How to Build Team Congruency Through a Shared Vision

Have you ever worked in an organization in which the leader's vision was unclear? Although there was a designated boss, the role appeared to be in name only. There was no consistency in the message. Organizational priorities, goals, and objectives changed continuously. The organization was existing; yet, in chaos. Why is the leader's vision important?…

Have you ever worked in an organization in which the leader's vision was unclear? Although there was a designated boss, the role appeared to be in name only. There was no consistency in the message. Organizational priorities, goals, and objectives changed continuously. The organization was existing; yet, in chaos.

Why is the leader's vision important? Proverbs 29:18 states that, “Where there is no vision, the people are unrestrained.” (NASB). Employees are frustrated due to the lack of guidance and direction. They are starving for leadership. Their bodies report to work daily; yet their hearts are adrift elsewhere. Buy-in has not been achieved. When there is a lack of congruency among the leader and the team, there is no shared vision. Likewise, there is no sense of alignment within the organization.

How can a leader build team congruency? First, effective leaders are vision-builders. These leaders go beyond establishing the vision. In essence, they are vision architects. They strive to make the vision “plain.” With each leadership stone such as character, integrity, ethics, honesty, wisdom, etc., they build an organization that is “team-centric” and not “I-centric.” Success claims that the team understands where the leader wants to take the organization. The team should not be left speculating about the leader's intentions. Consistency in purpose and open communications should prevail.

Second, effective leaders are also investors. They invest time in creating the vision and communicating its attributes and parameters to the team. These leaders see beyond the present situation. They are the generals who possess the strategic game plan for where the organization is going in the future. With hard work, commitment, and dedication, their goal is to build a team that will outlast them.

Third, effective leaders are transparent decision-makers and self-motivators. They are hard-chargers, but focused in their activities. These leaders understand what is required to move the organization forward. Although their personality can differ, they are primarily charismatic and inspiring. Their passion for success is contagious.

In organizations destined for greatness, effective leaders:

1. Establish a clear and understandable vision worth following,

2. Communicate its purpose, and

3. Empower the people to make the vision a reality.

In summary, effective leaders who seize and act on the vision are destined to win in life and in their organization. As a leader, my desire for you is that God will give you the right vision, the right message, and enable you to make the right decisions as you lead your organization.

Chess and The Business Co-Relationship

Chess is a game where we cram how to reject the King, the most powerful player on the table; This stimulates most of the management theories for success in the context of the business & the competition. The game demonstrates on following the method how to take on the adversaries in today's universe of management,…

Chess is a game where we cram how to reject the King, the most powerful player on the table; This stimulates most of the management theories for success in the context of the business & the competition. The game demonstrates on following the method how to take on the adversaries in today's universe of management, which we continue to talk about strategy & leadership. A game of chess could relate technically on how the ideas flow in our day today's business cycles.

Let's simulate an example of ideal team size of 16 with Chess board consistors of 1 King, 1 Queen, 2 Rooks, 2 Bishops, 2 Knights & 8 Pawns … These players can be identified with our business context as Regional Manager, Assistant Manager , Supervisors, Sales Officers etc.

First, before the play gets down, the principles of the game need to be known even slightly, the manager devises the strategy or the plan which is sooner to know the strengths and weaknesses of the opponent how each one has to move on the game of commercial enterprise. Without the desired manager knows the market and the competition though he is certain to fail … Well! Here the clarity is to know the ways and the concentrated focus towards the path to market.

Second, every player has a plan and the right preparations are the basic requisite to achieve the common goal. The moves need to be faultless since the adversary is too apt to understand our movements, although at times a sudden change in the plan is also recommended when certain obstacles are detected. This is where the Innovation comes to operating by varying tactics to out-smart competition.

Third, some of the players in chess have an extra mental mental power in moving places either diagonally or laterally, vertically slightly some managers needs to be identified in doing an exemplary task of multitasking when the timing is right to be perplexed.

