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Wildflowers at Picacho Peak State Park, AZ

Spring has nearly sprung to life. Here in Arizona, wildflowers are bursting into bloom. Soon the rest of the country will follow suit.

Spring is also a time for cleaning and organizing our lives—and our businesses. It’s the perfect time to refresh your strategic plan.

Strategic planning is one of the best ways to truly engage your employees in the success of your organization. Done right, it can be an easy, fun and inspiring process for involving everyone. It will amplify and accelerate the success of any team and organization.

A strategic plan is both the roadmap and the compass for your organization. It enables you to clarify, organize, act and realize your organization’s intentions as quickly as possible—so you can get on with operating your day-to-day business.

4 Phases of the Strategic Planning Process 

  • 1st Phase, you and your team to clarify the direction to take the organization and why to do it;

    The Strategic Planning Process

  • 2nd Phase, you will learn what will motivate your team to organize and be on the same page, moving in the same direction, and understand what to do and who’s to do it;
  • 3rd Phase, you will learn what will cause your team to act efficiently and effectively with implementing your action plans and why it’s important to keep the plan alive;
  • 4th Phase, you will learn how to ensure that your teams realize results that exceed your desires and expectations.

 

12 Steps of the Strategic Planning Process

Here are the 12 steps that move you through the 4 Phases of the strategic planning process cycle: Read more

With 2016 nearly wrapped up, I hope that you are taking a deep, contemplative breath and a little time for personal reflection.

Every year we weave a unique tapestry of adventures we have experienced, successes we have accomplished, and setbacks we have suffered.

Reflect on the Past Year

Part of my ritual this time of year is to list these significant events that have occurred in my life, both personally and professionally, so I can fully view and appreciate the tapestry I co-created. It includes projects completed, activities enjoyed, problems faced, milestones reached, unforeseen circumstances overcome, etc. Some within my control, some not. What I have grown to know is that each experience was necessary to bring me to the present moment.

Jump Start Your New Year

Whatever our past year’s tapestry looks like, the beauty of the dawn of a New Year, is that we get to envision a new tapestry. It is time to begin selecting some of the threads and colors, and identifying the themes we desire.

Our greatest opportunity for 2017 is to apply our talents, skills and abilities more fully to make the finest tapestry possible.

Personal goal setting and strategic planning are creative tools that enable us to design our personal and professional tapestry.

If you are a business owner, thinking of starting a new business, or are a leader in an organization this upcoming class will help you to jump start your strategic planning process and make your 2017 tapestry your best yet. It is my honor to partner again with Greater Phoenix SCORE to facilitate this engaging how-to class, A Strategic Planning Process that Energizes Your Business. Read more

Circle of GrowthI hope that you have had both a fun and productive Summer and haven’t been too distracted by the election shenanigans. This past weekend, my wife, Lyn, and I enjoyed the last farmers market of the season for Payson, AZ. It reminded me of the cycle of reaping a bountiful Fall harvest from a garden.

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

 1. Cultivating the Earth

Every organization is unique like the seeds of different plants. What works for one organization may not work for another. Does your organization have a strategic plan that clearly identifies your unique “seeds of 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, mission, vision, goals and action plans for your organization. Successful companies that stand the test of time, even during tough times, are planted in the fertile ground of core purpose and core values. Then they adjust their vision, goals and action plans (similar to molding pliable clay) to the ever-changing external economic and political environment.

The strategic planning process, done right, draws from the collective wisdom of the leaders and employees throughout the different levels of the organization. Read more

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,

Ray

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(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 .)

Mission EnthusiasmDo you have a mission statement that clearly defines the unique business that you are in or about?

Do your employees and customers understand your organization’s mission?

 

W. Clement Stone said…

“When you discover your mission, you will feel its demand. It will fill you with enthusiasm and a burning desire to get to work on it.” 

