Monday, June 3, 2013

Over the last year, we have read about spontaneous glass failures in the field, believed to be associated with nickel sulphide inclusions. I have not heard of this issue for many years. But, with the emergence of global supply sources, I believe architects and project engineers need to be very concerned with this spontaneous glass breakage and should take steps to minimize the risks.


So what is causing these breakage problems, and what is the possible solution?

I do not claim to be a ceramic engineer; however, I will attempt to express my opinion in layman's terms. Please understand I have no direct knowledge of the projects that are having problems, but offer my experience of working with glass for more than 30 years.

The ingredients used in making float glass consist mainly of silica sand (SiO2), in addition to other ingredients of soda ash, limestone, dolomite, salt cake and cullet. Normally, the raw materials are carefully screened and tested for any contaminants. Without proper screening, nickel contaminants are present and combine with sulphur to form nickel sulfide (NiS) inclusions. When glass containing nickel sulfide inclusions is tempered, the risk of breakage increases. Once installed in the field, the glass will normally expand due to solar heating. If the tempered glass has nickel sulfide inclusions, the glass will develop small fractures around the inclusion. Once these fractures expand into the other compression layer, spontaneous glass breakage will occur.

How do we minimize the risk of spontaneous breakage? Heat soaking of the tempered glass is the best possible solution at this time.

Heat soaking is a process in which tempered glass is baked at approximately 280 degrees Celsius in a furnace for a two-hour period of time, and then cooled. During this controlled heating process, expansion of any nickel sulfide inclusions should occur, thus causing the glass to fail in a controlled environment as opposed to in the field. Heat soaking is not 100 percent effective, but it does minimize the risk of failure in the field. Currently, a U.S. standard for heat soaked glass does not exist, but many companies are following the draft of the European standard (EN 14179).

Heat soaked glass is strongly recommended for any tempered glass project in which spontaneous breakage will present a risk to the general public. 

Louis G. Merryman is president of Consolidated Glass Corp., New Castle, Pa.,

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The morning of May 23rd started off just right. Sixty architects from across Florida came to Tampa to attend our glass + metal symposium. The event, endorsed by AIA chapters Tampa Bay, Florida Gulf Coast and Orlando, and hosted by Crawford-Tracey, Centria Architectural Systems and Glass Magazine, provided four AIA Health, Safety and Welfare learning units.


The half-day event included an ASTM E1105 water demonstration hosted by Chris Matthews, Glazing Consultants International. To watch a video of the water test, click here.

The half-day session featured presentations on the structural integrity of high performance commercial glazing and metal systems, for which Crawford-Tracy, Centria and corporate sponsors, Viracon, GCI Consultants, Hurricane Protecting Industries and Dow Corning shared their expertise.

We took a mid-morning break in the hotel parking lot to watch an ASTM E1105 water test conducted by Chris Matthews, GCI, who clearly demonstrated why 90 percent of every building envelope lawsuit is water-related. So far, so good.

Lunch was served; our expert panel was ready for questions.

And then it hit.

Symposium presenters and sponsors from right to left: Bob Ford, Viracon; Bob Waltersdorf, Centria; Ray Crawford, Crawford-Tracey Corp.; Bill Bonner, Crawford-Tracey Corp.; Jeff Robinson, Sales Executive, Hurricane Protecting Industries; Dean Kauthen, Centria; Chris Matthews, GCI Consultants; Jon Kimberlain, Dow Corning.

“We can find different ways of doing things, using new applications, products and materials we didn’t have five years ago,” said one architect, “but the biggest challenge I have is the subs telling me, ‘no we don’t do that.’ Poor craftsmanship is my biggest complaint.”

And with that, the symposium became a conversation about the lack of skilled labor, specifically, glass and metal workers. Someone pointed to the downturn, noting that many glaziers left the construction industry over the last five years. Another pointed to the prevalence of “dumpster diving” pricing and “value engineering” around the specs and their effect on quality. This combination is sure to increase pressure in the entire building envelope chain, especially if you believe that glazing is forecast to be one of the top five jobs in the next five years.

