Posts Tagged ‘Inspiration’

11 Quick Secrets for winning – What’s your Super Bowl?

February 8, 2010 1 comment

I’ve been an avid American Football fan ever since I can remember, and so I’m obviously one of the many who eagerly await the crowning of the National Football League Super Bowl Champions each year. I also love “sentimental favorites”, and so this year we hit the jackpot! After Hurricane Katrina 4,5 years ago, everyone on the planet had to have been cheering for the New Orleans Saints to upset the favorite Indianapolis (formerly Baltimore) Colts.

Drew Brees, the undersized and unlikely hero in a land of giants was voted the Most Valuable Player, and I just finished watching a pre-Super Bowl interview with Katie Couric which will give you 11 key secrets for a formula of success necessary for you to lead your team to your own Super Bowl victory.

These 11 gems, or pearls of practical wisdom that you can implement immediately, are all contained within the first 5 minutes. Here are the highlights, accompanied with my own questions to you:

  • @ 40s; I’m excited.. 4 years ago we had a dream, we had a goal that we would be here at some point, fighting through some ups & downs & adversity to get here
    • It’s never an easy road to victory, so..
      • What’s your plan?
      • How well is it articulated?
      • How prepared are you & your team to deal with adversity along the way?
  • @ 1m10s; I’m always going to be nervous.. feeling those butterflies.. the minute you loose that nervousness it’s time to get out because with that nervousness comes the edge, that edge keeps you locked in, keeps you focused, it’s that will to win..
    • It’s all about Passion, so..
      • What’s your WHY?
      • How Passionate & Focused are you about what you’re doing?
      • How Passionate & Focused are your team?
      • How “bad” does everyone want to win & what are the sacrifices that you’re all willing to make?
  • @ 1m36s; I have so many mentors in my life, coaches, teachers, people that I’ve worked with in my past, that I continue to talk to today. People that give me the best advice at the best time, and then I’m able to relay that to my teammates, or guys who need it, who may be going through the same thing that I went through at some point
    • You can’t do it on your own, so..
      • Who are you surrounding yourself with that’s going to give you the right answers at the right time for the right situation?
      • How are you going to engage & relay that information to your team, and with what frequency & intensity?
      • Are you surrounding yourself with practical people that have been there, “done that” before, or theorists that have studied it? What’s the right blend?
  • @ 2m03s; so much about being a Quarterback is that there are 10 other guys in that huddle, each one is motivated at times in different ways. Some guys.. all you have to is give them a look, other guys you might have to yell at them a little bit, each guy had a different trigger or button that you need to push in order to get their best
    • You have to know your team (Leadership part 1), so..
      • Are you prepared to give that stern look, or have that “hard conversation”, yet be empowering in the way that you do it?
      • Are you communicating, engaging & enrolling your player? Do you know their “triggers” and treating your team as a motivated group of individual performers?
      • Are you willing to follow-up on lack of performance & “bench”/sideline your players when they don’t perform? In a worst case scenario are you ready to let go & trade them to another team, or even league?
  • @ 2m35s; when you let people know how much you care, how much you care about them ,or in our case, how much you care about the game & winning the game, and being at my best, & that I’m going to lay it on the line for them.. they play for you
    • You have to set the example (Leadership part 2), so..
      • How much are you rallying around you own “WHY”, and are you communicating with passion?
      • How are you showing that you care? As much for the team as eh victory itself?
      • How are you striving to “be the best”, be your best?
      • How are you “laying it on the line” for your team? (walking your talk)
  • @ 3m16s; (Katie) A teacher told us that you’ve been teaching kids in New Orleans that anything is possible , and therefore you’re becoming responsible for the hopes & dreams of all these children looking to you for courage & inspiration.. do you some times feel like that’s too much pressure?  (Drew) It’s a source of strength for me.. a responsibility just knowing that as a quarterback of this football team, and a member of this community, I have the platform that I do to influence so many people in such a positive way, and in the end, I’m only being myself, I just embrace the opportunity & do as much as I can and give back as much as I can
    • Take responsibility for your team’s hopes & dreams (Leadership part 3), so..
      • Are you shying away from responsibility, or rather rising up to it & embracing it?
      • Are you leading a team, but still part of a community?
      • Are you leveraging the platform you have in order to positively influence your team’s performance?
      • Are you being yourself, allowing your true self to shine through?
      • How are you giving back?
  • @ 3m50s; the number one piece of advice I give to kids is that they can accomplish anything they want in life, don’t allow anyone else to tell you otherwise if you’re willing to work for it! That’s the truth, we can all be whoever we want to be as long as we’re willing to work for it. There’s no mountain that too high or task that’s too great!
    • If you can can dream it you can achieve it, so..
      • What’s your dream? Personal, Professional, and team?
      • How have you communicated it & how do you remind yourself & the team on a daily basis?
      • Is everyone putting in “the hard yards”? Is it a true team effort?
      • How hungry are you? How hungry is your team?
  • @ 4m25s; no Quarterback that’s too short.. impossible.. I’ll never let those people get the best of me.. they’ve been telling me that all my life!
    • It’s all about belief, so..
      • How much do you & your team believe in your dream or vision?
      • What are the reaffirming tools that are in place to make sure that the belief stays strong?
  • @ 5m00s; I’m supposed to be the calm, cool & collected one.. but that’s what I like about it.. going outside the norm, outside the box and something I started two years ago.. a special rally cry that get’s you going..
    • It’s all about communication & innovation (Leadership part 4), so..
      • When things aren’t working, how are you stepping outside the box to find new solutions?
      • How are you rallying your team?
      • What is your own unique & secret “rallying cry”?
  • @ 5m45s; that once you’re in that huddle, you’re part of a brother hood, now we’re going to go out onto that field & we have to play together, trust each other and win together
    • It’s all about teamwork, unity & trust, so..
      • What’s your “huddle” routine? How often & when do you look each other in the eyes & set the course of the next play that’s going to score you a touchdown?
      • What’s your pulse check to make sure everyone senses the responsibility of a “brotherhood” and steps up their game?
      • What’s your method of creating transparency that has everyone “play together” & trust one another enough to “pick-up the ball & run with it” when your teammate has fallen or faltered?