Clearly defining your mission helps you to know which opportunities to say “yes” to and which to turn down. It becomes your “energy umbrella.” Every opportunity under the umbrella of your mission is a wise investment of your organization’s energy and resources. Anything outside the umbrella will not resonate with what is important to your organization. It is a valuable tool to decide on what to expend precious resources.

 “Clearly defining your mission helps you to know what opportunities to say ‘yes’ to and which to turn down.”

 A mission statement is an umbrella proposition that should encompass all you chose to do. It defines the business you are in or about. A mission statement, well written, will answer the following questions:

  1. How do you choose to have people behave (most important core values)?
  2. Why is your organization here (core purpose; the heart of your mission statement)?
  3. What does your organization do (products and services you provide)?
  4. What results do you desire for your organization (beyond just making money)?
  5. Who does your organization serve (your customers)?

The key to crafting a good mission statement is to make it simple but not too vague. Make it heartfelt and not too heady. Make it unique to your organization so as to distinguish you from your competitors. Make it memorable and inspiring to all who read it.

Here are a few mission statement examples that may help get you started with creating your own:

Starbucks Mission: To inspire and nurture the human spirit—one person, one cup, and one neighborhood at a time.

Our TLC Mission: We help create cultures of character and success that inspire hope and awaken the greatness in people, organizations and communities—guiding organizations to get clear, get organized, get going, and get results.

When you have completed your organizational mission statement, consider asking your department managers to gather with their direct reports to craft each department’s mission statement. This exercise will help employees to become clearer about the scope of their service to the organization. Additionally, you will find it to be a meaningful and engaging employee team building experience.

I always recommend to my clients that they revisit their mission annually, because their organization needs to evolve as the needs of their target market changes. Your organization’s core purpose and core values should stand the test of time once you get them right. However, keep your mission like clay that you continue to mold as you get clearer on the business you’re in or about.

Enjoy igniting your enthusiasm and burning desire by creating or rejuvenating your mission statement.

Much success and fulfillment,

Ray

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(Adapted from Chapter 4 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 .)

Martin Luther King JrDr. Martin Luther King, Jr., visited India in the early 1960s to learn satyagraha principles first-hand from Mahatma Gandhi’s family and followers.  He used these principles of nonviolence to lead the civil rights movement of the 1960s. This resulted in improving privileges and rights of African Americans throughout the United States.

Like Gandhi, King saw injustice being imposed on people because of the color of their skin.  Martin held dear the words crafted by Thomas Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence:  “We hold these truths to be self-evident:  That all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”  For him, it was time to take a stand and create a movement to bring our society back into alignment with this wisdom.  His choice was to do it nonviolently.

Martin Luther King clearly understood his “Big Why”—his purpose for creating one of the most successful Civil Rights movements the world has known.

Do you know your “Big Why”—your Core Purpose? If not, lasting success may elude you.

The core purpose of your organization is like the seed of an apple. “You can count the number of seeds in an apple, but you can’t count the number of apples in a seed.” No one knows the potential yield of your organization and how much your employees can produce in the lifetime of your company.

Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Cause and effect, means and ends, seed and fruit, cannot be severed; for the effect already blooms in the cause, the end pre-exists in the means, the fruit in the seed.”

Your organization has a unique core purpose for serving the world. This is your “Big Why?”—why your organization was started in the first place—beyond just making money. What’s yours? It is most likely the original heartfelt reason you decided (or are deciding) to take a leap of faith and start a business.

“Knowing your core purpose keeps you centered on what’s most important—during good times and challenging times.”

Remember when you first got excited about the idea of starting your own business—when you got goose bumps just thinking about it? Where were you? What was your inspired idea that grew into your “Big Why?” for doing it—beyond just making money? The answer is something very simple and profound at the core of your mission as an organization.

This is the core purpose of your company. It should be at the heart of everything you do, all the decisions you make. It is why your organization exists. It either solves a problem or fulfills an aspiration or desire. It is the seed that, when properly nurtured, will begin to take root.

