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,

Ray

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(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 .)

Goals-Objectives-Strategies-Tactics

“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

Strategic planning will serve as your strategic roadmap, compass, and GPS for your business adventure. However, sometimes we can get bogged down by all the terminology. Let’s see if we can simplify the process.

My wife, Lyn, and I love RVing. Whenever we’re planning a trip, we first decide where we want to go. Then, we chart our course on a map to see what route we like best that will include other interesting destinations along the way. Then, we set goals or milestones for each day. Sometimes we choose the shortest distance from point “A” to point “B.” At other times, we choose the most interesting and scenic routes, depending on our goals.  We begin each day by programming our GPS with that day’s destination (we affectionately call our GPS device Mrs. G). As a result of this guidance system in our truck, we receive continuous confirmation that we are on track and are not going astray. Yes, we begin with a plan; however, here’s the beauty of our system: We build in flexibility for taking new and exciting excursions that we often times discover along the route. Allowing for spontaneity, we have experienced some magical, enchanting adventures beyond our wildest dreams.

I suggest that you build in similar flexibility within the plan for your business. Allow it to unfold in new and exciting ways as you discover unknown vistas, as situations change, or when new trends emerge. Don’t be so rigid that you miss valuable opportunities that present themselves along the way toward fulfilling your mission and vision.

Some strategic planning approaches make this part much too complicated. Again, just think of it like this: Any Goals you set should be in alignment with your Purpose, Values, Mission, and Vision.

A good initial question to ask is, “What themes or focus areas are most important to the success of our organization?”

Hint: Establish goals that will be inspiring and energizing, not just financial targets to achieve. Consider focus areas such as Employees, Products, Services, Outreach, and yes, of course, Financial. Adopt a holistic approach that will inspire your employees and increase the value you provide to your customers—the sum of which work together, contributing to your bottom line.

 “Establish goals that will be inspiring and energizing,

not just financial targets to achieve.”

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.

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.

Once you have identified the Goal Areas, ask yourself, “Which Goals should we focus upon in order to improve or make strides in that area?”

Then ask, “What are major milestones that need to be achieved in order to accomplish each Goal?” These milestones become your “Objectives.”

If your Objectives still seem daunting, ask yourself, “What needs to be done in order to accomplish these Objectives?” These milestones become your “Strategies.”

Then, for each Strategy, ask yourself how you’re going to do that. These strategies become your “Tactics,” or action steps. (See the example below.)

Example of the breakdown of a Goal→ Objective→ Strategy→ Tactic

 Goal 1: By the end of the year, increase employee participation by 25 percent in the wellness program.

Objective A: By mid-year, increase employee registration by 15 percent for the weight loss challenge program

Strategy 1: Work with Department Managers to inform employees about the weight loss challenge program by 4/30/16

Tactic A: Provide all Department Managers with a fact sheet about the weight loss challenge program to distribute to employees at weekly staff meetings by 5/31/16

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.

Enjoy this dynamic, effective cascading process for accomplishing your goals.

Much success and fulfillment,

Ray

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(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 .)

Focus Your Energy“Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you.” ~Oprah Winfrey

With a vast number of opportunities to consider for your organization, how do you choose the ones that are most likely to bring you success? You need a reliable method for determining which opportunities to focus on. Here’s how to make decision-making easier: Focus your attention on your intention. This post expands upon my February 9, 2016 blog post, “The Expansive Power of Vision“.

Given that so many interests and choices always compete for your precious resources, how do you decide which are most important to you and your organization?
In my years of professional facilitation and personal experience, I have come to believe in the value and power of a universal principle that has helped me and my clients to make effective, timely decisions—when to say “yes” to an opportunity and when to say “no”.

This universal principle—called the Law of Attraction—states that whatever we focus our attention on gains strength and attracts more of the same. It is perhaps the most consistent and visible demonstration of the Law of Cause and Effect.

What you focus on expands and grows stronger. So why not focus upon what you want, rather than upon what you don’t want? When you focus your attention (thoughts and actions) upon your intention (mission, vision, values, etc.), you send a clear message about what’s important to you and your organization.

“What you focus on expands and grows stronger.”

If you have ever seen the movie Patch Adams—based on a true story—you will remember that Robin Williams, who played Patch, checked himself into a mental hospital in an attempt to escape his problems. As an orderly escorted Patch to the common area, a resident patient jumped in front of Patch, held up four fingers in front of his face, and excitedly asked, “How many? How many fingers?” Surprised, Patch responded quickly, “Four!” In disgust, the patient blurted, “IDIOT!” and ran off.

