by Hedges Capers, Partner Emeritus     (Fall 1993)

Life is a Continuous Improvement Process. There is perhaps little that makes it more rewarding or joyful than having an overwhelming purpose or direction to be consumed with.

As a child, I had one such dream for my life: music. I wrote songs in my head while sure double-plays went through my legs at second base.

At age 15, I started sharing my vision with anyone who would listen and many who did not want to hear. By age 27, I managed to mobilize a small army of people who all shared enough of a common goal to accomplish my dream. Twenty-two years after that first glimmer, I stood center-stage at Carnegie Hall and played my music, sang my song, and listened to the sounds of a standing ovation.

Two weeks later, it dawned on me that I had fulfilled a dream, but for some reason I hadn’t been there. I was on my way to some brighter, shinier goal. Instead of enjoying the moment, and then moving on, I held a 40-foot straw toward my future and pushed myself, my band, managers, and agents toward the next mountain top, just as I had done all along.

Few people I’ve talked to truly have regrets about a path not taken . . . I do not . . . but of the regrets I do have, most stem from not having enjoyed the successes of the paths I have taken.

As we at SSCA work inside your organizations, we often encounter a disturbing energy drain, sometimes only jokingly expressed and other times bitterly by the labor (or energy) force responsible for creating your organization’s successes: “We don’t feel good about our accomplishments. Even record profits don’t mean anything. We just go on to the next goal.”

Webster defines “enjoy” as: “to have the use or derive the benefit of.”

If your organization knows how to enjoy its successes, you have developed some mastery of the 40-foot straw (knowing when to pick it up and put it down). This is what CIP is all about. When, on the other hand, you rush past your success to the next goal without ever missing a beat, you may find yourself missing one of the most valuable benefits of life . . . to derive the benefit or use of: enjoyment.