Fourth, in parliamentary procedure to find an edge over the opponent in position some of the players are sacrificed which becomes inevitable. In business this situation takes place more often than not over the profitability issues where we may carry out some stack in society to end the costs or the stipulated time challenges which can not be overridden.

These four characteristics in chess teachers us to evolve us to be a better professional since most of us requires sharpening and preparation for all the possibilities in today's business prospects.

Let's take positions as in the game of chess to conquer the world of business by thorough preparation, implementation and performance.

A Simple Problem-Solving Formula

Dwelling on issues and feeling sorry for yourself never solved anything. I know because I've spent plenty of time feeling sorry myself and I can assure you that dwelling on the negativity never helped me move forward. Not once. Even worse was sharing the misery with others. It is true that misery loves company. Talking…

Dwelling on issues and feeling sorry for yourself never solved anything. I know because I've spent plenty of time feeling sorry myself and I can assure you that dwelling on the negativity never helped me move forward. Not once. Even worse was sharing the misery with others. It is true that misery loves company.

Talking about problems is fine but it's only half the equation. The other half of the equation is usually missing – talking about a solution. I never used to be interested in finding solutions, at least not ones that were good for me. It was so much more satisfying to focus on the problem. Or so I thought. Over time I learned that talking about the problem only needs to be a small fraction of the problem / solution ratio.

This is a good step by step method for solving problems:

  1. Identify the problem. Be careful not to dwell on the issue. Just a sentence or two that clearly states the issue. The more you boil it down to the bare facts, the less you get got up in the drama.
  2. List 5 things you can do about it. Every problem has solutions, even though they may not be apparent. Get creative and do not worry if it looks silly. The best idea might come out of an option that does not make sense.
  3. List the pros and cons of each option. Once you have some ideas to work with make a list of what is good and what is bad about each. It is easy to be inclined to find fault with all of them if you are not used to looking for solutions but keep pressing on.
  4. Decide on the best solution. Review your list and find out which solution is best. Keep in mind that it may be a situation where you feel like you are just picking the lesser of two evils. That is only because you are not used to working with solutions and sticking with what you know, even though it is not good for you, is more comfortable than change.
  5. Take action. Dive in and embrace the process. Do not worry about being perfect, focus on refining and moving forward. Change is not easy but it is one of the most rewarding things you can do for yourself.

Things changed for me when I got tired enough of myself to want to change. These days I want solutions. I want to be around people who want solutions. I want to work with clients who want solutions. Sitting in the problem is not the solution. I can either accept things as they are or I can do something. Not accepting and not doing anything are no longer options.

My encouragement is that you will take time to identify one recurring problem that you can not, or will not, solve and apply this process. Push through even if it feels awkward and uncomfortable and I guarantee that you will begin to see things differently over time. Remember, you can achieve whatever you believe as long as you are willing to work for it!

Why You Do NOT Want Happy Customers!

I realize the title of this article may confuse you; you may be thinking, “Of course I want happy customers. Happy customers are going to come back.” But as the song goes, it is not necessarily so. If they're too happy, if they're always satisfied with what they got from you and never need a…

I realize the title of this article may confuse you; you may be thinking, “Of course I want happy customers. Happy customers are going to come back.” But as the song goes, it is not necessarily so. If they're too happy, if they're always satisfied with what they got from you and never need a similar product again, they may just move on. You see, people buy in a vacuum; and as soon as that vacuum is filled, they stop buying. You want customers who will keep coming back again and again.

My company was built on a marketplace of people who are basically unhappy. I did not realize this when I first started our company, but only because I was not taking my own experience and multiplying it by all the other people in the same market I'd bought from for years. There's a general frustration in our marketplace – and that description fit me to a T back then. It's their unhappiness that keeps them coming back. They're looking for some product or service they believe will make them happy, but it almost never works out that way.

Because happy customers stop buying, you have to find marketplaces with huge needs, marketplaces where there are never-ending problems that you and your products or services can play some role in helping them solve. But the day you solve those problems for good is the day you basically put yourself out of business.

