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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,

 

Ray

 

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(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 .) 

Core Values GraphicWhat does your organization stand for—your core values? Successful business owners understand how vital a company’s core values are to creating a company culture that results in happy, productive, successful employees, which, in turn, leads to happy customers and a healthy bottom-line.

Values are your guide for weathering ethical dilemmas. They become the fabric for weaving good sound decisions. Values become your employees’ moral compass. For your company’s values to permeate throughout your organization, it will take conscious, consistent, deliberate actions.

Jim Collins & Jerry Porras (authors, Built to Last) say…

“The only truly reliable source of stability is a strong inner core [purpose and values] and the willingness to change and adapt everything except that core.”

Core values form the root system of your organization. Values nourish and stabilize your company. They represent the ideals that your organization stands for. They form your legacy. The more widespread and deeply imbedded your values, the more likely it is that your organization will stand the test of time. A company that knows and practices core values can weather storms and the winds of change… (Click here to read more of this LinkedIn article)

 

(Adapted from Chapter 3 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 .)

On a frigid December day in northern Minnesota, I was facilitating a strategic planning retreat for the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe. More than 75 people from different departments within the tribal government were meeting in small groups in the ballroom of one of their casino enterprises. I was introducing elements of the strategic planning process, step-by-step, and the participants were storyboarding their input on flipcharts at their tables. Many of the participants had never been asked to participate in a strategic planning process like this before, so part of my time was spent teaching and coaching about the different elements.

Tree of Organizational Success

Tree of Organizational Success

Two hours into the morning of the first day, Vicki, a leader from their Education Department, came up to me on a break and shared a metaphor of the tree, relating it to the strategic planning process. It described perfectly the significance of each element of the process and how each is related energetically and how all are connected to the whole system.

That night I captured her thoughts in the graphic shown, “The Tree of Organizational Success.” That tree became our guide for the next several days of our process. People got it! Since that day, I have continued to use it as a tool to guide groups in their strategic planning processes. Here’s the essence of what she shared with me.

Seed = Purpose: Every tree begins with a seed. The tree exists within the seed. Each seed has a specific, unique purpose. A pine-cone seed can grow up to be only a pine tree. An acorn can grow up to be only an oak tree. An apple seed can grow up to be only an apple tree. Every organization has a unique core purpose for how to serve the world. This is “the big why?”— the reason the organization was started in the first place—beyond just making money.

Roots = Values: With the right amount of sun, water and minerals from the earth, the seed begins to sprout roots. Roots help to nourish the tree by drawing water and minerals up from the soil. They also help to stabilize the tree against external forces like wind and floods. Roots also stabilize the tree within the surrounding soil, which can become weak from erosion. Roots are invisible to the eye, but they serve the tree in several other important ways. The deeper and wider the root system, the more nourishment the tree will receive. Roots represent the core values and culture in an organization. They are what your organization stands for. They are your legacy. The more widespread and deeply embedded your core values, the more likely it is that your organization will stand the test of time.

Trunk = Spirit / Life-force Energy = Mission and Vision: When the tree’s roots spread out and deepen enough, the tree begins to sprout and break through the surface of the earth. It first becomes visible as a delicate sprout that eventually forms the trunk. As the tree grows tall for all to see, its life-force energy and spirit becomes evident. The trunk of the tree is analogous to the mission and vision of an organization. Everyone can see and experience the magnitude of its energy and presence. The mission and vision are the life-force, or spirit, of the organization. Many will be prospered, served and inspired during the life of the organization.

Branches = Departments and Goals Set: Branches bud and spread out from the trunk in all directions. These branches will support the foliage and fruit that will come. The greater the reach of the branches and canopy, the more fruit the tree is capable of producing. It soon begins serving animals and insects—providing shade, food and refuge.The branches symbolize the various departments and the multiple goals of the organization. The loftier the goals set throughout your organization, the greater the potential for organizational and personal achievement.

Fruit = Success and Goals Achieved: As fall approaches, the world begins to see apples form on an apple tree. You—and the world—can now see how plentiful the harvest will become, weather and critters permitting. The fruits of your labor are becoming visible. The fruit harvest represents goals achieved, success manifested. A bountiful harvest serves your customers, employees and vendors.

I love the simplicity and organic perspective that I received from my student (and teacher), Vicki, that day.

Enjoy growing your bountiful tree of organizational success.

Much success and fulfillment,

Ray

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(Adapted from the Introduction 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  )

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 .

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

~Dennis Waitley, author of Seeds of Greatness

“Goals provide the energy source that powers our lives.”

As I am sitting here reflecting on successes during this past year and projecting possibilities for 2016, I am reminded how goals give us greater clarity and direction for living more joyful, fulfilling, and meaningful lives.

Here’s a little guidance about setting goals the really S.M.A.R.T. W.A. Y. Make them…

  • Specific (not too vague),
  • Measureable (so you know the progress you’re making),
  • Attainable (but a definite stretch),
  • Relevant (in alignment with your purpose, values, mission and vision), and…
  • Time-bound (scheduled milestones). It is also important that you have them be…
  • Written (this makes them more solid), and build in…
  • Accountability (hence the need for individual development plans for your employees) and, finally, have a strong…
  • Yearning to achieve them (never underestimate the power of enthusiasm).

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

17-CH08-Fig07-P105-MM G-O-S-TTo reduce overwhelm and procrastination, large goals need to be broken down into smaller, “bite-sized” milestones in order to get a better understanding of what it will take to achieve them. These milestones are sometimes referred to as objectives, strategies and tactics. A goal can be segmented into objectives, objectives segmented into strategies, and strategies segmented into tactics—in a cascading effect, ranging from larger to smaller segments. This is similar to a stream cascading down a mountain. With each subsequent segment, the goal becomes more refined, more clear, and more specific.

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

“Think of goals more as a process than as a destination.”

Enjoy this dynamic, effective goal-setting process for jumping to lightspeed in 2016… and feel the force!

Much success and fulfillment,

Ray

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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  )

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Much success and fulfillment,

Ray

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

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

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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.)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Much success and fulfillment,

Ray


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

Energize Your Business cover

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Have a great weekend and happy shopping!

Ray

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

These are all facets of “The Golden Rule!”

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

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

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

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

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

So, how do you like to be treated?

Much success and fulfillment,

Ray

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

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

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