Summing up the frustration and the stakes for these architects was the sentiment that “the building codes don’t get me the building, the craftsmanship does.”

Sixty Florida-based architects earned four Health, Safety and Welfare learning units at the Building Envelope Symposium co-hosted by Crawford-Tracey, Centria Architectural Systems and Glass magazine on May 23 in Tampa, FL.

To be sure, I know many excellent glazing contractors who take the time and spend the money to train their glaziers. It’s also true that the National Glass Association's Certified Glass Installer Program is recognized in AIA MasterSpec Section 088000-GLAZING, Paragraph 1.8 B. Installer Qualifications: A qualified installer who employs glass installers for the Project who are certified under the National Glass Association's Certified Glass Installer Program. Unfortunately, this spec falls by the wayside if not championed by the architect to the building owner and general contractor.

I know that many of these same excellent glazing contractors read e-glass weekly’s blog posts, so I encourage you to email me at with your perspective.

And assuming we’re all thinking about the glazier shortage, here’s a plug for the glass and metal industry’s most focused career center, which as of tomorrow is re-launching with a mobile-focused responsive design: I’m hopeful that by our next architect symposium, we’ll be talking about “more good glaziers.”

Harris is publisher of Glass Magazine and vice president of publications for the National Glass Association. Write her at

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Undoubtedly, you have seen a lot about the ongoing ASHRAE code situation. Without question, it is a serious situation. But I have decided that as much as I love to try to mobilize people to action, I'm going to take a different approach. I have an interview below that truly spells out the facts in a calm and measured way. If you care about the industry and your business, you’ll take the proper action. If not, you’ll enjoy the interview nonetheless, and life will go on. Thank you for the consideration.

For this, I reached out to who I believe is one of the most dynamic and interesting guys in our industry, Mark Silverberg, president of Technoform North America, to get his take on this and a few other issues. I believe he hit it out of the ballpark. Mark has an incredible grasp of our world, our needs and our future. To me, Mark―along with Dr. Tom Culp―are the two guys you want at the table explaining this stuff to you and representing your industry. Below is a sharp and professional explanation of the facts and what actions could be taken. So, if you didn’t understand what was going on before, I believe you surely will now.

Probably the most important issue that has hit our industry recently is the ASHRAE proposal to reduce the glazing area allowed in the prescriptive path from 40 percent window-to-wall ratio to 30 percent WWR for buildings under 25,000 square feet. This seems detrimental to our industry, as less glass and glazing means less work, etc. What is your take on why this is happening, and what can we do as an industry to combat it?

Silverberg: "This proposal has broad economic and policy implications. Building energy efficiency is widely supported as the right thing to do, but how to get there and balance the related issues is often debated. Ironically, this proposal flies in the face of the ASHRAE 189.1 green building standard that is specifically intended to address both occupant well-being and energy efficiency. The driver of this change is recent computer modeling that got the attention of some ASHRAE individuals. Many people in our industry find these analytical tools outmoded and based on flawed assumptions. Keep in mind the following factors must be addressed, in this order, to optimize a building’s energy efficiency performance: (1) Optimize mass and orientation (2) Optimize the building envelope (3) Design and optimize the building systems and infrastructure.

Below, I offer a few examples of my serious concerns with the analytical method on which the proposed WWR reduction is based. The information is from Rahul Athalye of PNNL’s presentation at the GANA Annual Conference Energy Day in January 2013 and the questions I asked him during the session. He is one of the lead simulators whose work is being used by ASHRAE.

