With 2016 nearly wrapped up, I hope that you are taking a deep, contemplative breath and a little time for personal reflection.

Every year we weave a unique tapestry of adventures we have experienced, successes we have accomplished, and setbacks we have suffered.

Reflect on the Past Year

Part of my ritual this time of year is to list these significant events that have occurred in my life, both personally and professionally, so I can fully view and appreciate the tapestry I co-created. It includes projects completed, activities enjoyed, problems faced, milestones reached, unforeseen circumstances overcome, etc. Some within my control, some not. What I have grown to know is that each experience was necessary to bring me to the present moment.

Jump Start Your New Year

Whatever our past year’s tapestry looks like, the beauty of the dawn of a New Year, is that we get to envision a new tapestry. It is time to begin selecting some of the threads and colors, and identifying the themes we desire.

Our greatest opportunity for 2017 is to apply our talents, skills and abilities more fully to make the finest tapestry possible.

Personal goal setting and strategic planning are creative tools that enable us to design our personal and professional tapestry.

If you are a business owner, thinking of starting a new business, or are a leader in an organization this upcoming class will help you to jump start your strategic planning process and make your 2017 tapestry your best yet. It is my honor to partner again with Greater Phoenix SCORE to facilitate this engaging how-to class, A Strategic Planning Process that Energizes Your Business. Read more

Facilitating MeetingsWhen asked to facilitate a group meeting, equip yourself with the right tools to energize the participants and accomplish the objectives.

Last week I had the honor and pleasure to facilitate an afternoon SCORE workshop for a group of small business owners titled, A Strategic Planning Process that Energizes Your Business. Being directly after lunch, I knew the session needed to crackle with energy or else nap time would soon be upon us.

Here are some of my favorite group facilitation tools and tips for captivating the attention of participants and accomplishing meeting objectives:

  1. Clear Meeting Objectives– Prior to the facilitation, get together with key leaders and stakeholders to define the objectives of the upcoming meeting. These objectives are your ultimate targets, or goals, to accomplish.
  2. Written Agenda– Seems obvious, doesn’t it? You’d be surprised at how many meetings I have attended at which people don’t know why they are there. A written agenda, at the very least, provides a good framework to channel discussions. Sending it out to the participants before the meeting is a bonus.
  3. Declarations of Understanding– I begin every facilitated meeting by asking the participants, “What are your desires and expectations for this meeting and of me.” I capture their ideas on a flipchart. Then I share with the participants what I desire and expect of them, listing everything on another flipchart. Next, I hang both flipcharts on a wall so we can all refer to them throughout the meeting, if necessary, in order to keep things on track. My favorite desires and expectations of participants are:

Read more

Photo by Kevin C. Cox-Getty images

Photo by Kevin C. Cox-Getty images

Did you watch the final round of the Masters golf tournament yesterday? If you were like me you were shell-shocked and heart-broken to see Jordan Spieth’s  record-setting performance and 5-point lead disappear within a matter of minutes—bogey, bogey, quadruple bogey. A devastating blow for Jordan.

However, I continued to watch Jordan grapple with his demons on the remaining holes, even tallying one more birdie. He didn’t win but did finish tied for second behind Danny Willett who shot a phenomenal 67, tied for the low round of the day—shooting the right score at the right time.

I gained more respect for Jordan Spieth yesterday than during any of his amazing feats thus far. There were no temper tantrums. No cussing. No blaming. No clubs thrown. He handled his defeat with poise and grace.

Even though I’m sure he was dying inside, he stayed in the game; he allowed himself to be interviewed on the world stage, candidly talking about what happened; and he fulfilled his past champion’s duties by draping his worthy opponent in his first green jacket.

Will Jordan recover from such a devastating personal setback? A resounding, yes! From what I have witnessed of Jordan’s 22-year-old maturity and character, this will strengthen him as a human being and a leader in his industry.

So as leaders, what can we all learn from Jordan Spieth?

  1. Setbacks happen. Deal with it.
  2. When you fall, pick yourself up, brush yourself off, be humbled, but carry on.
  3. Blame no one but yourself for your defeats.
  4. When you face disappointment respond with good character as though the world’s watching.
  5. Continue performing your duties even though you would rather run and hide. Your team is counting on you.
  6. Praise the person who beats you.
  7. Treat everyone with respect, no matter what happens.