At the 13m50s mark, Drew talks about the perspective that an injury brought him early in his career. A downward cycle in his life that became a moment of reflection and gave him heightened perspective. A “time-out” of sorts, that possibly allowed him to gather his thoughts, strengthen his conviction and put together a master plan built on the sweat & tears of good old hard & honest work. A moment of reflection, that led him to stand on top of the biggest stage of his life only a few shorts hours ago.

What are the simple lessons you can learn from this interview, and from his story?

How an “Elevator Pitch” & is like Public Speaking

January 28, 2010 1 comment

A good mate of mine Conor Neill recently “enrolled” me to help him facilitate his Persuasive Speaking workshops, with which he’s very successfully engaged by the likes of big corporations & leading Executive MBA programs such as those at IESE.

Is he good at what he does? Well let’s just say that

  1. I chose the word “enroll” because that’s just what he does
  2. If you don’t believe me have a glimpse at his blog & get a taste for yourself
  3. This blog article is actually a part of a “homework assignment”

In a nutshell, what I’ve taken away from our frequent conversations is that Persuasive Speaking is all about getting people to do things that they wouldn’t typically do. And writing about Elevator Pitches & Public Speaking is not something I commonly do, so I guess you get my point 😉

Further on this topic, I want to leverage an HBR article I read this weekend on “The Elevator Pitch”, as I believe it bridges perfectly onto the topic of Pubic Speaking, and I would even dare say Persuasive Speaking itself.

The article starts off with the accounts of a famous casual encounter between an entrepreneur & Warren Buffet outside The Plaza Hotel in NYC, and how with one short sentence, he kicked the door of opportunity wide open! It goes on to describe the Elevator Pitch as “the ability to successfully deliver a quick and concise explanation of your case”. Now that sounds like the strong basis for a public speech, or even a persuasive conversation!

As I read further, I picked up the following points:

  • Grab the attention of listeners, convincing them with the promise of mutual benefit, and setting the stage for follow-up
  • Speak in terms your audience can relate to
  • And communicate with the passion that comes from knowing that this opportunity may never come again

How am I doing so far? Do you know of anyone who would sit through 90 minutes of chatter that didn’t fulfill on at least the above? Now allow me to continue with the following key tips of a successful elevator pitch as presented in the article:

  • Know the goal
  • Know the subject
  • Know the audience
  • Organize the pitch (a.k.a. speech)
  • Hook them from the opening
  • Plug into the connection
  • Presentation matters
  • Incorporate feedback

Again, sounds like the routine I often go through, tick-off & rehearse before I get up in front of any audience, even when it’s an audience of ONE.