There are so many examples of marketplaces that are unhappy … and basically, people buy because they're unhappy or frustrated. They're usually in some sort of emotional or physical pain that causes them to buy. They're looking for solutions – so you need to start with those problems. Find a hungry marketplace where people are looking for solutions. Most small businesses, for example, seem to face one problem after another – seemingly a new one every few minutes, some days – and it never ends. Small business owners are often frustrated, confused, overwhelmed, burned out, and in great emotional pain.

Quite frankly, it's one of the reasons we like this marketplace. It's filled with problems we're trying to solve on an ongoing basis, problems that will never be completely solved. You can play that problem to your personal benefit. You do not want your customers to be fully satiated.

My first business was a carpet cleaning business, so every time it rained or snowed I used to rejoice because I knew my customers' carpets were getting dirty all over again. No matter how much Scotchgard or other fabric protectors I used, I knew I'd be back there soon. So stop believing you want completely happy or satisfied customers, because they do not buy . You want customers who are happy enough, but also want to keep coming back to you. Look for marketplaces with the terrible problems that will never end, and then provide services that will also never end.

Is there any business that might want completely happy customers? Maybe a restaurant, since people will always need to eat. If they love your food, they'll come and “fuel up” there often. And I suppose it could also happen with a massage parlor or hairstylist – any business that counts on repetition. But that's not how most businesses work. You do not want them happy; you want them upset with something that you have the solution for. I realize this is a somewhat controversial idea, but I hope you can see why it's a good approach for many business owners.

I think that there's a difference between customers who are unhappy with you and customers who are happy with the status quo. You definitely want your customers to be happy with the quality of your service and product, and you want them to be satisfied with how you're serving them. But you do not want them to be happy with the way things are going in the general sense, because that results in satisfaction, which results in complacency – or at least a lack of an interest or desire in your solutions.

If I'm hungry, I'm more likely to look for a restaurant than if I'm completely full and satisfied. So the restaurants want you hungry; they do not want you to be satisfied. They want you to be happy with your meal when you end up eating there, but they do not want you to lose that hunger. They want you to be back in a few hours or the next day.

In general, people will become less interested in doing business with you if they're satisfied with the way things are going for them. If they have no reason to seek out improvement, why should they spend their money with you? A certain percentage of the population will be in that category already. They will not be good customers because they're happy all the time. They're good to go, all's well, and they do not seek out solutions. On the opposite side of that is an entire class of customers that has a whole host of dissatisfactions, so they seek out solutions that will help them with those dissatisfactions.

Those people are your best prospects. The more dissatisfied they are, the more likely they'll keep giving you solutions to them. You also need to have a fresh new group of unhappy people coming through your business on a regular basis, so look for a market that has plenty of them. The greatest marketing ideas in the world will not make you money if work a marketplace that is not extremely lucrative. Finding and catering to those markets is a big part of the secret to overall profitability.

The Instant Cash Flow Solution for Every Business Problem

This article covers the one thing you can do every day that will solve the vast majority of your business problems, if not all of them. At the same time it can dramatically increase your cash flow, which should definitely be one of your goals. Once you attain and retain a river of cash flow…

This article covers the one thing you can do every day that will solve the vast majority of your business problems, if not all of them. At the same time it can dramatically increase your cash flow, which should definitely be one of your goals. Once you attain and retain a river of cash flow into your company, 99% of your problems will be over.

Now, I say that like it's simple – as if you can just snap your fingers or wave a magic wand, and all your problems will be vanish. It's not quite that easy, but to be honest, it mostly is. More money coming into your business gives you more choices, especially in regards to the things that you normally could not do without that money. To ease your burdens, you simply have to start by bringing in more cash.

The worst thing in the world for your business is to struggle financially, to be in a position where you can not pay your bills or where most of your time and energy is spent on just staying afloat. The more you struggle, the more time you spend thinking and worrying about the necessities – and the last thing you need is to go to the mailbox and find another bill. Each expense is like a big cinder block weighing you down, forcing your focus downwards and inward to working in your business and not on it.