Much success and fulfillment,


Tim McGrawHave you heard Tim McGraw’s new song Humble and Kind (written by Lori McKenna)? I dare you to listen and watch the amazing video collaboration with Oprah Winfrey and Wes Edwards and not be deeply moved. I have.



The lyrics speak of simple truths to happiness, fulfillment and success in life and business. What would your family and business life be like if your children and employees practiced these simple principles from the song:

Hold the door, say please, say thank you

Don’t steal, don’t cheat, and don’t lie

I know you got mountains to climb but

Always stay humble and kind

When the dreams you’re dreamin’ come to you

When the work you put in is realized

Let yourself feel the pride but

Always stay humble and kind


Don’t expect a free ride from no one

Don’t hold a grudge or a chip and here’s why

Bitterness keeps you from flyin’

Always stay humble and kind

If so moved, please feel free to share this blog post and video with your employees, family, and friends. Let’s use our power and influence to radiate a timely ripple of good character to all those we touch.

Much happiness, fulfillment, and success,



Plan-Decide-Act“When it comes to strategy, ponder less and do more.” ~Jack Welch

While developing your strategic plan (i.e., purpose, values, mission, vision, goals, objectives and strategies), you are building potential energy, similar to that of roller-coaster cars climbing the initial big hill. Then it’s time for kinetic energy to take over as the roller-coaster cars rush down from the top of the hill—as you put your plans into action! It can be very exciting—and sometimes a little scary.

Action plans are what brings your strategic plan to life—to identify the detailed tactics (action steps), to schedule the timeline for accomplishing them, to identify the resources required, and to assign people to each task. This is the proverbial “rubber meeting the road.”

Dale Carnegie, author of How to Stop Worrying and Start Living, wrote, “William James said, ‘When once a decision is reached and execution is the order of the day, dismiss absolutely all responsibility and care about the outcome.’  He meant that once you have made a careful decision based on facts, go into action.  Don’t stop to reconsider.  Don’t begin to hesitate, worry and retrace your steps.  Don’t lose yourself in self-doubting which begets other doubts.  Don’t keep looking over your shoulder.  There comes a time when any more investigation and thinking are harmful.  There comes a time when we must decide and act and never look back.”

Implementing your action plan requires making a decision to step into your fear so you can experience the fruits of your planning labor. It is always exciting when the fruits of your labor become visible—a bountiful harvest that serves your customers, employees, and community.

If you have employees, let everyone in your organization have a vested interest in implementing the action plan so they can feel an integral part of your organization’s success. Include pieces of the action plan in your employees’ Individual Development Plans (IDPs). Then coach them so that their fears and frustrations will be minimized and they will be successful.

If you are the company right now, prioritize and get busy on what’s most important and valuable for your business to succeed. Get good at contracting out those tasks that are not the best use of your talents, skills, abilities, and passions. As Michael Gerber says in his bestselling book, The E-Myth Revisited, develop the habit of “Working on the business, not in the business.”

Here are some considerations for developing your Action Plans:

  1. Identify and prioritize your Goals, Objectives, and Strategies
  2. Ask yourself, “For each Strategy, what Tactics or tasks need to happen in order to get this done?” These are the specific day-to-day actions that need to be taken. This is also a good opportunity to get input from those who will be assigned the tasks.
  3. Determine the priority (A, B, or C) for each task. An “A” priority denotes a task that definitely has to be done in order to accomplish the goal. A “B” priority task would enhance the goal, but if it’s not completed, the goal can still be achieved. A “C” priority is nice to do if you get around to it, or it can be achieved in the process of accomplishing something else. Nonetheless, it will have little effect on achieving the goal.
  4. When should this task be scheduled to begin? When should it be completed?
  5. How much will this task cost to complete?
  6. Who will be responsible for completing this task?
  7. What other resources will be needed for completing this task?

When all these steps and questions have been answered for each task, you will have the full picture of what it will take to accomplish the action plan.

In addition to its guidance, this detail work will become a vital part of your financial plan and budgeting process. You’ll be able to see the cash flow requirements clearly, and it will also help you to decide whether the goals need to be phased into your current operations or to be deferred to a later date.

