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,

Ray

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

(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  )

 

NASA Hubble-Barred Spiral GalaxyUse your next strategic plan as a vehicle to build trust with your workforce.

Instead of feeling the burden of thinking you have to do it alone, ignite the enthusiasm and passion (the Force) in your employees by involving them in making the new strategic plan come alive.

The more you involve people in its implementation, the greater will be their enthusiastic buy-in and support for the plan–and trust in the direction of the organization.

5 ways to build trust by engaging employees in the strategic planning process 

  1. Involve ALL employees in the process, from the CEO to the frontline –Give everyone the opportunity to share ideas, knowing that all ideas will be considered. This is a skillful way to tap into the vast knowledge and experience that is frequently underutilized in organizations. Allow this collaborative process to be like an artist molding a clay sculpture of the desired future state of your organization. Involving them demonstrates your trust in their ideas.
  2. Encourage your managers to create individual development plans for everyone in the organization – Assign every employee at least one goal to work actively toward achieving. Let everyone have a piece of the puzzle so they can feel a sense of pride and ownership in the success of the organization’s new direction. Allow them to feel a sense of meaning and belonging to something bigger than themselves. Assigning them to a goal demonstrates your trust in their abilities.
  3. Create Declarations of Understanding (DOUs) –List the behaviors that will constitute a sense of support and co-operation among employees—the ways in which they can count on each other. Clarify in writing your desires and expectations regarding your direct reports, and let them reciprocate by sharing their desires and expectations of you. Then, encourage your direct reports to do the same with their direct reports, thus creating a cascading effect throughout the organization. The DOUs help to clarify decision-making authority, solidify boundaries, and minimize unpleasant or awkward “surprises” at employee performance review time. This open dialogue builds mutual understanding and trust.
  4. Keep the plan alive by establishing a team of “Eagles” –A proficient way to keep people engaged is to establish an Eagle Team (or Steering Committee) whose sole purpose is to keep the high watch and continually infuse energy into implementing the plan. This team keeps track of progress and adjusts the plan when new, unforeseen developments arise, recommending mid-course corrections to executive leadership. When building your Eagle Team, assign high-performing employees (“Eagles”) from different levels and functional areas of your organization—and be sure to inform each team member that this special assignment is an honor and privilege. Remember to listen to what those on your team suggest, and act on as many ideas as possible. Failure to follow through could jeopardize the entire collaborative process and undermine trust. Implementing their recommendations demonstrates your trust in their judgment.
  5. Provide transparent, consistent, and frequent communication – Create a systematic communication plan for sharing progress toward the organization’s vision, strategies, and goals. Report milestones achieved and express appreciation for the efforts of all your team members. Be candid in your communications and seek input for improvements from employees at every level within the company, and listen intently to the feedback you receive. After all the energy you will have invested, the last thing you want them to say is, “Why did I bother? They didn’t do anything with my ideas anyway!” The absence of communication will lead you to the “Dark Side” (rumors). The rumor mill is quite efficient but is seldom accurate and constructive. Candid, timely communication builds a culture of trust.

In what other ways do you “trust the Force” (workforce)?

Much success and fulfillment,

Ray

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

(Adapted from Chapter 10 of Energize Your Business: Engage Your Employees with an Inspiring Strategic Planning Process by Ray Madaghiele.

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Energize Your Business cover

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Much success and fulfillment,

Ray

The SPOC Analysis

Here is a great employee engagement exercise for every leader to build into their end of year routine before beginning strategic planning for the new year.

Before beginning any journey, you first need to know where you are. To better understand where you are in business its helpful to know what got you here. Warren Buffett, CEO, Berkshire Hathaway, and philanthropist, says…

“In the business world, the rearview mirror is always clearer than the windshield.”

Remember the last time you were planning a trip and consulted a map? First, you identified your current position. Next, you located your destination. And then you figured out the best route between the two points.

In a similar manner, applying the elements presented in this article will enable you first to understand your current position as an organization so you can chart the best course to achieve your company’s values, mission and vision.

It’s time to do some soul-searching. The deeper you choose to go into your analysis, the easier your next steps will be. Some facilitators call this next part of the process a SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats). But I like to call upon a “higher source” by renaming this soul-searching aspect the SPOC analysis (Strengths, Possible Improvements, Opportunities, and Challenges). It may seem trivial, but I’ve always loved the logical- and positive-minded Mr. Spock, from “Star Trek,” so I suppose this is a tribute to him. Rest in peace, legendary actor Leonard Nimoy. Thanks for the memorable v-shaped hand signal and the benevolent affirmation…

 “Live long and prosper.”