So, how do you get your cash flow situation right? The most effective strategy is to spend more focused energy and time on a small number of things that you know can increase your sales and profits. Now, every one of us has the same number of hours in our day and week, so 'time management' is a misnomer; you have to learn to manage yourself and how you slice up your time. If your business is struggling, you spend a lot of that time putting out fires, doing things that consume energy and take a lot of time. To really succeed, you have to fight for focus and commit to doing things that carve out the time necessary to innovate within your business, and to think about all the ways you can bring in more sales and profits.

I often say that I belong to the 5 AM Club – which simply means that I get up very early every day, at least an hour before everyone else, and spend time focusing on business strategy before the phones start ringing and people start bugging me . You should do the same, spending this meaningful time focusing your energy on things to create more cash flow in your business. You know the bills are going to be there no matter what; what can you do to work around them? How much money must you make before you can wake up on the first of the month and think, “Well, all the bills are paid; everything beyond this point is profit”? This is especially necessary when times are tough. You've got to find time to focus, to put your energy into things that bring in more money.

Think about ways you can get more business from your existing customers. When you're really struggling, that's a great time to make them an outrageous offer. You do not have to tell them your business is down; just do something crazy that gets the phones and the cash register ringing.

The process starts with intimately knowing your customers, so you can make them a killer offer they can not refuse. These people already know, like, and trust you, which makes them much more likely to do business with you. So make them an excellent offer, knowing what they want based on the kind of benefits that they're looking for, and they'll come through for you. They're the lifeblood of your business. You just have to spend the time to think about what they want.

One of the worst things you can do is to get mired in the negativity that arises when things are going poor. Do not focus on the bad. The bills are still going to be there even if you put them off for a day, so stop worrying about them and spend some time focusing on activities that can bring in the cash. Get that money flowing in. Even if it does not fix all your problems, maybe it'll give you some freedom not to think about them for a while, so you can enjoy some of the success you experience when your cash flow is high. Maybe you can pay an accountant to worry about your money problems later.

Al Davis, the former owner of the Oakland Raiders, used to say, “Just win, baby.” When it comes to business, the equivalent is to just get the cash flow flowing. How do you do depends on your business, and nobody knows that business as well as you – or at least, they're better not!

A few years back, a good friend of my mentor's was telling him that business had been very bad laately. He works with publishers, especially small presses and self-publishers, and that business is going through a lot of changes. He decided he'd better start calling his previous customers, to see if he could help them with anything. So he started making some phone calls – and lo and behold, he had one of his best sales days ever.

The lesson here is to stop waiting for people to come in the door, or to write to you, or to call or email. Get in touch with them yourself. Going back to existing customers you have a good track record with is a great way to stimulate business. Another way to drum up business is to offer basic discounts, even on things that cost you so much you're hesitant to lose money on them. Well, you need the money, so cut the price rather than leave them to gather dust or go to waste. Offer huge discounts – 50%, 60% or 70%. Just go to your customers, especially those you have not heard from for a while, and tell them you just wanted to check in and see how they're doing. Pitch that special order. Be proactive. That's the way to get the cash flowing.

How to Take Your Game to a Whole New Level

You've probably heard the old sports term, “Go Big or Go Home.” The same is true of business: the bigger you dream and the harder you try, the more likely you are to hit the big-time. This secret to success breaks down into four different substrations: Think bigger and bolder than your competitors do. Most…

You've probably heard the old sports term, “Go Big or Go Home.” The same is true of business: the bigger you dream and the harder you try, the more likely you are to hit the big-time. This secret to success breaks down into four different substrations:

  1. Think bigger and bolder than your competitors do. Most of them are thinking small and timid.
  2. Understand things about your market that they do not. Why do people buy? What are they really searching for? What do they want the very most? What are the unconscious desires that drive your marketplace? Your competitors are pretty much blind to all that. They've never thought things through at a deep level; they're following the follower.
  3. Stay deeply committed to being the very best company in your marketplace. Most of your competitors are just trying to get by.
  4. Focus all your resources into those few areas that stand the greatest chance of making you the most long-term profits .

