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    Aim for a big goal

    In his book, “The Spirit of St. Louis,” Charles Lindbergh recalls addressing a group of naval officers on the subject of long-distance aerial navigation. This happens only a few weeks before he takes off on his flight from New York to Paris.

    What kind of charts do you intend to use?” one officer asks him.

    “The same as you carry on ships at sea,” Lindbergh replies.

    “Suppose you strike a wind change in the night and it drifts you far off course?”

    “A navigation error wouldn’t be too serious,” Lindbergh answers. “This flight isn’t like shooting for an island. I can’t very well miss the entire European coast.”

    Lindbergh got a good laugh with that line. But there is an important point here for all of us. In planning a career in a fast-changing and highly unpredictable business environment, such as we have today, you don’t want to aim for too small a target. It is a great mistake to target a specific job, because organization or technological change may cause the job you want to disappear. On the other hand, it is critically important that you have some kind of a flight plan that sets forth broad parameters and gives some definite direction to your career.”

    Laurette Koellner, vice president and corporate controller, The Boeing Company. Speech to the Amelia Earhart Society, Long Beach, California, cited in Executive Speaker, March 2001.

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