  • Responding to my direct question, Mr. Athalye reported that the same building footprint and orientation was used for all 12 locations analyzed. This negates optimization of building mass and orientation (the principal determinant of a building’s energy efficiency), and doesn’t make common sense.
  • Only 40 percent of the typical 53,600-square-foot building was in perimeter zones of only 15 feet deep. Modern design and daylighting strategies attain a much higher percentage of the daylighted floor plate and have greater depth. In the analysis, only 80 percent of this artificially reduced perimeter zone is deemed daylightable.
  • With only 40 percent of the building deemed within the perimeter zone, only 56 percent of that area was included in the daylight analysis as containing photocontrols (80 percent daylightable perimeter zone minus private offices under 250 square feet, which were excluded). However, this does not reflect the improvements to ASHRAE 189.1 that require photocontrols in more spaces and higher performance windows! Since building systems are interactive, it’s easy to see that by negating the performance contribution of mass and orientation, and minimizing the gains of daylighting, you will skew the conclusions of the study.

These are but a few of the issues with this analysis; there are plenty more. One of the stated goals of the DOE-funded PNNL study was, “possible changes to ASHRAE 90.1 to increase energy savings.” None of the primary goals of the study related to measuring the impact of buildings on human beings. Certainly, energy efficiency is very important to nearly everyone nowadays. It’s one of the main benefits brought by Technoform’s products and technologies to commercial fenestration and insulated glass. But if energy efficiency were the sole driver of healthy buildings, we would live in caves or buried in the ground. Several studies have measured and documented that for people to thrive and be healthy, their space (for work, learning, living) should provide daylighting (with proper glare control), a view of nature, and an ability to control access to fresh air. Finding a balance between energy efficiency and human well-being is the key, though how you specifically attain this balance varies by climate zone, building use, the goals of the owner, etc.

In my appraisal, the analysis on which the WWR debate is based on is too narrow of a perspective; human beings are left out. As an industry, it’s critical that we file comments prior to the June 17 deadline on why we disagree with the proposal to reduce glazing area. Stick to the flaws you find in the proposal, and don’t criticize ASHRAE or any particular people or industries. And collaborate through our trade associations, who are coordinating industry action."

Note that last line: the various trade organizations are working on this, and if you are interested in this process, you can and should contact those groups (NGA, GANA, AAMA, IGMA, AEC, etc.)

Next week, I catch up with Mark about his visit to Washington D.C., energy efficiencies throughout the globe, and educating the industry. Really insightful stuff you will not want to miss.

Read on for links and clip of the week...

The author is founder of Sole Source Consultants, a consulting firm for the building products industry that specializes in marketing, branding, communication strategy and overall reputation management, as well as website and social media, and codes and specifications. E-mail him

The opinions expressed here are those of the individual author and do not necessarily reflect those of the National Glass Association, Glass Magazine editors, or other glassblog contributors.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Every so often, I do a blog that briefly hits on various topics, and since it’s been awhile, I figure it’s time to catch up on some of the happenings in the world of glass, glazing and more.  So buckle up, here it goes…

  • My heart goes out to everyone in Oklahoma after the brutal weather/tornadoes that passed through on Monday. Thoughts and prayers to all. Stay strong OKC, Moore and all the areas affected.
  • Who’s going to the AIA show this year? We’re a month away; my curiosity is centered on how attendance will be in a city like Denver vs. last year in D.C.
  • The drawings for the new Viking Stadium are out, and it looks to be an amazing structure. I love the use of glass!
  • Between my interview with Avi Bar and my article on Bowie Neumayer, the feedback has been off-the-charts awesome. So, I decided to crank out some more interviews and have two lined up for the next few weeks that I think you will really like. And my next one for Glass Magazine is going to be fun too!
  • In case you missed it, Guardian posted a very cool pre-GPD interview with Scott Thomsen. Being an ex-TV guy (who misses the business), I thought the way the graphics were edited really made this piece stand out.  If you want to check it out, it’s my video of the week.
  • As a marketing guy, I am jealous of the new ad that Kawneer put out in the latest Glass Magazine: creative and sharp. Great job and well done.
  • I know I noted it a few weeks ago, but I think it might have been heavily overshadowed by the Avi Bar interview: Please check out the Efficient Window Collaborative’s website.  It’s a tremendous resource.
  • Hey, wow! Gas prices are up (at all stations) because a single refinery had issues of some sort. Love that the oil industry can collude and price fix, and yet no one really cares.  Where are the ambulance chasers that harass innocent people in our industry to go take on big oil?
  • GlassBuild America registration is opening soon, and it will be here before you know it.  The show will be great this year; tons of momentum for it.
  • Happy Memorial Day to all, and especially to those who served. The words “courage” and “hero” sometimes get thrown around a little too loosely (by me too), but should really be dedicated to the men and women of the military who truly deserve those distinctions!
  • Last item: a sincere thank you. I am grateful for the support you show me and this blog.  I appreciate everyone who reads here, whether you like me or the blog, or not!  I still can’t believe I started this in 2005.  Feels like yesterday.