Eventually, Patch discovered that the patient was a brilliant scientist named Arthur Mendelson. In a subsequent scene, Patch entered Arthur’s room and asked what the four fingers meant. Arthur asked Patch to hold up four fingers in front of his face. Then, Arthur asked again, “How many?” Patch again said, “Four.” Then Arthur told Patch not to focus on the fingers–to look past the fingers. When Patch looked past his fingers, they appeared to be transparent; and he saw eight fingers. Patch said, “Eight!”
“That’s right!” Arthur encouraged Patch. “Don’t focus on the problem—focus on the solution.”

“Don’t focus on the problem—focus on the solution.”

Applying Arthur’s wisdom of focusing on solutions and goals, you will discover that problems don’t appear so daunting. That’s what goal-setting will do for you and your organization—it will cause you to focus on what you want and what is important and constructive.

By taking time to clarify your purpose, mission, values, and vision, you will form the “Cone of Influence” for your organization. Then, by setting goals in alignment with this Cone of Influence, you will move purposefully toward their realization and create a greater chance for employee fulfillment. All these elements, working together, will complete your picture of success.

Defining your unique “Cone of Influence” will make it clearer to you which opportunities (symbolized by the stars) to say “yes” to, and which ones to say “no” to. Opportunities within your “Cone” will be in alignment with what is important to you. For those opportunities that are outside your “Cone,” you can quickly say “no” and avoid wasting your precious time, resources, and energy. It is all about making sure that, in each present moment—right now—you focus on what matters most to you.

To be successful as an organization make sure that everything you and your employees do is in alignment with what is most important to the organization—by “focusing your attention on your intention.” (See Figure 6.) This model is actually a simplified way of showing how all the elements of the strategic planning process unfold and support each other—all leading to the wisest use of each moment of “now.”

Here’s how it works:

  1. The Purpose, Values, Mission, and Vision form the “Cone of Influence” of your organization. These elements define the depth and breadth of what is important to your organization. The more lofty the Vision, the wider is the Cone of Influence.
  2. The stars represent opportunities to expend or invest resources. Stars that are located outside the Cone of Influence represent opportunities to which you should say “no.” They are not in alignment with the direction of your organization. Stars that appear within the Cone of Influence represent opportunities to which you could say “yes,” depending on available resources. These are opportunities in alignment with what is important to your organization.
  3. When Goals and Action Plans are developed for those opportunities within the Cone of Influence, they will help fulfill the Purpose, Mission, Values and Vision of your organization. Any pursuits of opportunities outside that realm will be wasted, scattered energy.

Is your organization focused on what matters most?

Much success and fulfillment,

Ray

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(Adapted from Chapter 7 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 .)

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,

Ray

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(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 .)

Vision & The Cone of InfluenceFor 2016, aspire to reach new heights with a clear picture of what you are striving to achieve as an organization.

“When you create a clear vision, it expands the collective thinking of your organization to encompass greater possibility and influence. A lofty vision is energizing. It excites everyone involved. It generates hope for the future.”

 

In my past three articles, we explored the power of purpose, values, and mission. In this article we will “tackle” (a little Superbowl residue…what a game Sunday night…congrats Broncos!) vision, the other element that together forms the “Cone of Influence” of your organization. These elements define the depth and breadth of what is important to your organization. The more lofty your vision, the wider your Cone of Influence.

The stars represent potential opportunities to expend or invest resources. Any stars outside the Cone of Influence represent those you should not include in your planning. They are not in alignment with the direction and focus of your organization. Those stars within the Cone of Influence represent opportunities that you could develop or undertake, depending on available resources. These are opportunities in alignment with what is important to your organization.

What do you see as your organization’s most desirable future state—with everything in perfect working order? Don’t worry about when you will achieve it; instead, focus your energy first on what it looks like. Then, after you’ve created the perfect picture, by all means begin identifying the timeframes in which you think you can achieve each of the elements of the vision.

As a personal practice, I make it a point to do business with people who create an extraordinary experience. One such company is T.C. Eggington’s in Mesa, Arizona—my favorite brunch destination. There is something very special about this multi-award-winning, 30-year-old Best of Phoenix eating establishment… (Click here to read more)

Much success and fulfillment,

 

Ray

 

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(Adapted from Chapter 5 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,

Ray

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(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 .)