There are many things you can do to accomplish these strategies. That's the good news as well as the bad. That's why you've got to apply as much leverage as possible to the few things that make the biggest difference to your business. You may think this sounds hard, and thank God it is! If beating your competition were easy, then there would be a lot more people doing all this. To truly succeed, you have to be willing to do the things that they're un willing to do.

In most cases, your competition does not understand the marketplace at all. They do not really want to make the effort. They're not committed to becoming the best they can be, and they do not bother to focus on those few areas that bring in the most profits. It may not be easy to turn those attitudes around, but doing so is what brings you the real money.

This boils down to thinking bigger and bolder, because most people are focused on how they're going to get through the day, and that's it. You have to go beyond that. Get away from the business itself and start thinking about what you can do to work on your business instead of just working in it. You'll separate yourself from most of your competition simply by investing the time required to decide how you can make your business bigger, better, and more profitable.

I saw an interesting interview with Donald Trump on the Business Channel last year. As you may know, he had some help getting started from his father, who was already in real estate; but the Donald decided to go in a new direction and build really mammoth buildings – some of the largest, most elaborate casinos and luxury hotels in the world. He put together some ideas and then decided to make it known that he was the man who could get things done. He did not have as much capital to work with as most banks wanted, but he was able to convince them to invest millions of dollars in his ideas. This shows you how important it is to be a big thinker. Now, he's gone bankrupt a few times; he's been up, he's been down, but he's back up today. He's worth a billion dollars and has properties all over the world. That illuminate the value of big thinking.

The second part of this strategy is also critical. You must understand things about your market that others do not. Do your homework. Keep learning. Most people either do not bother or do not have the time. Make the time, especially when it comes to understanding the basics. Most people are selling things because they think people need, but they often forget about what people want – they're forgetting about the psychology that makes their customers buy. It may not be what they think it is. You have to be willing to take the time to discover what they really want.

Then of course, you must stay totally committed, totally focused on improving your business. Those who achieve magnificent things, who become very rich or famous, or make a big contribution to the world themselves are those who focus tightly on their dreams. They take the time to think about what really matters, get deep inside the dream, and go straight for the end results they're after.

You have to beat your competition at their own game. If you're not chasing, at best you'll end up somewhere in the mediocre middle. To excel at your game, you've got to be in a position to do things bigger and better than everyone else. If this was easy to accomplish, then everyone would be doing it – and no one would shine. Well, folks, that never happens; there's always someone who stands head and shoulders above the rest, because frankly they just want it more.

It does not matter what field of endeavor you're talking about – athletics, academics, professional fishing, or business. There will always be people who excel, while others just get by and the rest struggle to survive. It's going to sort itself out that way automatically, no matter how hard you try to level the playing field. So you need to improve your game if you want to do better.

Traditionally, one way to do this is by going to college. While I may get some negative feedback for saying so, I have to admit that I believe that by most standards, college is a waste of time and money these days. Everyone's getting a degree, and those degrees are not always worth the paper they're printed on. Image educations do not teach you how to succeed; they just bury you in debt. Most business degrees do not even show you how to run a real business; they're oriented toward managing large corporations, a whole different kind of animal, and are rarely taught by people who've run businesses in real life. They're just not useful as they were 40-50 years ago.

Now that just about everyone has a college diploma, you need an advanced degree to get ahead – and there goes even more of your life. The value of a college degree has been watered down. The point is, college degree or not, you can not do what everyone else is doing and expect to get better results than they get. You'll only be average – and that's what you really want?