Enjoy moving from the potential energy of planning to the kinetic energy of action.

Much success and fulfillment,



(Adapted from Chapter 9 in my new book Energize Your Business: Engage Your Employees with an Inspiring Strategic Planning Process. Read free chapters and learn more at www.EnergizeYourBusiness.biz .)

Public SpeakingDo your palms sweat, knees shake, heart race, and stomach fill with butterflies whenever you are asked to speak to groups? Mine used to and I would let the fear stop me from saying yes. Guess what? I still feel those sensations but have learned some valuable tips that help me to channel that nervous energy and get the butterflies flying in formation so I can seize opportunities that arise. You can too.

This week I had the honor and pleasure to speak at the 2016 Phoenix SCORE Small Business Symposium. During my preparation and delivery, I reminisced about of some of the public speaking techniques that I have learned during my past 30-years as a public speaker and facilitator.


  • Build up a reserve of information—be ready with 100 times the amount of information than you can possibly share in the allotted time.
  • Develop clear written objectives, an agenda, and bullet points about what you would like to accomplish. Resist writing out your presentation word for word. Instead, let your slides and bullets prompt your thoughts.
  • Arrive at the room early enough in order to get everything set up and ready to go before the first participant appears. I have found that there is always something that needs to be tweaked to match my preferences. Test all the equipment that will be used. Technology doesn’t always cooperate as intended, so be ready with an alternate plan if necessary.
  • Keep everything organized and professional-looking to reduce distractions and optimize your efficiency (i.e., chairs orderly, supply table neat, posters straight, attractive handouts, layout highly technical training tools).


  • Dress just above the level of the best-dressed person in the room. You’ll feel better and your participants will see you as the professional you are.
  • Check your ego at the door. Deliver your presentation in a conversational way.
  • Welcome each participant as he or she enters the room. This will ease both your and their anxiety.
  • Hold their attention—present information using a variety of ways in which people learn best (e.g., visual, auditory, kinesthetic, creative, analytical). Tell relevant and entertaining stories. Build in exercises. Use exhibits and metaphors to demonstrate concepts and principles.
  • Meet your audience at their present level of consciousness and strive to lift them to a higher level.


  • When you begin, engage the participants within the first 60 seconds. Ask a question. Have them greet a neighbor. Something to involve them.
  • Engage people’s hearts and minds—lasting transformation occurs only when the heart is involved. Personal stories and examples are a great way to connect heart to heart.
  • Keep PowerPoint slides simple, using few words and nothing smaller than a 24-point font size. Remember also that a picture is worth a thousand words. You want people to focus on you and your message not straining to read wordy slides.
  • Allow people to share their unique point of view. Be a spherical thinker—see everyone’s viewpoint (opinion) as a valid point on a sphere.
  • Deliver what you’ve promised so that you maintain your integrity with your audience (or reach consensus to do otherwise).


  • Keep the energy moving and building; don’t let the momentum drop.
  • Trust your intuition to know the perfect questions to ask and the right exercises to use to help the group progress
  • Mix it up—keep things interesting and fresh by varying the exercises and by occasionally springing surprises upon your audience.
  • Don’t be afraid of a little chaos—it’s a natural part of the process. Trust that order will eventually appear.
  • Maintain the delicate balance between achieving results and allowing time for dialogue.


  • It’s easier to be a speaker or facilitator if you love people.
  • Have fun with the people in your audience. A smile and a little appropriate humor go a long way toward lightening up tense situations.
  • Give it your all by pouring your heart and soul into it.
  • Don’t take things personally—people are never upset for the reasons you think.
  • Look for opportunities to WOW!—make the experience unique, memorable and enjoyable.

I hope these tips help you to overcome fear of public speaking and hone your own speaking and facilitation skills.

What other public speaking techniques do you use?

Much success and fulfillment,



(Adapted from Chapter 15 in my new book Energize Your Business: Engage Your Employees with an Inspiring Strategic Planning Process. Read free chapters and learn more at www.EnergizeYourBusiness.biz .)

5 Focal Points of Great LeadersGreat leaders care as much about the growth of their people as they do about the bottom-line—those leaders constantly strive to build high-performing teams while also encouraging individual fulfillment.