Further supporting my rational, Milo O. Frank, author of How to Get Your Point Across in 30 Seconds or Less, suggests looking at each of the points in an extended presentation as individual 30-second messages. “During the two, three, five, or ten minutes that your speech lasts, you’ll have an opportunity to ask—and answer—several provocative questions, paint more than one picture, use more than one personal anecdote or experience”.

Now I’ll be the first one to admit that public speaking hasn’t come easily for me. A naturally introverted personality, as much as that may surprise the majority of the people I’ve engaged in the past, it’s taken me allot of hard work, discipline, practice & allot of receptiveness to constructive criticism to get me to where I am. Over the course of time, and many mistakes along the way, I will be the first one to admit that anytime I didn’t tick-off each of the above bullets, I walked away from my engagement very disappointed with m performance.

So what do you think? Have I made my case? It was allot longer than a 30 second elevator pitch, but then again I’m still working at getting better at it! 😉

Do what you love & the money will follow..

December 27, 2009 Leave a comment

I had just posted “Passion as a Profession” when I came across this amazing story on the morning news.. “YouTube short lands budding director $30M movie deal”. After reading more about this story, I have to borrow another great belief from my wife.. “Do what you love & the money will follow”!

And so my question still stands.. How much of your life seems to feel like work? How much of the time you’re spending on work, do you feel is contributing to your “living”? What are you going to do differently in 2010?

2009 – My Year in Review

December 23, 2009 2 comments

It’s that time of year again.. time to look back at the year that’s about to end and measure what’s worked, what could have gone better, and what New Years Resolution’s are appropriate.

The professional highlights were..

  • an e-commerce business who experienced 59% Year-on-Year Revenue Growth
  • an Art Gallery who experienced 50% Revenue Growth 60 days after a Strategic Planning & Alignment workshop
  • a PR agency that gained focus on “what really matters” & improved their sales processes
  • an illustration business that improved their gross margin by an undisclosed amount
  • an internet start-up that launched it’s first real product within 45 days after many failed efforts during it’s first 18 months
  • and another business that’s 15% above budget after a Strategic Planning & Alignment workshop in late September
  • and a host of accolades

The personal highlights were..

  • watching my wife’s “start-up” get significant market validation and secure another round of funding
  • my kids from my first marriage turning around their falling grades to get serious recognition on their improvement
  • my eldest son gaining greater self confidence and implementing serious change after attending Landmark Forum for Teens in October
  • my youngest son getting over the complex of wearing glasses & thus improving his self confidence as well as behavior in school
  • back in OZ building stronger bonds with new friends
  • growing a new business and still being able to maintain a healthy dose of work-life balance
  • supporting at least 3 friends in making significant life-changing decisions leading to their dream-life-by-design

These are just a snap-shot and they’ve made me even more sensitive for the need to record what’s working so that I can continue to “spread the love”.

Sure I had my share of set-backs, and with each one I was able to take significant learning’s to apply toward my development & growth. As my wife likes to remind me; every disciplined effort reaps multiple rewards, and the stronger the wind the stronger the tree!

Actually, “reviewing” is an exercise I do on a daily & weekly basis, as that’s the best way I find to keep pushing myself to learn & grow. How does that work? Well, I actually block-out 60 minutes in my daily calender at 19h00 to reflect back on the highs & lows of the day just passed.

And ask myself challenging questions such as..

  • On a scale of 1-10, how do you feel about your day?
  • What worked well & why?
  • What didn’t work as well as you would have liked & why?
  • What could have worked better?
  • Were you busy or effective? (I actually ask myself this one throughout the day)
  • What could you have done differently to change the outcome of the day?
  • What are the key learning’s from today?

