6 January 2019

Dean Trust Q&A - education and business - Lawrence Jones MBE

Speaking to a group of young people from Dean Trust schools in 2018, to help them to set bigger goals.

“The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short, but in setting our aim too low and achieving our mark.”

That’s a quote from Michelangelo. He references a concept from the 1500s that is still just as relevant and valuable today.

At this time of year, the majority of us are looking at what we want to achieve from the year ahead. What does that year hold? Yet, all too often, we set goals that are manageable. Goals that don’t scare us.


What’s the point in setting a goal that doesn’t really stretch you? The purpose of goal setting is to stretch you far beyond your comfort zone. This then helps you to achieve far more than you thought you could.

Ultimately, what have you got to lose? If you imagine an outrageous goal that you don’t think you’ll hit anyway, what’s the harm in writing it down? In giving it a try?

I always set goals far beyond what I think I can achieve. Surprisingly, when Gail was reading through some of last year’s goals just before Christmas, we’d actually hit some of our more outrageous goals. These were goals that we’d expected to work on for five years or more, yet we’d hit them. Why? I believe that there is a magic in writing a goal down and committing to it. I am certain that the action of writing it down cements it into our minds subconsciously, affecting our decisions and actions toward achieving that aim.

Whilst Gail and I have yet to sit down and talk through our goals for the next 12 months properly, I am certainly putting the wheels in motion for what I want to achieve.

Within the stone

One of my biggest goals this year is to continue developing as a leader so that I can help other people to reach their goals too. Every leader has a responsibility to grow the individuals around them. Which, interestingly, reminds me of another Michelangelo quote.

He reportedly said: “Each block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it.”

I believe that, just as each block of stone has a statue in it, each person has huge potential inside of them. It’s the role of a leader or manager to help them find it within themselves. Just as you continually have to find that potential within yourself.

“I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.” Michelangelo

Over the past year, I have seen so many teammates develop and grow. We added new ‘Directors Of’ to the senior leadership team at UKFast throughout the course of 2018. These teammates have had the most extraordinary impact on the business as a whole. I announced a few of these appointments at our Christmas Party and you should have heard the cheer from the whole company as each name was announced. The impact they’ve had on the whole team and how we work as a business was more than clear.

This year, my role is to help more of these individuals to come through.
Lawrence Jones MBE - helping others

Calling Mr Jones

Another realisation in 2018 was the amount of time that I spent on my phone. We all know that scrolling through social media is a huge zap on time and resource. So I actively took steps to reduce my time on these platforms. I started by moving the apps from my home screen and committing to breaking the habit. Whilst that was successful, I was still shocked to see my overall phone usage in the latest iOS software update. Seeing my ‘screen time’ usage was eye opening to say the least.

While undoubtedly a proportion of this time was spent on business-focussed activities like phone calls, emails and messaging – how better could that time have been spent? Really thinking about how I could make a difference with that time was a wake up call!

So going into 2019, my focus is very much on cutting down my call time, moving away from my phone and focusing on spending more real time with people. That includes the people in the team, and with my family. There is absolutely no replacement for spending time with my daughters. They’re all at different ages and stages in their lives, with different personalities and goals. It’s the greatest adventure getting to know them as they grow and develop themselves.

So, as we head into the first full working week of the year, what are your goals? Are they outrageous enough? Are you aiming high? Let me know in the comments below.

Best of luck on your journey. I am always here to help if you need any advice goal setting, just drop me a message on social media.

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