So, what is the SPOC analysis; and why should you do it? In the process of building your business, the SPOC analysis offers a great, revealing way to assess where you are right now and then to scan the business environment in order to anticipate the possibilities that might present themselves on your journey toward achieving your values, mission and vision. It also identifies key areas that you may want to focus attention upon in the form of goals, objectives, or strategies. We’ll discuss more about that later.

Are you ready? Here’s how the SPOC Analysis process works:

  1. Answer the question “What are your organization’s Strengths?” These are the areas in which your organization does well, in which you excel. Capitalize on these strengths, and your organization will prosper, your teams will maximize their potential, and your employees will be productive and fulfilled.
  2. Answer the question “What Possible Improvements would help your organization to be more successful?” These are areas in which you may presently be experiencing some deficiencies. When guiding leaders through this segment of the SPOC analysis, I prefer to coach them to be proactive in identifying what needs to be improved in order to achieve their core purpose, core values, mission, and vision more quickly and effectively. These deficiencies act as speed bumps, slowing your progress.
  3. Answer the question “What potential Opportunities could be seized to move your organization toward accomplishing its mission and vision?” These ideas are most likely untapped activities and projects, or knowledge and skill-building events. Taking advantage of these opportunities will accelerate your progress toward success.
  4. Answer the question “What Challenges may need to be overcome?” Consider them as obstacles or roadblocks standing in the way of achieving success. These challenges could even be showstoppers for you and your company. Like water flowing along a rocky stream, you will need to find creative solutions in order to make your way over, around or through these obstacles in order to realize your mission and vision.
  5. If they didn’t surface when you were brainstorming the “Opportunities” and “Challenges,” what trends are emerging in your industry?

Answers to these five questions will help you to identify goals, objectives and strategies on which to focus your organization’s energy and attention.

So, why not do some soul searching before planning the new year…

  1. What are your Strengths as an organization?
  2. What are Possible Improvements in order for your organization to succeed?
  3. What Opportunities could you pursue to accelerate your progress?
  4. What are potential Challenges that may stand in your way toward achieving success?
  5. What trends are emerging in your industry?

Much success and fulfillment and Happy Holidays,

Ray

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

(Adapted from Chapter 6 of Energize Your Business: Engage Your Employees with an Inspiring Strategic Planning Process by Ray Madaghiele.)

$0.99 SPECIAL HOLIDAY OFFER!!! This Friday, December 18, you can purchase the new Energize Your Business eBook on Amazon for just $0.99. You’ve purchased gifts for everyone else. Now it’s your turn to treat yourself. Just click here to order on Friday www.EnergizeYourBusiness.biz . You will also see a special 15% off Holiday coupon code for the print book.

Strategic Planning MythsDo you want energize your business or are you thinking of starting a business for the new year? Strategic planning is a great place to begin no matter what myths you’ve heard.

During my twenty-five years of facilitating strategic planning processes for a wide variety of organizations and communities, I have heard many myths about strategic planning. You may even believe some of them yourself. Let’s bust some of the myths. Here goes…

Myth #1: Small business owners don’t need a strategic plan unless they intend to get money from investors or banks.

  • Myth Buster #1: Even if you are starting a business with your own funds, a strategic plan will help create a clear set of blueprints in order to manifest your inspired business concept.

Myth #2: Strategic planning is boring drudgery to be tolerated, much like swallowing awful-tasting medicine that’s good for you in the long run.

  • Myth Buster #2: Strategic planning is, in fact, a fun way to make a unique brand come alive. Every strategy and action is an opportunity to make the planning and implementation fun.

Myth #3:  The strategic planning process is a hard, complex, heady process that only someone with an MBA could possibly appreciate and understand.

  • Myth Buster #3: Strategic planning can tap into the unique wisdom and understanding of your company’s employees. Avoid using complicated terms and models. Instead, keep it simple and understandable by all.

Myth #4: Strategic planning is an esoteric process, reserved for leaders in Fortune 500 companies and created on corporate “mountain-tops.” Then, management delivers the completed tablets to its loyal subjects in the form of new laws to follow.

  • Myth Buster #4: You can use strategic planning as a way to strengthen collaboration and cooperation, using the process to reenergize and engage employees and create alignment around a loftier mission and a concrete action plan.

Myth #5: Employees have more important things to do than to waste time planning. Besides, frontline employees don’t care about planning and have very little to contribute to the process anyway.

  • Myth Buster #5: Everyone wants to be part of something great, and each person wants to be heard. Your company will experience powerful results by giving every employee a voice. The collective vision will prove to be very lucrative for all stakeholders. Employees do, indeed, care—and have a lot to offer.

Myth #6: Strategic plans are just nice pronouncements that collect dust on a bookshelf, to be opened again only at next year’s company retreat.

  • Myth Buster #6: Even if the type of planning process you are accustomed to has been a yearly exercise in futility that can be changed now to make the process more meaningful. Consider creating dynamic strategic roadmaps every few months, which will help re-focus resources on what matters most and keep the company’s enduring cultural values alive.