Of course not. You want to take it to the next level, to increase your income, excel in business, and dominate your competition. You want to be the one everyone looks to as a standard, the one everyone else wishes they were. To accomplish this, you have to take your business above and beyond what it is now. You have got to commit to doing things that nobody else in your marketplace is willing to do.

Think bigger and bolder. Understand things about your marketplace that your competitors do not understand and are not even willing to learn. Deeply commit yourself to being the very best possible, and totally focus all your attention on the few areas that bring you the best return on investment. Do all that, and you'll definitely up your game.

It does not need to take a lot of work. Most business owners are weak, and never make the least effort to do anything it takes to excel. They're happy to just muddle through life. They may be great people, but they're not good marketers – so you need to take advantage of that fact. If you want to excel, that's where you have to start.

Begin by being thinking bigger than they do, and just keep pushing from there.

Want Your Business to Grow – Business Intelligence Software Is the Right Solution

In today's business world of high competition, efficient management of data is highly important. You can make decisions by quickly collecting and analyzing data or information which helps your company to grow. The size of the business usually does not make any difference and even small ones can remarkably large pool of information. Here, business…

In today's business world of high competition, efficient management of data is highly important. You can make decisions by quickly collecting and analyzing data or information which helps your company to grow. The size of the business usually does not make any difference and even small ones can remarkably large pool of information. Here, business intelligence software can prove to be an excellent tool for management. With help of these tools the progress of a business can be tracked by executives and managers of a company. It is vital to choose the right and best BI software no matter if it is the newest cloud marketing program or traditional software. This would absolutely help the company in achieving its goals.

How BI software helps you?

These types of software generally organize and then arrange the information or data in a format which can be easily understood by users. Company can get a summary of its performance as these programs can generate reports and spread sheets. The developers of such programs know quite well that businesses depend on special sets of data for making any decision. Business analyst needs to carry out a wide range of specific functions, these software perform and can meet all the requirements easily. Few functions of such software are as follows:

Providing Operational Reports: Day to day business operations are covered by these reports. Managers or executives often rely on the operational reporting, who supervise all the transactional activities directly. For instance, this function is used by retail managers who look after operations related to cash register, to find any shortages and to keep a track of everyday sales. Data or information which is updated by every minute can be viewed by managers.

Forecasting: It allows the managers and executives to make early predictions which are usually based on a particular set of information or data. Profitability of different decisions can be determined and alternative solutions of the output can also be predicted by them. This type of software is frequently used by high level managers and executives in decision-making process. A number of software has the ability to use the latest methods of forecasting.

Client Intelligence: For analyzing different consumer trends, it is considered to be a highly effective tool. The data or information generated is used by companies to figure out the needs of customers and then provide services depending on those requirements. It also influences various marketing decisions by a great level.

How to Choose High Quality Business Intelligence Software?

It is advisable that small business owners should opt for a program which can easily handle multiple functions at a time. Instead of going for different software for every work, you should buy an all-in-one tool which would cost less money.

Specific function based program for different departments are often considered by large businesses. This helps the executives to concentrate on information that is important for their department. Even during hard economic times, business intelligence software has helped companies to stay in the competition.

Project Management Stages

Project management concerns taking concepts and turning them into a structured, resourced and funded plan. The process is generally broken down into three (3) phases: Plan Introduction, Plan Management and Job Closure. Just about every project begins with an idea. It is imperative that you start a fresh project with an evaluation process to establish…

Project management concerns taking concepts and turning them into a structured, resourced and funded plan. The process is generally broken down into three (3) phases: Plan Introduction, Plan Management and Job Closure.

Just about every project begins with an idea. It is imperative that you start a fresh project with an evaluation process to establish the possible benefits and timing. The evaluation of prospective projects takes place during its introduction stage. During this phase, a possible project is conceptualized, rationalized, approved and funded.

In the course of the introduction phase it is necessary to clearly and clearly define exactly what it is designed to achieve and its extensive. By initially establishing this, you specify a benchmark for the standard of what is essentially produced by the end of this phase. You also identify what resources and duration will be allocated to finalize the it.