Martin Luther King JrDr. Martin Luther King, Jr., visited India in the early 1960s to learn satyagraha principles first-hand from Mahatma Gandhi’s family and followers.  He used these principles of nonviolence to lead the civil rights movement of the 1960s. This resulted in improving privileges and rights of African Americans throughout the United States.

Like Gandhi, King saw injustice being imposed on people because of the color of their skin.  Martin held dear the words crafted by Thomas Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence:  “We hold these truths to be self-evident:  That all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”  For him, it was time to take a stand and create a movement to bring our society back into alignment with this wisdom.  His choice was to do it nonviolently.

Martin Luther King clearly understood his “Big Why”—his purpose for creating one of the most successful Civil Rights movements the world has known.

Do you know your “Big Why”—your Core Purpose? If not, lasting success may elude you.

The core purpose of your organization is like the seed of an apple. “You can count the number of seeds in an apple, but you can’t count the number of apples in a seed.” No one knows the potential yield of your organization and how much your employees can produce in the lifetime of your company.

Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Cause and effect, means and ends, seed and fruit, cannot be severed; for the effect already blooms in the cause, the end pre-exists in the means, the fruit in the seed.”

Your organization has a unique core purpose for serving the world. This is your “Big Why?”—why your organization was started in the first place—beyond just making money. What’s yours? It is most likely the original heartfelt reason you decided (or are deciding) to take a leap of faith and start a business.

“Knowing your core purpose keeps you centered on what’s most important—during good times and challenging times.”

Remember when you first got excited about the idea of starting your own business—when you got goose bumps just thinking about it? Where were you? What was your inspired idea that grew into your “Big Why?” for doing it—beyond just making money? The answer is something very simple and profound at the core of your mission as an organization.

This is the core purpose of your company. It should be at the heart of everything you do, all the decisions you make. It is why your organization exists. It either solves a problem or fulfills an aspiration or desire. It is the seed that, when properly nurtured, will begin to take root.

Once you and your employees understand your core purpose and have placed it at the heart of everything you do, everyone involved will make good, sound decisions. It will be a compass for all you choose to do.

Here are some examples of core purposes from successful companies that you probably know:

  • Disney – “To bring happiness to millions”
  • Nordstrom – “Service to the customer above all else”
  • Johnson and Johnson – “To alleviate pain and disease”
  • Walmart – “We exist to provide value to our customers”
  • My company, TLC – “We inspire hope and awaken greatness”

What’s the Core Purpose of your organization?

Much success and fulfillment,

Ray

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(Adapted from Chapter 2 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  and Chapter 28 from my book Ray of Hope: Inspiring Peace)

On a frigid December day in northern Minnesota, I was facilitating a strategic planning retreat for the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe. More than 75 people from different departments within the tribal government were meeting in small groups in the ballroom of one of their casino enterprises. I was introducing elements of the strategic planning process, step-by-step, and the participants were storyboarding their input on flipcharts at their tables. Many of the participants had never been asked to participate in a strategic planning process like this before, so part of my time was spent teaching and coaching about the different elements.

Tree of Organizational Success

Tree of Organizational Success

Two hours into the morning of the first day, Vicki, a leader from their Education Department, came up to me on a break and shared a metaphor of the tree, relating it to the strategic planning process. It described perfectly the significance of each element of the process and how each is related energetically and how all are connected to the whole system.

That night I captured her thoughts in the graphic shown, “The Tree of Organizational Success.” That tree became our guide for the next several days of our process. People got it! Since that day, I have continued to use it as a tool to guide groups in their strategic planning processes. Here’s the essence of what she shared with me.

Seed = Purpose: Every tree begins with a seed. The tree exists within the seed. Each seed has a specific, unique purpose. A pine-cone seed can grow up to be only a pine tree. An acorn can grow up to be only an oak tree. An apple seed can grow up to be only an apple tree. Every organization has a unique core purpose for how to serve the world. This is “the big why?”— the reason the organization was started in the first place—beyond just making money.

Roots = Values: With the right amount of sun, water and minerals from the earth, the seed begins to sprout roots. Roots help to nourish the tree by drawing water and minerals up from the soil. They also help to stabilize the tree against external forces like wind and floods. Roots also stabilize the tree within the surrounding soil, which can become weak from erosion. Roots are invisible to the eye, but they serve the tree in several other important ways. The deeper and wider the root system, the more nourishment the tree will receive. Roots represent the core values and culture in an organization. They are what your organization stands for. They are your legacy. The more widespread and deeply embedded your core values, the more likely it is that your organization will stand the test of time.