In summary, from my experience, these myths are far from the truth. In truth, a strategic planning process done well . . .

  • is an engaging, inspiring and fun opportunity to create collaboration and cooperation among all employees
  • creates alignment from the top of the organization to the frontline—getting everyone moving in the same direction toward the same vision and goals
  • attracts the right and perfect employees and customers, people who resonate with the organization’s culture and aspirations
  • energizes and lifts the organization and everyone in it to the next level of success and fulfillment!

Enjoy creating your own inspiring and engaging strategic planning process to energize you and your business for the new year!

Much success and fulfillment,

Ray


(Adapted from the Preface and Chapter 14 of Energize Your Business: Engage Your Employees with an Inspiring Strategic Planning Process by Ray Madaghiele. Learn more and receive freebies and Holiday special promotions at www.EnergizeYourBusiness.biz .)

Energize Your Business cover

Receive your special 30% VIP discount code (good through 11/30/15) to purchase Energize Your Business…

Hope you and your family had an amazing Thanksgiving and are recovering from Black Friday, especially if you braved the early morning frenzy.

If you’re still shopping for gifts for your entrepreneur friends and family members, here’s a thoughtful solution that I think you’ll like…and you don’t even have to leave the comfort of your home.

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Have a great weekend and happy shopping!

Ray

Read the first few chapters for free at www.EnergizeYourBusiness.biz

Golden Rule 02These turbulent global times demand that we return to basic universal principles both personally and professionally.

Here are some examples of successful organizations that deliver exemplary service by putting into practice a simple, timeless, and powerful core value—The Golden Rule. If you think it’s “too touchy-feely” for your organization, think again.

How about Hewlett Packard’s “The HP Way”— which focuses on respect and concern for the individual. It is simply the Golden Rule, which says, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

HP was identified in Built to Last, by James Collins and Jerry Porras, as one of the most successful visionary companies of the past hundred years.

One of the most popular business books of all time, Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People, dedicates over half its contents to illustrating different facets of “The Golden Rule.” Since the book’s release in 1936, it has sold more than 15 million copies. Today, it is still listed on bestseller lists along with other current top-selling business books.

Not convinced yet? One of the oldest and largest business associations, Rotary International, advocates applying “The 4-Way Test” in making sound business decisions.

Before deciding a course of action, apply “The 4-Way Test” to the things we think, say and do:

  1. Is it the truth?
  2. Is it fair to all concerned?
  3. Will it build goodwill and better friendships?
  4. Will it be beneficial to all concerned?

These are all facets of “The Golden Rule!”

Conclusion: It simply makes good business (and personal) sense to invoke this universal principle of service in order to attract and retain customers (and valued employees).

Whenever I facilitate the core values portion of the strategic planning process, I begin by asking the participants to brainstorm these two types of Golden Rule questions:

  • “How do you like to be treated as an employee?” and
  • “How do your customers like to be treated?”

Answering these simple, yet profound, questions will establish or clarify the behavioral values of your organization. Also, the greater the number of employees you involve in defining “their own behavioral values,” the greater will be their enthusiastic buy-in for implementing them.

You will find that these values also provide a worthwhile tool for measuring individual and team service success.

So, how do you like to be treated?

Much success and fulfillment,

Ray

Ray Madaghiele is Chief Inspiration Officer at Business Energizers, a division of TLC, an organizational and human excellence company.

Ray is the author of the book Energize Your Business: Engage Your Employees with an Inspiring Strategic Planning Process, which was launched last week. Learn more or purchase at www.EnergizeYourBusiness.biz . This article is adapted from Chapter 11.

Ray is a Master Facilitator who has a unique lifestyle as a full-time RVer, operating his business while he and his wife, Lyn, roll across North America. Their present RV lifestyle evolved from Ray’s 3,369 mile, 70 day, transformational bicycle ride from Phoenix, AZ to Ground Zero New York City in 2002.

BaloonsPlease join the celebration for the official Amazon launch of my new book, Energize Your Business: Engage Your Employees with an Inspiring Strategic Planning Process.

It went live today! Woo-hoo!

Thank you for your support and encouragement for this book that will change businesses—and lives.

VIP PRINT BOOK SPECIAL – AVAILABLE NOW!

For many of you, this is also the day you have been waiting for to purchase copies of the print book for yourself, your friends, family, and associates.

I have activated a special discount code that starts today and lasts until Friday, November 15th. You and your family, friends, and associates can purchase as many print books as you wish this week for $5 off each book. That’s an amazing 30% savings! Click here to get the code www.EnergizeYourBusiness.biz

Thank you again for all your support and for being part of a successful book launch!