Read on for links and video of the week...

The author is founder of Sole Source Consultants, a consulting firm for the building products industry that specializes in marketing, branding, communication strategy and overall reputation management, as well as website and social media, and codes and specifications. E-mail him

The opinions expressed here are those of the individual author and do not necessarily reflect those of the National Glass Association, Glass Magazine editors, or other glassblog contributors.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Architects and designers continue to push the envelope of glass and glazing, using more of it, in more innovative and exciting applications, and sometimes in the most unexpected ways. We've featured some of these amazing, out-of-the-ordinary projects in Glass Magazine.

There was the United Oil #3 gas station in Gardena, Calif., that featured an all-glass storefront and entrance, in addition to a curved channel glass-clad tower, leading to the station's car wash.

And, there was the new sales office for Lazzara Yachts—the only floating glass project I have written about during my time at Glass Magazine.

We're looking to feature a selection of this type of out-of-the-ordinary glass projects in an upcoming issue of Glass Magazine. If you recently completed a project that features glass in an unconventional manner, let us know. Email me at with details and photos of the project. 

Devlin is senior editor for Glass Magazine. Write her at

Monday, May 13, 2013

The last several weeks, I have been hitting energy codes pretty heavily, and below, I have more of my interview with Avi Bar on that subject. But leading off this week is another code angle, and that’s the one of safety and security glass. As we push for energy improvements, we cannot take our eye off the protective glazing side. I think catastrophic events can spur action, but sometimes they draw attention to only a specific issue. So while there is a major focus on school security (as there should be), there still needs to be a sustained focus on the other areas of protective glazing, including fire rated. (One take of mine: no more wire, please.)

I believe our industry has a great handle on this product segment, but there’s still more education needed. If we still have people in the field who don't "get it," we fail as an entire industry. That said, I think Glass Magazine covered the issue perfectly this month with its edition on the entire protective glazing field, from the product basics all the way up to the advanced.  


  • I had the opportunity to listen to the latest construction industry economic forecast this past week, and for the most part, the analysts were in a very positive mood. Although acknowledging there will surely be bumps in the road, optimism ruled the day. However, one item did come up that bothered me: One analyst noted that if you want to build “green,” you have to build new. I disagree. With some of the technology our industry has out there, we can surely make a serious difference in a retrofit application. Once again, we need to educate!
  • As some of my loyal readers know, I loved the TV show “24.” Amazing stuff. Well, the news this week is that 24 and Jack Bauer might be coming back. Please make that happen. In the meantime, the show “The Americans” is now my favorite, though I am still five episodes behind.
  • Last week, my interview with Avi Bar, vice president of Advanced Glazings, really got people talking. This week, I wrap up our talk with a look at the architectural side of things.

In your dealings with architects and designers, are you finding that they are paying attention to the codes, or are they more focused on the products they want to use?

AB: My overall experience is that the architects and designers are becoming more aware of energy codes; however, [the codes] aren't easy to implement. The prescriptive methods don’t easily translate into their designs, and the modeling methodologies are complex to include in the first pass of designs. Therefore, it’s an ongoing, iterative process. There is a disconnect in the design community/owner relationship as fees for services continue to tighten while the technical competency for designers increases. The complexity of the analysis process that the architects are now bound to ... is a problem for them, and perhaps an opportunity for a proactive glass industry. The more stringent the code, the more anxiety I see in designers. This is a call for help to the glass and glazing industry to innovate and support them.  