If you’re brutally honest with yourself & keep an open mind, seeking to understand, then this process becomes very powerful. Now, armed with this analysis of my day just passed, I’m ready to affect change into the planning of the day just ahead of me. I find this is the only way to consistently “up my game” from day-to-day. At the end of the week, on Friday afternoon, I do a very similar exercise, but broader in scope. More challenging questions reveal the underlying emotions that had me behave the way that I did, the results of which often reveal important patterns, some of which may even require 3rd party intervention to break. Typically however, a simple trusted circle of like-minded friends or professionals is enough to keep you honest & give you the necessary tools to “break through the glass ceiling” (a.k.a.. a good kick in the pants).

All-in-all I’m pretty satisfied with 2009. It’s had it’s ups & downs, highs & lows, but over-all, the year has been an overwhelming success! The biggest challenge I faced was the recent passing of my father just last week! Whilst it broke my heart to see him go, it also gave me even greater fervor to push myself even more, and continue to affect change & stay on purpose (to empower every relationship I touch)!

How about you? What’s the balance of your year? What do you need to do differently to make it a 10 out of 10?

The Year of Opportunity

December 21, 2009 1 comment

This is a story of “the power of intentions”.. work-life balance, personal/professional growth & success, in whatever form you identify it.. 🙂

Back in December of 2006, the year I first met my wife, she taught me all about “them(ing) a year” & setting the intention for the success of the upcoming 12 months. It was December 31st to be precise, we were on the back of a friend’s boat on the Sydney harbor just under that famous bridge which I had seen on so many New Years Eve television broadcasts. We were going to move in together as of 2007, and so jointly we decided that the year would be appropriately themed “The Year of Living”. Now when you theme a year, you have to express your activities in alignment with the theme, and so the next question was “where we were going to live”. So as we asked ourselves “where is a living city?”.. we simultaneously declared “Barcelona”. At the time I was living in Portugal, Maria dancing between Zurich & Hamburg. Very appropriately, Maria then instructed me to get on a plane a few days later.. headed to Barcelona to find our new flat, where she would meet me at the end of the week.

In addition to starting new businesses each, 2007 was a year in which we made conscious decisions to “live”. We traveled every 6/7 weeks for extended weekends in-between intense work periods, we created a blog to share our passions, we obviously explored the “living city” of Barcelona and we constantly challenged ourselves to take every opportunity possible to LIVE! As a follow-up, 2008 became “The Year of Celebration”, which we appropriately kicked off with our wedding celebration, all of this mind you, whilst still developing successful new business models in very adverse conditions. With our businesses entering critical stages, and the clouds of the Global Financial Crisis looming on the horizon, 2009 become “The Year of Perseverance”, and we jointly exerted extra concerted efforts, thus excelling our businesses to new plateaus.

This “theme(ing)” business & setting intentions which drive your focus has also become a powerful backbone of the methodologies with which I’ve provided for my clients, who have in turn transformed their cultures, had their staff stand-up & take accountability for driving company results, creating the necessary environment of greater “work-life-balance”, and finally, driving an average 50%  revenue increase in their businesses. It’s all about “focus” and communicating that focus to your team, and those around you so that everyone is conscious of where we’re headed, why & what’s in it for them along the way.

Several weeks ago, my wife Maria & I started to question ourselves in regards to a possible theme for 2010, and noting where we stand, and what we would like to see happen through disciplined hard/smart work, we’ve decided on “The Year of Opportunity”. More than normally, we will seek to identify the opportunity to learn & grown in every event we encounter. Our passions will be driven to create new opportunities for ourselves, and those that  surround us, as we progress through our year. We will remain focused, and  yet open minded as to not limit our choices. We will seek new business partnerships, we will question the “status quo” in our lives & businesses, and we will seek to enhance our businesses offerings through creating unique win/win growth opportunities for all.

Will it be an easy year? Obviously not! We’ve discovered that you don’t grow in “easy times”. As Maria likes to remind me, “the stronger the wind.. the stronger the tree” 🙂 So with open arms we await to embrace 2010 and all of it’s challenges that lie ahead. Counting on the support of friends, family & an extended network to play hard & work smart, we know we’ll come out on the other end wiser & stronger for having had the focus & discipline to leverage every opportunity.

What the moral of this story? If you set an intention, voice it loud, hold yourself accountable whilst allowing others to hold you accountable, focus with all your might, be diligent and consistently question your “status quo”, combined with a few tools & support, the only thing in the way of success is yourself. Or as I like to say, “the only thing you need in order to achieve success in anything you desire is one of two things.. either overcoming a limiting belief, or determining the right strategy”.