Much success and fulfillment,

Ray

 

P.S. Please help to spread the word about Energize Your Business. If you’ve already enjoyed reading at least some of the book, would you please post a book review on Amazon. That way people will get a better idea of the value they’ll receive when they purchase their own book.

Remember to download your FREE companion Strategic Planning Guidebook at www.EnergizeYourBusiness.biz. It is designed to help you get the most out of the book’s valuable tools, forms, and tips so you can apply them to your own organization.

Please join the energizing conversations at my blog http://businessenergizers.net/blog.

As always, please spread the word by sharing this information with your family, friends and associates.

20-3rd Phase Intro-Fig10-P110-Get Going COI 2015-05-08Once you “Get Clear” and “Get Organized” it’s time to “Get Going” with everyone on the same page and moving in the same direction. Successful businesses know how important it is to move into action quickly after the direction has been set.

In my previous two blog posts I shared the first 5 steps of the strategic planning process that help you to “Get Clear” about the direction of your organization, and three steps to “Get Organized”. The focus of this blog is moving into action.

Here are the next 2 steps of the strategic planning process cycle to help you “Get Going”…

9.  Prepare for Ignition – Jack Welch said, “When it comes to strategy, ponder less and do more.” After you have defined your Goals, Objectives and Strategies, it’s time to identify how you are going to achieve them—tactically. It’s time to pay attention to the details—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.

Now the proverbial “rubber meets the road.” Up to this point, you have been building potential energy, similar to that of rollercoaster cars climbing the initial big hill. Now it’s time for kinetic energy to take over as the rollercoaster 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. So remember, too, that it’s time to step into your fear and experience the fruits of your labor.

Jack Canfield says, “Remember, you and you alone are responsible for maintaining your energy. Give up blaming, complaining, and excuse-making, and keep taking action in the direction of your goals–however mundane or lofty they may be.”

10.  Keep the Energy Flowing – Napoleon Hill said, “All natural laws and all of nature’s plans are based upon harmonious, cooperative effort.” So, who is responsible for the success of your new strategic plan? Everyone! Gain enthusiastic support and buy-in for the plan by involving ALL employees in the process. Assign everyone a piece of the puzzle to help keep the plan alive. Once your action plans are complete, the task at hand is to keep them alive, employing everyone’s cooperation and collaboration. Don’t let your planning book gather dust on a shelf, never to be seen again until next year’s planning retreat. Allow your strategic plan to be a living, breathing guide to individual and organizational success.

Done right, the strategic plan should guide everyone’s actions by constantly reminding them of the most important use of their time. Create an environment where everyone collaborates to deliver “24k Gold Service” that improves customer and employee loyalty and maximizes profitability.

What do you do to “Get Going” with everyone on the same page and moving in the same direction?

Much success and fulfillment,

Ray

Chief Inspiration Officer
Business Energizers

This post is adapted from my book, Energize Your Business: Engage Your Employees with an Inspiring Strategic Planning Process. Click this link to learn more or purchase:

www.EnergizeYourBusiness.biz

I invite you to follow this blog to learn and share valuable tools and tips. And please connect with me on my social media channels.

12-2nd Phase Intro-Fig06AP85-COI Get OrgHow do you help your employees “Get Organized” as you energize and engage your employees with an inspiring strategic planning process? That’s what successful businesses do.

In my previous blog post I shared the first 5 steps of the strategic planning process that help you to “Get Clear” about the direction of your organization.

Here are the next 3 steps of the strategic planning process cycle to help you solidify your strategic direction and…

Get Organized!

6.  Do Some Soul Searching – Warren Buffet said “In the business world, the rear-view mirror is always clearer than the windshield.” When you reflect on and understand your Strengths, Possible improvements, Opportunities and Challenges (SPOC Analysis) as an organization, you can chart the best course toward your goals and figure out the actions needed to reach your company vision.

7.  Focus Your Energy – What you focus on expands and grows stronger, so, focus your attention on your desired intention. This will help you to know which opportunities to say “yes” to and which to say “no” to. Oprah Winfrey said “Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you.”

8.  Chart Your Course – Companies that use strategic planning to set only financial targets are missing out on some of the most rewarding benefits and possibilities. Establish goals, objectives, and strategies that will be inspiring and energizing, not just financial targets to achieve. Involve your employees in the process before you get too far down the path.

What else do you do to “Get Organized” and get everyone moving toward achieving your strategic direction?

Much success and fulfillment,

Ray
Chief Inspiration Officer
Business Energizers

This post is adapted from my book, Energize Your Business: Engage Your Employees with an Inspiring Strategic Planning Process. Click this link to learn more or purchase:

www.EnergizeYourBusiness.biz

I invite you to follow this blog to learn and share valuable tools and tips. And please connect with me on my social media channels.