A lot of the economic indicators for construction and architecture are trending upwards. Are you seeing the same thing?

AB: It’s hard for us to tell, as our products are not commodities and have seen an overall increase in business, even during the recession. With that said, our current demand is growing at a much higher rate. Is that due to better economic conditions? Or is it finally a signal that the market for high performance translucent glass is maturing? We can’t say. Perhaps a mix of both. All in all, we are optimistic.

Read on for links and clip of the week...

The author is founder of Sole Source Consultants, a consulting firm for the building products industry that specializes in marketing, branding, communication strategy and overall reputation management, as well as website and social media, and codes and specifications. E-mail him at

The opinions expressed here are those of the individual author and do not necessarily reflect those of the National Glass Association, Glass Magazine editors, or other glassblog contributors.

Monday, May 6, 2013

My local public school system’s reaction to the horrific events of December 14, 2012, in Newtown, Conn., has been swift. Within days of the shooting, I received letters from both of my children’s schools stating that new security procedures had been put in place. Within weeks of the shooting, a new security system had been installed at both buildings. While on December 13, 2012, I could enter my child’s elementary school at any time of day, as of January 2013, I had to show identification before being buzzed in a front door that remained locked at all times. Discussions are currently underway as to how the school district can further secure its buildings, and similar conversations are taking place across the country.

“School districts are concerned about safety after the Sandy Hook shootings, and as a result, there is more emphasis on security strategies to keep children safe in case of an attack,” says Valerie Block, senior marketing specialist for DuPont. “Upgrading windows and doors with security glazing is being considered by a number of school districts, along with surveillance and alarm equipment, staff education and training, and emergency response procedures.”

S. 146, the School and Campus Safety Enhancements Act of 2013 is currently on the Senate calendar for review. Introduced in January 2013 by Sen. Barbara Boxer, the act “would authorize the appropriation of $40 million annually over the 2014-2023 period for the Department of Justice to make grants to state, local and tribal governments to improve security at elementary and secondary schools. Grants could be used to install metal detectors and surveillance equipment, train school personnel and students, and carry out other safety measures.”

For our part, “there may be one thing we in the American fenestration industry can do after the terrible event in Newtown, Conn., and the many irrational, violent shootings and bombings we’ve all witnessed over the past decades in this country,” says blogger Rod Van Buskirk. “As building product and construction professionals, we can offer greater safety by educating design professionals, building owners and public officials about threat-resistant products and design techniques.”

The “Architects’ Guide to Protective Glazing” is designed to further that education. It contains information on the security glazing products available—from ballistic glazing to fire-rated glass—including specifications, applications and product options.

Architecture will continue to play a role in securing our schools, whether in the form of new or retrofitted facilities. As Van Buskirk points out, educating the design community about security glazing products and applications is “obviously not the only step we need to take to improve public safety, but it is one step.”

Chase is editorial director of Glass Magazine,, e-glass weekly and e-glass products. Write her at

Monday, May 6, 2013

I decided to take a slightly different approach to the blog this week. Before getting into the news, I have an extremely interesting interview with a guy who I consider to be one of the most fascinating people in our industry today. This week, I tracked down Avi Bar, vice president, architectural products, for Advanced Glazings, to get his take on the current code landscape. I met Avi two years ago and was extremely impressed by his intelligence and focus. When the code discussion started to heat up, I thought getting Avi’s opinion would be interesting. And after getting his answers, I have no doubt that this will surely get some people talking.

The building/energy code process continues to evolve. What is your take on where the codes are now, and where they are going?