How about you? What’s on your radar for 2010? How are you going to face what’s ahead? how are you going to make the most out of every opportunity?

Don’t Cry.. Strategy as musical lyrics..

Some would say that what makes the processes I work with powerful is that they can become very visual, and therefore very simple & easy to understand by all levels within any organization, in any industry, and across every continent. Now that’s a powerful statement, and the only other mainstream universal language that I can imagine right now is love & music. Sound interesting? I guarantee you at least 5 key insights/learnings you can apply immediately as a result of reading this post!

This morning, on my way to my weekly one-day Interim COO assignment at a hyper growth internet start-up, my iPod was playing Seal’s Don’t Cry.. and I chuckled to myself walking up the street as the lyrics (below in bold italics) resounded in comparison to several situations that took place with several clients I worked with these past two weeks..

Don’t be so hard on yourself. I’ve run into so many leaders, corporate & entrepreneurs that just need to step outside of themselves and give more value to what they’ve accomplished, rather then beat themselves up for what still has yet to be accomplished. There’s an exercise I often give them; to journal, or write on a single sheet of paper, divided into two parts, what you’ve accomplished in the last 6 months, and what you set out to accomplish. The result is either the recognition of needed greater focus areas, or the celebration of what has actually been accomplished. Either way, it’s only a lesson to be learned, & reacted to/acted upon.

Those tears are for someone else. Where you’re at today, is simply the result of your actions to-date. Which means that recognizing where you are currently at, and understanding where you want to reach, is only a matter of doing more of, less of, or variations of, the actions you’ve done to-date. This is great news (!!), because it validates that you are most probably responsible for your current situation, either through direct or indirect actions, and your destiny is in your own hands, if you’ve left yourself enough time to realistically get there, and you’re willing to have the courage to act.

I hear your voice on the phone. I hear you feel so alone. Once you’ve reached out for help, you’re never alone again. So make sure the person you reach out to is more than just supportive, but also has the unique tools on-board to help you execute whatever brilliant strategies you devise, or insights that you have. Make sure they can give you practical examples from their previous history, or network, so that you can visualize how you will execute those strategies yourself. better yet, make sure they have the passion & drive to walk the journey and execute on your behalf at times.

When we were young. And truth was paramount. We were older then, And we lived our life without any doubt. Most of the hurdles that we place in front of ourselves, are either created by a lack of confidence or lack of knowledge. What happened to our creative spirit who knew we could be astronauts, presidents, circus performers, or anything else we could dream? Have we allowed the others fears creep into our lives? What habits have we formed influenced from others? Are we living our own plan, or are we on someone else’s journey? If you don’t have a plan of your own, you will surly become part of someone else’s plan! Why do the majority of us spend most of our lives chasing something, only to at a later stage realize we had the answer of simplicity already when we were younger?

Not lack of confidence, but lack of knowledge, network or resources? Simple, those are strategy issues!

The most powerful exercise that makes an effective strategy, is the capability to dream and then articulate that dream. That’s what I find myself doing more and more these days, (1) extracting dreams and Visions of what success looks like for organizations, (2) tying this to a special and unique purpose (Mission) or Value Added Proposition, (3) establishing the ground rules or Core Values that will filter how to proceed, (4) finding the right articulation to fit the individual & culture of the organization, and then (5) rallying the troops around this Core Ideology, en-route to (6) setting the strategy necessary to manifest that initial dream (Vision).
Those memories,  They seem so long ago. What’s become of them? When you feel like me I want you to know. Don’t cry. You’re not alone. The simple fact is that every challenge or hurdle can be overcome! They simply are a byproduct of a lack of strategy, or the product of a limiting belief.

Today I dreamed, Of friends I had before. And I wonder why. The ones who care don’t call anymore. My feelings hurt. But you know I overcome the pain. And I’m stronger now, There can’t be a fire unless there’s a flame. It isn’t what happens to you that will derail your strategy, it how you allow it to affect you, or the strategy itself. Let’s keep this simple! A strategy, any strategy, from my perspective, is simply a series of actions or steps strung together to reach an outcome! Yep, it’s that simple!