Paraphrasing from Jim Collins and Jerry Porras, in their bestselling business book Built to Last, in great organizations everyone knows exactly what needs to be done and when to do it. Like gears in a precision-made clock, everyone’s part synchronizes perfectly with everyone else’s. If someone is absent or having a bad day, like clockwork someone else steps up without missing a beat—without excuses, without ego.

It’s easy to see what greatness looks like in the sports and entertainment industries, since they are so visible and are studied relentlessly under a microscope. We saw it with Brian Epstein and The Beatles 50 years ago. We saw it in 2016’s Super Bowl upset with John Elway, Payton Manning, and the Denver Broncos. We saw it with Dayton Moore and the 2015 Kansas City Royals. More than see it, we feel it!

Here are 5 essential focal points of great leaders in great organizations:

Aspiration – Great leaders aspire to achieve lofty visions and have their employees and organizations “be the best they can be.” They generate a high level of “Team Spirit.” The highest aspiration for any organization is to have the entire team performing such that they almost move together as one unit in pursuit of a mutual goal.

Assessment – Great leaders assess the present situation to determine the best path forward. They continuously monitor employees and customers to better understand their ever-changing desires and expectations—always looking for ways to increase their level of satisfaction and fulfillment. They are also skillful predictors of their competition’s next move.

Alignment – Great Leaders create alignment and support from the top of the organization to the front-line. They strive to get everyone focused and moving in the same direction, toward the same vision, demonstrating the same behavioral values.

Accountability – Great leaders coach employees to live their agreements. They create a culture of personal responsibility and accountability such that employees understand the level of performance that is expected of them. Great leaders understand that anyone who chooses not to fulfill their agreements will probably be happier somewhere else, and they help them to see that.

Acknowledgment – Great leaders catch people in the act of doing things right. They build a culture of celebration and appreciation while improving the quality and depth of communication, strengthening relationships, and building trust.

How are your leaders doing with implementing the 5 focal points? What other focal points do you suggest?

Much success and fulfillment,



(Adapted from Appendix B of my new book Energize Your Business: Engage Your Employees with an Inspiring Strategic Planning Process. Read free chapters and learn more at www.EnergizeYourBusiness.biz .)

Mission EnthusiasmDo you have a mission statement that clearly defines the unique business that you are in or about?

Do your employees and customers understand your organization’s mission?


W. Clement Stone said…

“When you discover your mission, you will feel its demand. It will fill you with enthusiasm and a burning desire to get to work on it.” 

Clearly defining your mission helps you to know which opportunities to say “yes” to and which to turn down. It becomes your “energy umbrella.” Every opportunity under the umbrella of your mission is a wise investment of your organization’s energy and resources. Anything outside the umbrella will not resonate with what is important to your organization. It is a valuable tool to decide on what to expend precious resources.

 “Clearly defining your mission helps you to know what opportunities to say ‘yes’ to and which to turn down.”

 A mission statement is an umbrella proposition that should encompass all you chose to do. It defines the business you are in or about. A mission statement, well written, will answer the following questions:

  1. How do you choose to have people behave (most important core values)?
  2. Why is your organization here (core purpose; the heart of your mission statement)?
  3. What does your organization do (products and services you provide)?
  4. What results do you desire for your organization (beyond just making money)?
  5. Who does your organization serve (your customers)?

The key to crafting a good mission statement is to make it simple but not too vague. Make it heartfelt and not too heady. Make it unique to your organization so as to distinguish you from your competitors. Make it memorable and inspiring to all who read it.

Here are a few mission statement examples that may help get you started with creating your own:

Starbucks Mission: To inspire and nurture the human spirit—one person, one cup, and one neighborhood at a time.

Our TLC Mission: We help create cultures of character and success that inspire hope and awaken the greatness in people, organizations and communities—guiding organizations to get clear, get organized, get going, and get results.

When you have completed your organizational mission statement, consider asking your department managers to gather with their direct reports to craft each department’s mission statement. This exercise will help employees to become clearer about the scope of their service to the organization. Additionally, you will find it to be a meaningful and engaging employee team building experience.