Once you and your employees understand your core purpose and have placed it at the heart of everything you do, everyone involved will make good, sound decisions. It will be a compass for all you choose to do.

Here are some examples of core purposes from successful companies that you probably know:

  • Disney – “To bring happiness to millions”
  • Nordstrom – “Service to the customer above all else”
  • Johnson and Johnson – “To alleviate pain and disease”
  • Walmart – “We exist to provide value to our customers”
  • My company, TLC – “We inspire hope and awaken greatness”

What’s the Core Purpose of your organization?

Much success and fulfillment,

Ray

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(Adapted from Chapter 2 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  and Chapter 28 from my book Ray of Hope: Inspiring Peace)

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

Much success and fulfillment,

Ray

celebrateSuccessful companies celebrate often and use their celebrations as opportunities to reinforce their cultural values.

To keep the fires of company enthusiasm stoked, show appreciation for all the valiant efforts of your team. This extremely effective motivator costs nothing and has a lasting, positive effect. Create a culture of Acknowledgment. Show appreciation for individual and team achievements. Praise the slightest improvement. Praise every improvement. And by all means, share the wealth through bonuses and/or other concierge benefits.

Celebrate milestones achieved. Celebrate each other. Think of fun ways to show appreciation.

There is great power in appreciation. When it comes to our finances, we want our bottom-line and our investments to appreciate—to increase in value…to rise…to escalate. When it comes to human nature, appreciation has a similar relevance. As human beings, we all want to feel uplifted and valued—as friend, family member, employee. William James said, “The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated.”

“The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated.”

To illustrate the power of this principle, let me share my recent experience as an interviewer on a job interview panel. One of the applicants shared that the main reason she wanted to leave her existing job was, she didn’t feel appreciated by her boss. When she talked with her boss about important matters, she reported, he didn’t seem interested. She also observed that he was often critical. “The only thing that seems to matter to him,” she said, “is the bottom-line.” His lack of appreciation at the personal level had caused this valuable employee to seek employment elsewhere. Could this be happening in your organization?

Why does something as simple as showing appreciation have such a phenomenally positive effect? Because it invokes a fundamental, universal principle. Social psychologists call it the natural Law of Reciprocity. Reciprocity refers to the human tendency to respond to a positive action with an equally positive action, rewarding kind actions with kindness. Reciprocity means that, in response to friendly actions, people are frequently much nicer and much more co-operative.

Physicists call it the Law of Cause and Effect: For every action, there is a reaction.
Meta-physicians call it the Law of Attraction: Like attracts like.

Dr. Masaru Emoto, researcher and author of Hidden Messages in Water, who studied the effect of words on our water-dominant human physiology said, “Water has a message for the world: The world is linked together by love and gratitude . . . The words ‘gratitude’ and ‘love’ form the fundamental principles of the laws of nature and the phenomenon of life.”

When we express gratitude or appreciation to another person, they feel better; and, simultaneously, we feel better at a deep, cellular level. It actually strengthens our molecular bond with each other.

Try this simple self-assessment: Do you receive far more appreciation than you deserve—yes or no? Do you regularly dish out healthy portions of honest, sincere appreciation to associates, friends, and family members—yes or no? Could there be a correlation?

The bottom-line: if you want more appreciation, show more appreciation.
If you want to brighten a person’s day and lift productivity, give an honest, sincere compliment.

If you want to increase the productivity of your team, create a culture of appreciation and acknowledgment in which people are catching other people in the act of doing things right. Similar to throwing a pebble into a pond, you will send a powerful ripple of gratitude throughout your organization.

Lao Tzu said, “Your behavior influences others through a ripple effect. A ripple effect works because everyone influences everyone else. Powerful people are powerful influences.”

“Your behavior influences others through a ripple effect. A ripple effect works because everyone influences everyone else. Powerful people are powerful influences.”

Enjoy creating a positive ripple of appreciation this holiday season with your team members, with your family, and beyond.

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. Learn more or purchase at www.EnergizeYourBusiness.biz .)