I’ll give you a practical example.. My kids this morning wanted bread & orange juice to complement their breakfast dreams. My strategy was to walk out the door, down the street, right at the corner, safely cross the street, one more block to go, watch out for that “dog residue” someone didn’t pick-up, right into the local supermarket, isle one past the fruit toward the orange juice, now back toward the front of the store, feel the baguette that’s still warm from the bakery oven, pull out the right amount of change, smile at the girl at the counter, put groceries into bag, and reverse original course safely & quickly back home. That simple! All of these steps strung together was my strategy on how to execute on my kids’ vision of a great breakfast.

Limousines and sycophants, Don’t leave me now, Cause I’m afraid what you’ve done to me. Is now the wolf. In my bed, In my head. In my head.In my head. So you’re way off course! The mountain you’ve climbed has left you with an empty feeling? And experience tells me that the greatest hurdles are indeed self imposed, just like that “chatter” in our head. That what happens when your vision or dream isn’t aligned with a purpose. No worries, what have you learned? Back to step 1 outlined earlier, let’s get into visualization, dream mode, or any descriptive you want to give the process. And establish a strategy (series of steps) that is true to your inner core and aligned with your company/organization’s culture. Now the easy part.. put one foot in front of the other.. one step at a time.. half steps when you scared or unclear.. don’t forget to celebrate the micro wins at first, and as you gain momentum.. you’ll walk.. and eventually leap & run toward the outcome you always knew you & your team were capable of.

The challenges, we took were hard enough. They get harder now. Even when we think that we’ve had enough. Don’t feel alone, Cause it’s I you understand. I’m your sedative, Take a piece of me whenever you can. A few weeks ago I was watching the Coco Chanel movie with my wife and we were inspired by her comment of having acquired her strength. I think I recall an analogy to “a trout swimming up stream”. It was the constant & persistent struggle, the will & determination to not give up & succeed, it was the capability to dream and visualize what was upstream, past all of the danger & challenging currents, believe in herself and have others believe in her, and not settle for meritocracy… that had her eventually realize her dream (Vision). Or something like that! …Hey, it my blog post, so I can tell the story in the way I remember it 😉

If you’re an entrepreneur, a corporate executive, a receptionist, janitor, or anything in-between, as a team, you can reach any objective you collectively can agree on to achieve. The vision in 9 out of 10 successful organizations comes from top-down, and when articulated in a manner that is conducive & understood by the company/organizations’ culture, the highly successful execution will always come from the bottom-up. And everyone will win in the process when the Strategic Alignment, Planning & Execution process are all aligned with the Core Ideology, as defined by each key-stakeholder. Because they are the one who execute!

That was a long post.. sorry about that.. hopefully worth the read.. but then again.. Seal’s “Don’t Cry” is still buzzing in my head, in my head, in my head.. 5 hours after that inspiring walk to work this morning. 🙂

Any thought? Those any of this resonate with you?

Rethink Your Mindset

Last week in the UK was AMAZING! It started out with Strategy as a Form of Art, by mid week Strategy was a Religious Experience, and then I took a quick hop up to Manchester to facilitate a Weekly Strategic meeting for an ongoing client relationship. I’m coaching/mentoring a team that has in the last 6 months responded to the economical crisis by being 30% on last year’s performance & 150% up on plan!

In-between my facilitation’s last week, to recover from one & be better prepared for another, I stepped into a walk-in back rub just off of Charlot Street & Rathbone on the West End. Whilst waiting my turn, I picked up a leaflet promoting Dadi Janki, where she spoke of Rethink Your Mindset.

The leaflet states “Your mindset is key! Attitudes, perceptions, habits & beliefs create your mindset. It shapes the way you think, feel & act. Is your mindset limiting or empowering you? Rethink challenges: approach them with inner strength and self-confidence. Rethink problems: see them as opportunities! Rethink being busy: be productive by staying calm, centered & focused! Rethink worry & fear: maintain peace of mind. In times of change, you need to flex, adapt and rethink, or get left behind. When you rethink your mindset, you can reconnect with your well-being. Reconnect to your well-being & you’ll recapture your natural rhythm, vitality & resilience”.

Very wise words, and fundamentally these aspects of “rethink” are core to the methodologies with which I’ve witnessed my clients have success! The rethink of challenges, problems & being busy most resonate with my more recent clients who have made a significant change for the better! In what concerns driving results & prospering, regardless of economical cycles, definitely the rethink being busy is KEY! For that, I’ve very often counted on my Focus Pyramid exercise :-), and it WORKS!