Avi Bar: I think there are two primary shifts now in code: energy codes are getting stricter, and they are becoming mandatory vs. voluntary. The codes are reflecting rising energy costs and environmental challenges. The codes recognize that the building envelope plays a significant role in addressing these challenges; however, most [building envelope] advances have been predominantly incremental as we try to tweak existing technologies and materials. This, in turn, has resulted in incremental code changes. All the evidence, however, indicates that we need a more radical change in energy codes. This will be fed by two possible triggers: an event that creates more scarcity of fossil fuels, or breakthrough technologies to compete. We hope that the former doesn’t have to occur before the latter. There are materials such as ours [Solera daylighting solutions] that are making that true. In Europe, code tends to be more stringent and mandatory as energy costs are substantially higher, but the net result is better buildings, and more innovation and greater value is derived from the glass industry. Another point of interest is that energy metrics for buildings are now factoring quantifiable benefits to the use of daylighting, strategically as the primary lighting source during usable hours.

What’s your take on the ASHRAE issue and the ongoing discussion that is seemingly pretty active in our industry now?

Bar: Here is the basic premise. ASHRAE standards are driven by two primary conditions: higher energy costs and environmental stewardess. Both of these conditions are important and should not be ignored. Asking ASHRAE to relax rules and code will compromise buildings' ability to be sustainable from an environmental and financial standpoint.The codes are not going to get less stringent. The voluntary nature is not going to spread. Instead, I predict (as we can see everywhere else in the world), the codes will get more stringent and mandatory. We can sit and cry about it, or we can rise to the challenge.The issue the glass industry is trying to address is that most current glass products are based on a composition that is fundamentally flawed. Glass is a highly conductive material. Air in the units (or gasses, which are highly prone to leakage) are highly convective. Low-E is reaching its maximum value in reducing U-values. Spacers are highly conductive too. Therefore, the fundamental construct of glass is challenged, as its only potential improvement is incremental, even with triple-glazed units―which add cost due to additional material and installation costs. Over and above this, vision glass struggles to deal with daylighting ... since it introduces heat and glare unless controlled through shading devices, which adds more cost. So given these constraints, it’s obvious that the "nemesis /enemy" is the code. If you can't improve, then the code is too strict.

But that does not have to be the case. If we look at using innovation and technology to change the construct and paradigms of the glazing, we can retain our position on buildings. There is much work to be done in this realm, but it's not far off. Therefore, my recommendation is instead of blaming ASHRAE and seeking lobbying money to fight it, let's invest this money in innovating and lowering material costs.The glass industry needs to embrace two fundamental things: innovation and education throughout the value chain.


  • So is it me, or did the fact that the General Services Administration noting that they have been looking at LEED for “almost a year and half” just make you sad? Seriously, it should never take that long. Or am I missing something? Yes, they studied 160 tools and standards (there’s really that many? My goodness...), but does it take that long to eventually decide on the biggest and most prominent one?
  • A website for you to absolutely visit and bookmark: the Efficient Windows Collaborative has added to their already amazing site and it now is even better. The new window selection tool is tremendous. Kudos to Kerry Haglund and her team for once again raising the bar when it comes to educational resources.
  • While we’re in congratulatory mode, we’ll send some congrats out to Alissa Schmidt of Viracon for winning a Distinguished Alumni award from her alma mater Minnesota State-Mankato. Alissa represents our industry well and it’s great her efforts are being recognized!

Next week, part two of my interview with Avi, including where the architectural community weighs in on the code debate.

Read on for links and video of the week...

The author is founder of Sole Source Consultants, a consulting firm for the building products industry that specializes in marketing, branding, communication strategy and overall reputation management, as well as website and social media, and codes and specifications. E-mail him

The opinions expressed here are those of the individual author and do not necessarily reflect those of the National Glass Association, Glass Magazine editors, or other glassblog contributors.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The International Code Council committee hearings have been going on for the past week, and the question for me is: have the moves made there been good or bad for our industry? So far, I honestly haven’t been able to tell. And reading various reports and e-mails from people at the hearings has me even more confused. So I’ll sit on this one, get more clarity and report on the proceedings in the next week or two. Needless to say, it is very important that we all get a clear idea of what's going on and how it will affect our industry.


