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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.

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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

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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

What does love and Valentine’s Day have to do with business? In a nutshell, everything!

  • Customers and employees who feel loved are more loyal to your company.
  • Employees who love their bosses and their jobs perform better.
  • Customers and employees who feel loved share their experiences with others.

What if this is true: “It’s all about love!”?

Simply put: Love aspires. Love inspires. Love grows.

Let’s look at two extraordinary companies, both of which were launched in 1971—more than 45 years ago—operating with love as an essential core value.

Have you ever enjoyed a burger and a beer at a Hard Rock Café? Did you know that the company was founded by two hippies who chose love, peace, and rock-‘n-roll as their mantra? Isaac Tigrett and Peter Morton were two shaggy-haired Americans who just wanted to find a good American burger while living in London. They built their first café on London’s Hyde Park corner as the first “classless” restaurant in the class-laden English society.

Today there are more than 175 Hard Rock locations, which include restaurants, hotels, casinos, and live music venues in 55 countries. Emblazoned on the wall of every property is, “Love All, Serve All.” It is the life—and business—success principle that Tigrett borrowed from his guru in India.

The Seminole Tribe acquired the Hard Rock companies in 2007, continuing to keep its love-based culture alive. Their mottos are still visible: “Love All, Serve All,” “Take Time to Be Kind,” “All Is One,” and “Save the Planet.” And how’s this for a core value: “Deliver kick-ass service.”

Southwest Airlines is another company that fearlessly embraces love (“LUV”) as a fundamental principle.

Read more

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

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

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

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

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 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

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

 

https://www.facebook.com/TimMcGraw/videos/10153924575173556/

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

Hold the door, say please, say thank you

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

I know you got mountains to climb but

Always stay humble and kind

When the dreams you’re dreamin’ come to you

When the work you put in is realized

Let yourself feel the pride but

Always stay humble and kind

 

Don’t expect a free ride from no one

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

Bitterness keeps you from flyin’

Always stay humble and kind

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

Much happiness, fulfillment, and success,

Ray

 

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 .

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

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(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

Hope you’re having a very Happy Holiday season.

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Great tool for planning and strategizing for 2016.

 

 

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  • vivid color graphics
  • convenient built-in links for easy searching and navigating from topic to topic
  • sharing with your team on a computer screen, tablet, or on a projector screen

Please help me to spread the word about this special offer. http://amzn.to/1JgFKhW

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

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(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 .)