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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

Circle of Growth

Spring is a time of releasing old burdens and planting something new and exciting that make your Spirit soar—both personally and as an organization. What could you plant now that will lead to a bountiful harvest this Fall?

Consider growing your company as you would grow a plentiful garden on fertile ground. During our strategic planning and training sessions with Native American communities and their enterprises, a good Hopi friend and business associate of mine, Perci Ami, often shares about the circle of growth and how it relates to the four directions of the medicine wheel. This cycle has proven valuable for understanding the natural order and balance necessary to yield a successful harvest in life as well as in organizations.

1. Cultivate Your Garden

Every organization is unique like each seed of every plant. What works for one may not work for another. Does your organization have a strategic plan that clearly identifies your unique seeds to success? The strategic planning process naturally reveals and cultivates what to focus your precious resources upon so that your organization is aligned with your desired vision for the future. This alignment will result in an organization that will stand the test of time.

The process also helps to differentiate the uniqueness of your organization compared to that of your competition. It is a great way to determine or reconfirm the core purpose, core values, vision, goals and action plans for an organization.

Successful companies that stand the test of time even during tough times are built upon a solid foundation of core purpose and core values while adjusting their vision, goals and action plans to adjust to the ever-changing external economic and political environment. In other words, their core values and purpose are etched in stone; their vision, goals and action plans are molded of clay.

The process, done right, draws from the collective wisdom of the leaders and employees throughout the different levels of the organization. The result is widespread involvement, buy-in and accountability for the success of the organization. The strategic planning process will illuminate your path toward a bright, prosperous future.

2. Plant Your Seeds

Once your strategic plan is established and you have decided which seeds to plant, it is time for a reality check to assure that the seeds you plant will grow. Ask yourself, “What in our present situation aligns with our strategic plan? What does not?” Similar to weeding a garden, continue doing what aligns with your plan. Stop doing what does not.

Having the right people doing the right things in the right way will assure success. All policies, procedures, systems and processes should assist your employees to achieve what you have defined in the strategic plan. If there are employees who do not support your organization’s direction, they are like weeds that choke the life out of what you desire to grow. These people are probably your unhappy employees. Chances are they are also your least productive employees who demand a lot of your time and energy.

Great leaders do not manage people, they manage agreements with people. Consider having the leaders in your organization create with each employee they supervise a Declaration of Understanding that clearly spells out mutual desires and expectations. Employees will choose to live their agreements or not. As a result, leaders can simply manage the agreement without a clash of personalities. Employees who choose not to live by their agreements, even after extensive coaching, will probably be happier someplace else where they feel better alignment with their values.

Read more

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;

Read more

What I love about a well-done strategic planning process is that it accomplishes collaboration and cooperation throughout your organization. Having everyone participate in the process naturally creates enthusiastic buy-in and support all the way from the top tier of the organization to the frontline.

The Strategic Alignment Model shows what’s possible with respect to involving more and more people in the process as it unfolds. It is a natural, cascading effect—similar to water flowing down terraces in a mountain stream. 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

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,

Ray

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(Adapted from Chapter 9 in my new book Energize Your Business: Engage Your Employees with an Inspiring Strategic Planning Process. Read free chapters and learn more at www.EnergizeYourBusiness.biz .)

Goals-Objectives-Strategies-Tactics

“Goals provide the energy source that powers our lives. One of the best ways we can get the most from the energy we have is to focus it. That is what goals can do for us; concentrate our energy.”

~Dennis Waitley

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

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

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

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

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

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

 “Establish goals that will be inspiring and energizing,

not just financial targets to achieve.”

Lofty goals can be both inspiring and daunting at the same time. With that in mind, you’ve probably heard the question, “How do you eat an elephant?” And you probably remember the answer: “One bite at a time!” This is exactly how you can help reduce the overwhelmed feeling people may experience as they begin to tackle “big, hairy, audacious goals” (BHAG’s), an acronym created by Jim Collins and Jerry Porras in their book, Built to Last.

Large goals need to be broken down into smaller, “bite-sized” milestones in order to get a better understanding of what it will take to achieve them. These milestones are sometimes referred to as objectives, strategies and tactics. A goal can be segmented into objectives, objectives segmented into strategies, and strategies segmented into tactics—in a cascading effect, ranging from larger to smaller segments. This is similar to a stream cascading down a mountain. With each subsequent segment, the goal becomes more refined, more clear, and more specific.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Think of goals more as a process than as a destination. People grow and become stronger as they stretch toward goals. The bigger and more hairy (difficult or complex) the goal, the greater is the potential for growth and transformation, so long as it doesn’t cause people to feel too overwhelmed.

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

Much success and fulfillment,

Ray

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(Adapted from Chapter 8 of my new book Energize Your Business: Engage Your Employees with an Inspiring Strategic Planning Process. Read free chapters and learn more at www.EnergizeYourBusiness.biz .)

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

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

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

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

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

“What you focus on expands and grows stronger.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here’s how it works:

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

Is your organization focused on what matters most?

Much success and fulfillment,

Ray

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(Adapted from Chapter 7 of my new book Energize Your Business: Engage Your Employees with an Inspiring Strategic Planning Process. Read free chapters and learn more at www.EnergizeYourBusiness.biz .)