Tag Archive for: energize your business book

Wow, can you believe we’re already midway through 2021! Have you assessed the success of your organization lately? This quick and easy organizational assessment tool will take you only 10 minutes to see what’s going well and what to improve.

Circle of Success Assessment Tool

Circle of Success Assessment Tool

The Business Energizers™’ Circle of Success TM organizational assessment tool will enable you and your employees to see at a glance the “flat spots” that are hobbling your organization as well as the areas in which you are maximizing your potential. I consider it an organizational medicine wheel.

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 to use the tool to assess the success of your organization:

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A strategic plan is both the roadmap and the compass for your organization. When your plan is done well, it enables you to get clear, get organized, get going, and get results as quickly as possible—so you can get on with operating your day-to-day business.

There are four phases of the process to create your strategic plan:

  • In the 1st Phase, you and your team get clear about the direction to take the organization and why to do it;
  • In the 2nd Phase, you will learn what will motivate your team to get organized and be on the same page, moving in the same direction, and why to do it;

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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.

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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.

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Energizing FacilitationThe success of your strategic planning process depends upon selecting the right facilitator. This person will be the foundation upon which everything is built during the process.

It is critical that you choose a neutral facilitator(s) in order to guarantee that everyone’s voice will be heard. An experienced facilitator will guide the process without bias, ask the tough questions, and ensure that everyone has an opportunity to provide input. A skilled, seasoned facilitator will keep things fun, engaging, and on track by using an array of tools in his or her facilitation tool box—including storyboarding, small group activities, teambuilding elements, interactive dialogue, and intimate experiences—all seamlessly interwoven throughout the natural unfoldment of the process.

Fa·cil·i·ta·tor One that facilitates; especially: one that helps to bring about an outcome (as learning, productivity, or communication) by providing indirect or unobtrusive assistance, guidance, or supervision ~Merriam Webster Dictionary

The science of facilitation is the step-by-step activity. It is what needs to be done to complete each element of the process, while progressively asking the right questions at the right time—each question building upon the next.

The art of facilitation is how you go about accomplishing it. It involves sensing the energy of the participants and knowing when to ask a tough question that will reveal the “elephant in the room”—a vital issue that is screaming for attention and crying out to be resolved. The art requires listening beneath the words for deeper meaning. It entails using uplifting energy and wit to lighten up tense situations.

The success of your strategic planning process will depend upon how safe people feel in sharing their deepest thoughts and feelings. 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 .)


“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 .)