. You accomplish much like the people around you.

I learned a long time ago, the hard way, that the people question might be the most important. You don’t hire someone to help them; you hire someone to help you. You hire someone (formally or informally) to help you accomplish the WHAT. The vision, the mission, and the core ways (values and culture) you do what you want to do.

It is a fact. The people in your life at work or otherwise are helping you achieve and get better or they are holding you back. Your life is just like a lake. If you don’t have good stuff flowing in all the time (what you read, who you listen to), you will eventually either dry up or become toxic. And just like fresh bodies of water, you have to rid yourself of that which is stagnant.

You might be a corporate leader, a non-profit leader, or an entrepreneur. In all cases, surrounding yourself with the right people with good character makes the difference between winning and losing. When I’m thinking straight about the WHO, I apply the FAT theory. FAT is an acronym for Faithful, Available, Teachable.

Faithful to me is the hard-working, loyal, and sincere person. The kind of person you don’t have to closely supervise and you don’t have to worry about when you turn your back (if you know what I mean). The root meaning for sincere is “without wax”. The ancient marketplace would sometimes advertise their pottery as “Sincerus” because some would overbake their pottery resulting in cracks which they would then fill with wax and paint over. However, when the heat increased, the wax would melt and the contents would spill out.

So when we end our letters with “Sincerely” it should mean something very significant.

A stands for Available. To me, this means “present”. They are engaged physically, emotionally and intellectually. They are not day-dreaming about their next golf match, retirement, dinner, etc., you get the picture!

T stands for Teachable. A learner is a healthy person. A learning organization is a healthy organization. People who are always learning are the people you want around you. You need a faithful, available, and teachable inner circle.

Lastly, when it comes to hiring, I use the 5 C’s checklist. If you want to learn more about this process, just let me know.


If you feel pretty good about your WHAT and your WHO, test both with your WHY. Why do we want to accomplish this? How will our world be different? How will it change us? What will it require of us? Is this the very best thing we could be doing?

The WHY question is important because it is a good predictor of success. If the WHY is really important, really strong, it provides the fuel and the muscle to get through those uphill climbs, disappointments, and rejections.

It has been said that for one to attain a Wildly Important Goal (A Chief Aim, Vision, WHAT), the motivation must come from a HOLY DISCONTENT. In other words, the goal itself drives us because it corrects what is wrong and what is wrong is so wrong, it must be changed.

As the 1928 cartoon character, Popeye the Sailor Man would say, “That’s all I can stands, cuz I can’t stands n’more!” And then he would open a can of spinach, get instantly strong, and take care of business!

So the WHY really leaves us with one main question. Do I want to accomplish the WHAT so bad that I’m ready and willing to rally my WHO and all other possible resources including my time, money, and emotions to this end?


You’re probably thinking… wait a second. This is all fine and good but what about the HOW?! It’s great to focus on one clear WHAT and surround myself with the best WHO and test both with the WHY but HOW do we get it done? What’s the plan? What’s the strategy?

I figured you would ask this question. Honestly, in our experience, if your WHAT, WHO, & WHY line up, the HOW is birthed. This is not to say you won’t have different ideas as to your strategy but you cannot, must not, ever jump over the first three to work on the HOW.

The HOW is a beast of its own. If you’re an experienced leader, you already know HOW changes. Your playbook is always contextual. You cannot bring the same strategy to every game. Your competition changes. Your customer changes. Your conditions change. The catch word today is AGILE and for a good reason. Our world is changing rapidly.

Here’s the message. Don’t test your dream with the HOW. Don’t skip to the HOW. Once you’re on a clear mission with the right people and the right mindset, you will increase your odds of success. Then others will ask you HOW you did it but your success story will be about your WHAT, WHO, and WHY!

Be blessed,
Jim Piper, Jr.


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