I always recommend to my clients that they revisit their mission annually, because their organization needs to evolve as the needs of their target market changes. Your organization’s core purpose and core values should stand the test of time once you get them right. However, keep your mission like clay that you continue to mold as you get clearer on the business you’re in or about.

Enjoy igniting your enthusiasm and burning desire by creating or rejuvenating your mission statement.

Much success and fulfillment,



(Adapted from Chapter 4 of my new book Energize Your Business: Engage Your Employees with an Inspiring Strategic Planning Process. Read free chapters and learn more at www.EnergizeYourBusiness.biz .)

Core Values GraphicWhat does your organization stand for—your core values? Successful business owners understand how vital a company’s core values are to creating a company culture that results in happy, productive, successful employees, which, in turn, leads to happy customers and a healthy bottom-line.

Values are your guide for weathering ethical dilemmas. They become the fabric for weaving good sound decisions. Values become your employees’ moral compass. For your company’s values to permeate throughout your organization, it will take conscious, consistent, deliberate actions.

Jim Collins & Jerry Porras (authors, Built to Last) say…

“The only truly reliable source of stability is a strong inner core [purpose and values] and the willingness to change and adapt everything except that core.”

Core values form the root system of your organization. Values nourish and stabilize your company. They represent the ideals that your organization stands for. They form your legacy. The more widespread and deeply imbedded your values, the more likely it is that your organization will stand the test of time. A company that knows and practices core values can weather storms and the winds of change… (Click here to read more of this LinkedIn article)


(Adapted from Chapter 3 of my new book Energize Your Business: Engage Your Employees with an Inspiring Strategic Planning Process. Read free chapters and learn more at www.EnergizeYourBusiness.biz .)

Football Goal“Goals provide the energy source that powers our lives. One of the best ways we can get the most from the energy we have is to focus it. That is what goals can do for us; concentrate our energy.”

~Dennis Waitley, author of Seeds of Greatness

“Goals provide the energy source that powers our lives.”

As I am sitting here reflecting on successes during this past year and projecting possibilities for 2016, I am reminded how goals give us greater clarity and direction for living more joyful, fulfilling, and meaningful lives.

Here’s a little guidance about setting goals the really S.M.A.R.T. W.A. Y. Make them…

  • Specific (not too vague),
  • Measureable (so you know the progress you’re making),
  • Attainable (but a definite stretch),
  • Relevant (in alignment with your purpose, values, mission and vision), and…
  • Time-bound (scheduled milestones). It is also important that you have them be…
  • Written (this makes them more solid), and build in…
  • Accountability (hence the need for individual development plans for your employees) and, finally, have a strong…
  • Yearning to achieve them (never underestimate the power of enthusiasm).

Lofty goals can be both inspiring and daunting at the same time. With that in mind, you’ve probably heard the question, “How do you eat an elephant?” And you probably remember the answer: “One bite at a time!” This is exactly how you can help reduce the overwhelmed feeling people may experience as they begin to tackle “big, hairy, audacious goals” (BHAG’s), an acronym created by Jim Collins and Jerry Porras in their book, Built to Last.

17-CH08-Fig07-P105-MM G-O-S-TTo reduce overwhelm and procrastination, large goals need to be broken down into smaller, “bite-sized” milestones in order to get a better understanding of what it will take to achieve them. These milestones are sometimes referred to as objectives, strategies and tactics. A goal can be segmented into objectives, objectives segmented into strategies, and strategies segmented into tactics—in a cascading effect, ranging from larger to smaller segments. This is similar to a stream cascading down a mountain. With each subsequent segment, the goal becomes more refined, more clear, and more specific.

Think of goals more as a process than as a destination. People grow and become stronger as they stretch toward goals. The bigger and more hairy (difficult or complex) the goal, the greater is the potential for growth and transformation, so long as it doesn’t cause people to feel too overwhelmed.

“Think of goals more as a process than as a destination.”

Enjoy this dynamic, effective goal-setting process for jumping to lightspeed in 2016… and feel the force!

Much success and fulfillment,



(Adapted from Chapter 8 of my new book Energize Your Business: Engage Your Employees with an Inspiring Strategic Planning Process. Read free chapters and learn more at www.EnergizeYourBusiness.biz  )