What are you doing today? being busy or delivering results? How are the activities you’re currently engaged in, in ALL aspects of your life, moving your forward, and with each day narrowing in on your 2-3 year goals & objectives?

Strategy as a Religious Experience

July 23, 2009 1 comment

This has been an amazing week of firsts! Earlier, I shared my Strategy as a form of Art, and this morning I can honestly say that my Strategic Alignment & Planning workshop became a Religious Experience!

I thought my client Six Degrees was joking when they told me their offices were located in a 19th century church, but pictures can’t tell a lie & when I rocked up to the front court yard, actually the cemetery, I stepped over a grave & into one of the coolest office facilities I’ve seen to date! The night before I had finally met the team in person at a dinner at the local restaurant, which in itself was a once-in-a-lifetime experience as the Queens Royal Brigade had invaded the pub to relax, drink and sing, sing, sing after their day’s chores of Swan Upping.

I made my way up to the dinning room and for a minute I thought I had interrupted a family reunion. The energy, the sharing, the conversations, I couldn’t believe how aligned this team was and how much they felt like an extended family! In the good sense, of course 😉 But I had more awaiting me! When I walked into their offices this morning, I was “gob smacked”. You say that when you’re married to an aussie after all ;-). To see pictures all over the place, again, just like you’d find in a family home. If it wasn’t team pictures in the hallway, on the shelves, it was their numerous award on the alter! What a more fitting place to put them. Rumor is, their going to start putting their top clients there! Literally on the alter!

WOW, now there’s one way to get me to church that my mom never thought about! As a professional facilitator, I can’t stress the importance of commanding the room, so what more suited environment for me than to initiate the ceremonies from my own pulpit! Then after their blessing, we got down to business! The business of setting an empowering strategy that will have this team align around it, super charged by it, and take accountability for delivering results on the master plan that was about to be brainstormed & concocted during the next 8 hours.

Final result? The plan is laid out, the Core Ideology is in construction, the core values, rules for the road, rules of engagement are defined, the Top 5 areas that need action are identified, better yet, they’re prioritized, actionable and accountable. Loads of tips, tricks & best practices have been shared, experiences have been spoken, practical examples have been adapted to suit their unique company culture and they’re psyched and ready to get on with the show.

What’s next? Over the course of the next two weeks we’ll outline/workout the critical keys for success! We’ll focus in on creating smaller action items to celebrate periodic success after regular pulse checks on the road to achieving the larger goals & objectives. We’ll put it all on a One-Page Plan, collective & individual, which means that we will literally have everybody on the same page!

And that’s it! As simple as that! I passed around the collection plate 😉 and asked for feedback on “what worked” and “didn’t work” for them. All part of the continual improvement program that has these sessions get more powerful with each engagement!

Six Degrees Public Relations

P.S. Usage of post-its inspired by Jonathan MacDonald during a super facilitation a couple of weeks back at M.Love

A Strategy-in-a-Day keeps the doctors away..

What do you do when you get an e-mail from a prospective client who’s come down with the flu, just after coming down with Shingels , which came after a double chest infections? Her family doctor doctor told her these were all stress related and that she either needed to quit her business, or fix her company.

What did she do next? She rang me! I had to laugh at the thought of doctors passing out prescriptions to over stressed entrepreneurs & corporate executives, sending them my way. I guess I can replace that old school fable with “a strategy in a day keeps the doctor away”, and we’ll just leave the apples for the teachers 😉

Some times, especially after a successful facilitation, workshop or update call with a client,  I have to pinch myself just to make sure I’m awake! I’m passionate about what I do, I have the priviledge to live out my purpose of empowering every relationship I touch, and most of all, I get to make a living at empowering other peoples lives! As my wife would say.. WOOOOOHOOOOOO!

Customer Service Innovation made simple!

This morning my e-mail in-box brought me a pleasant surprise! On the heals of my cathedrals post yesterday, this video from Simple Minds really grounded me as to how simple it is to turn a routine task into an experience that will impact everyone you can touch!

Customer Service, Brand Loyalty & Innovation can really be just one simple action away!

On this beautiful Saturday morning in Barcelona, I’ve been touched by Johnny!

Question is, how will you be a Johnny today?