Trunk = Spirit / Life-force Energy = Mission and Vision: When the tree’s roots spread out and deepen enough, the tree begins to sprout and break through the surface of the earth. It first becomes visible as a delicate sprout that eventually forms the trunk. As the tree grows tall for all to see, its life-force energy and spirit becomes evident. The trunk of the tree is analogous to the mission and vision of an organization. Everyone can see and experience the magnitude of its energy and presence. The mission and vision are the life-force, or spirit, of the organization. Many will be prospered, served and inspired during the life of the organization.

Branches = Departments and Goals Set: Branches bud and spread out from the trunk in all directions. These branches will support the foliage and fruit that will come. The greater the reach of the branches and canopy, the more fruit the tree is capable of producing. It soon begins serving animals and insects—providing shade, food and refuge.The branches symbolize the various departments and the multiple goals of the organization. The loftier the goals set throughout your organization, the greater the potential for organizational and personal achievement.

Fruit = Success and Goals Achieved: As fall approaches, the world begins to see apples form on an apple tree. You—and the world—can now see how plentiful the harvest will become, weather and critters permitting. The fruits of your labor are becoming visible. The fruit harvest represents goals achieved, success manifested. A bountiful harvest serves your customers, employees and vendors.

I love the simplicity and organic perspective that I received from my student (and teacher), Vicki, that day.

Enjoy growing your bountiful tree of organizational success.

Much success and fulfillment,

Ray

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(Adapted from the Introduction 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  )

Before you begin your 2016 strategic planning process, take this quick and easy assessment. The Circle of Success is a simple assessment tool that will enable you and your employees to see at a glance the “flat spots” in your organization as well as the areas in which you are maximizing your potential. I consider it an organizational medicine wheel.

Circle of Success

Circle of Success Assessment Tool

I have been using this simple, yet revealing strategic planning tool for many years when I work with the organizations I serve. It provides leaders, like you, with a quick visual assessment of many of the ingredients that generate success and profitability in organizations. It’s also a remarkable, engaging teambuilding exercise. Here’s how it works:

  1. You’ll notice that there are four quadrants in this wheel: (1) Planning; (2) Staffing; (3) Teambuilding; (4) Processes. Each quadrant has 4-sectors, or focus areas, (in which to invest energy and resources)—a total of 16 focus areas to assess.
  2. Superimposed on the Circle of Success is a horizontal scale identified by 10 concentric circles with zero (“0”) in the center and “10” on the outer circumference.
  3. Here’s how it works: First, decide what you want to assess—the organization as a whole or any individual department you choose. Invite your leaders to do the same to see how your collective points-of-view align or differ.
  4. Now it’s time to score how you think/feel your organization is doing. The scoring works like this: Zero (“0”) is the lowest score and indicates that your organization or department is performing poorly in that particular area. Ten (“10”) means your organization or department is functioning in an exemplary manner in that particular area and couldn’t do better if you tried.
  5. Score each sector separately by asking yourself, “At this point in time, how well has our organization (or department) defined, communicated and performed in this particular area?” (As a first step, you can score each sector on the matrix shown on the following page if you desire.) For each sector, put an “X” on the scale in the center of the wedge you are scoring.
  6. When you have scored all 16 sectors, connect the dots. (See the example below)

Circle of Success Example 2014-06-26

Example of completed Circle of Success Assessment

  1. Now look at the “wheel” of connected dots you have just created. Would the “wheel” roll? Do you happen to see any interesting shapes? (Similar to looking for shapes in cloud formations, some of my perceptive clients have enjoyed identifying shapes resembling birds, bells, and other outrageous images. Have fun with it!)
  2. Compare your wheel with others who have joined you in doing this exercise. Discuss the similarities and differences.
  3. Now identify low, “flat spots” on the wheel that need attention. These are notable areas in which to set goals and invest resources, maximizing your potential by bringing those areas back into alignment and balance.
  4. Use this tool at least quarterly to see how well your organization (or department) is progressing. There will always be new sectors of your organization that need attention because organizations are living, breathing organisms constantly ebbing, flowing, and morphing.

It’s your turn now. Give it a try. I think you’ll like its simplicity and effectiveness. (Download your free Circle of Success Assessment Guide.)

Much success and fulfillment,

Ray

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(Adapted from Chapter 1 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  )

To download a free Circle of Success Assessment Guide go to www.EnergizeYourBusiness.biz .