"Goals allow you to control the direction of change in your favor."

— Brian Tracy

It's not unusual, when you're starting out, to have a multiplicity of responsibilities that eventually are divided up between five, 10 or even 20 employees. Remember when you first started your business and were responsible for choosing merchandise, making service calls, purchasing equipment and supplies, hiring employees, paying bills, negotiating the lease and taking out the trash? You knew then that it wasn't ideal; that you couldn't do all your tasks equally well. But you did your best with the resources, experience and knowledge that you had at the time.

Those of you who developed the clearest goals and most specific definitions of what you wanted your business to be probably began delegating responsibility sooner than less successful peers did. You figured out what you were good at and what you could do successfully, and found ways to get the other things done well. You did what you had to at first, but worked toward the day when each of the areas of responsibility in your business could be covered by the person or subcontractor or outside agency that would do the most efficient and effective job.

You may not have realized it at the time, but you were restructuring your business. Just like NSPI has done in a very compressed time span, with the help of professional consultants, and perhaps urged along by litigation.

As you will read on page 118, NSPI is very close to completing its court-supervised reorganization — close enough that chief staff executive Jack Cergol has shared some of the details on the plan that the organization hopes the Court will approve.

The most significant change is that NSPI will cease to exist and in its place will be two new organizations: One has a specific goal to provide traditional trade-association services to its membership in the areas of education, promotion, advocacy and research. The other — about which there is much less information — will handle standards, codes and safety advocacy. If NSPI does nothing else besides separating these two functions, it will be a huge step forward for the industry. It's simply untenable, for example, to ask a member serving on a code or standard committee to decide on issues where the best, fairest decision might not be good for his particular business.

NSPI has recognized — and is now in a position to do something about — the fact that it can't do everything. And like any successful, progressive organization, it's figuring out what it's good at and finding ways to delegate the things that are better handled by others.