  • Good news/bad news on the latest Architecture Billings Index as the number was down, but still in positive territory. Now, the key is to watch how this progresses. The verdict for 2014 has been mixed lately, with some expecting growth and others calling for a downturn.
  • I’m a little late on this one, but major congrats to PPG on its new online education center. It’s a treasure trove of great info, and the layout is spectacular. Kudos to Rob Struble, Glenn Miner and the entire team that worked on it. Well done!
  • Speaking of education, the Glass Management Institute is now open for registration, and I urge you to consider taking the courses. Yes, I am biased as I am teaching one of the courses, but I truly believe in this effort and think the other courses and instructors are simply off the hook and worth your attention. Check it out…and be prepared for me to pester you more as the launch date gets closer.
  • Anyone have a clue as to what the whole “Google Glass” adventure is? I'm not sure I want my website up in my eyes. What am I missing?
  • Last this week...Blackberry fans (like me) are becoming more and more rare, but evidently the new phone (with the physical keyboard) that is coming out could give Blackberry momentum. Last week, it got a great review in the Wall Street Journal. I, for one, remain hopeful because I will stick with that brand 'til the end. My fat little fingers need that keyboard!

Read on for links and clip of the week...

The author is founder of Sole Source Consultants, a consulting firm for the building products industry that specializes in marketing, branding, communication strategy and overall reputation management, as well as website and social media, and codes and specifications. E-mail him

The opinions expressed here are those of the individual author and do not necessarily reflect those of the National Glass Association, Glass Magazine editors, or other glassblog contributors.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

In my last blog, I said that long-term planning is a learned skill that includes three primary components: goal setting, succession planning and contingency planning. Today, I will cover goal setting. It is a very big topic, so if there is an aspect that you'd like to discuss in future blogs, let me know. 


Goal setting asks three questions:

  1. Where are we?
  2. Where do we want to be?
  3. How do we plan to get there?

Of these three questions, the first is the most difficult to answer and, also, the most ignored. It is difficult, and often painful, to be honest about where we really are now.
The main reason people or companies never reach their goals is they never answer question two, or they answer it and forget it. I post my goals where I can constantly see them. Not only does it remind me of the destination, other people see them and ask about my progress. Their interest and support keeps me focused on the goal(s).
Since there is limited space in this blog, most of the discussion will focus on question three. A plan must be measureable within a specific timeframe. If a goal is to be accomplished “someday,” it will never be accomplished. “Someday” has to be specific. Most importantly, though, there must be a tangible reward for achieving the goal.
The reward is often excluded from the goal-setting process. The primary reason people/companies forget the answer to question two is because a specific reward was not included in the goal-setting process. Some questions you might ask yourself: When I attain this goal, what will it mean to me? How are am I/we going to feel? Will we have a larger market share? Will we be more profitable so we can then buy a new needed piece of machinery? Will I, if it’s a personal goal, be healthier or happier, or have lower blood pressure?
“Motivation” and “emotion” have the same Latin root word. Motus means moved. We are personally moved through emotion. We are not moved through logic. People set New Year’s resolutions logically. Most forget them. Those that follow through always have an emotional attachment to the resolution. They have a reward that means something to them. These people stay focused on the prize, not the price.
Here is the formula to put it all together. The formula must be in this order. If the order is changed, the plan will fail and the goal will not be attained.

  1. Reward: When I attain this goal, what will it mean to me/us? How will I feel?
  2. Goal: Where do I/we want to be?
  3. Plan: How do I/we plan to get there?
  4. Effort: What is my/our schedule for following the plan to hit the goal and get the reward?

The author is president, Evans Glass Co., and chairman of the board for the National Glass Association. Write him at

The opinions expressed here are those of the individual author and do not necessarily reflect those of the National Glass Association, Glass Magazine editors, or other glassblog contributors.

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