Tag Archive for: business strategy

As the year winds down, it’s great to understand where you’ve been, enjoy where you are, and see where you’re going. See the “3 end-of-year rituals that are sure to energize your business” after the special announcement.



If you own a business or are thinking of owning a business, here’s an exciting opportunity for you to create a great 2018…


A Strategic Planning Process

that Energizes Your Business

facilitated by Ray Madaghiele

5:30 to 7:50 p.m. Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Tempe Public Library

I will teach the art and science of facilitating an inspiring strategic planning process for your business. You will be guided to determine the best way to proceed with your own custom-designed strategic planning process for your unique organization. You will learn how to:

  • Create an empowering culture in which your people are focused on what matters most to the success of your organization
  • Gain enthusiastic support for your strategic plan
  • Strengthen accountability by creating alignment and buy-in throughout your organization

All attendees will receive a free participant guidebook and an autographed copy of my book, Energize Your Business: Engage Your Employees with an Inspiring Strategic Planning Process. Your investment is only $25 (all proceeds go to the Greater Phoenix SCORE to support their many services for business owners).

Click here to register at Greater Phoenix SCORE


Here are 3 end-of-year rituals that are sure to energize your business:

  1. Reflect on the Past
  2. Celebrate the Present
  3. Project into the Future

Several sure-fire tips to execute these three rituals in your organization…

Read more

 Strategic Planning Facilitation

(This is the second of two posts highlighting this powerful 12-step process. Click here to read about the first 6-steps in last week’s article.)

12-Step Strategic Planning ProcessEnergize and engage your employees with an inspiring strategic planning process that helps everyone get clear, get organized, get going, and get results. That’s what successful businesses do.

Here are the remaining steps of the 12 steps of the strategic planning process cycle that, done right, tends to amplify and accelerate the success of any organization:


Get Organized…

  1.  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.
  1.  Focus Your Energy – What you focus on expands and grows stronger, so, focus your attention on your desired intention. Oprah Winfrey said “Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you.”
  1.  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 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.

Read more

Strategic Planning FacilitationEnergize and engage your employees with an inspiring strategic planning process that helps everyone get clear, get organized, get going, and get results. That’s what successful businesses do.

(This is the first of two articles highlighting this powerful 12-step process. Look for Part 2 next week.)

Here are the first 6 of 12 steps of the strategic planning process cycle that, done right, tends to amplify and accelerate the success of any organization:

Plan to Plan…

  1.  Set the Right Energy –It all begins with “planning to plan” (the invisible 12th step) which lays the foundation for a successful strategic planning process. Before you take the first step, it is crucial to select the right facilitator, design the right process, send the right message, and create the right atmosphere that resonates with your organization’s culture.

Get Clear…

  1.  See Where You Are – Many leaders are trying to run their organizations with “flat spots” that decrease productivity, produce inefficiencies, and impede growth. A strategic plan is vital for any start-up or seasoned business. It is like a trail map and compass for hiking in the wilderness. But to begin any journey, you first need to know where you are.
  1.  Remember Your ‘Big Why?’ – Knowing your core purpose keeps you centered on what’s most important—during good times and challenging times. The purpose of your organization is like the seed of an apple. No one knows the potential yield of your organization and how much can be produced in the lifetime of your company.

Read more

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 .)

High-Performance TeamThis post is a preview for a workshop that I will be delivering to a group of small business owners and leaders next week. It’s a little longer than most of my articles so sit back, take a little breather and enjoy.

At 9:45 a.m. next Tuesday, March 15, I will be facilitating a workshop at the free 2016 SCORE Small Business Symposium in Scottsdale, Arizona, along with 17 other dynamic, talented speakers. My workshop will be focused on, “Hiring and Training a High-Performance Team”.

Developing high-performing teams is vital to the success of any business. As business owners we all can benefit from valuable, practical tools and tips designed to attract and build a team of “Eagles” whose performance and decision-making align with the highest and best interest of our organization. How well do you…

Attract and select the right and perfect people for your team by…

1)  assuring resonance and passion with your “Big Why”?

2)  infusing your organization’s culture with lofty behavioral values?

3)  assessing team member fit and training needs?

Build a synergistic team that strives to deliver exemplary service by…

4)  understanding the natural, dynamic Cycle of Teams?

5)  creating a culture of O.W.N.E.R.S.H.I.P. and self-accountability?

6)  strengthening team member relationships and communication?

7)  formulating Individual Development Plans that encourage continuous improvement?

Here are some of my thoughts for each objective listed above.

(Click here to read my entire LinkedIn article)


“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,



(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,



(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,



(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,






(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 .)