The plan management stage is about tracking and managing the development of the project. It is also about maintaining the quality of the service by monitoring progress through consistent check points and handling issues that appear in the course of the planning. The greater part of the work and labor spent on it is within this phase.

The process on how it is supervised and implemented is crucial to its success. Specific attention has to be done to make interested parties updated with project status, helping take care of quality control and overseeing project risk.

The final important stage of a project's life cycle is job closure. Job closure is done once all described tasks and goals have been completed and the overall project has disclosed.

The objective of the job closure phase consists of two parts: officially closing the project and transferring on any principles that can be carried out on other projects. There could possibly be some exceptional work that should be done in addition to a plan for those details should be completed in this stage. There is absolutely no need to change the cycle every time you carry out a project however you do want to become much more efficient.

You are likely to understand how to accomplish this type of project more effectively in the future, and are going to have a better concept of how long the different activities will require to do. Any information, facts or documentation from the project needs to be stored away for future use.

On certain level, all businessmen are project managers. But in the event that project managing is occupying the most of your time you will not be ready to continue to grow and establish your business. This is when you may want to employ a project manager.

The project manager is an individual that supervises each phase of a project. His or her only task is to appropriately complete a project on schedule and within budget making use of the resources provided. The project manager could possibly be you, a person on your team, the recent hire or a freelancer.

The Incumbent Advantage: A Barrier to Innovation and the Power Dynamics of Grant Reviews

A funny cartoon shows two guys pushing and pulling a cart with two square wheels. Another guy walks up to them carrying two round wheels, and he asks if they would like an improvement that will move the cart faster and easier. The guys pushing the cart respond 'no thanks, we are too busy to…

A funny cartoon shows two guys pushing and pulling a cart with two square wheels. Another guy walks up to them carrying two round wheels, and he asks if they would like an improvement that will move the cart faster and easier. The guys pushing the cart respond 'no thanks, we are too busy to make any changes now'.

This cartoon illustrates that an innovation is not only about creating a new process, service, or product. It must also come at a time when an organization is ready, and current contractors (like the square wheels) have an advantage of familiarity.

Proposal reviewers often appreciate innovation. However, they can afford to be liberal and open to change in comparison to contracting officers. Reviewers exist externally to operations with different vested interests and biases. They do not work with the project that they are reviewing day-in and day-out.

The role of a review board ends once a proposal passes a threshold score. At this point, the funding decision shifts to budget and the fund organization's officers, where nine times out of ten they will choose an organization that they know.

Continuing with a known team reduces risk with fewer processes to learn, greater acceptance of identified problems, tested channels of communication, and familiar personalities.

It takes a conscience, active decision by a number of decision-makers within a fund organization to replace a vendor.

If you are unsure if a fund organization is actively looking to change, then read the announcement to determine if it aligns with the strengths of an incumbent. Read it without thinking about what you would do differently.

Does the announcement emphasize current processes and have they made decisions regarding basic methods for conducting the work? If you can get information on how the project currently operates, compare that information with what is in the announcement.

Keep in mind that the employee will have generated lessons-learned and future directions through the contract. These ideas may be incorporated into the announcement as desired innovations, playing to the incumbents strengths and previous preparation.

Leaders in all fields need to understand the relationship between innovation and power because without this understanding investments will be made in innovations that do not have much chance of succeeding. If you lack information about anything to submit a proposal for a continuation of a project, err on the side of patience and save your resources for another day.

3 Easy Steps to Reach Your Goals FAST!

I have been talking with a lot of business owners lately as I am going through the process writing my new book on systems and I have noticed a common theme throughout these conversations and it has really got me fired up about reaching our goals. You see, the majority of business owners I have…

I have been talking with a lot of business owners lately as I am going through the process writing my new book on systems and I have noticed a common theme throughout these conversations and it has really got me fired up about reaching our goals. You see, the majority of business owners I have talked to, more than 95% in fact are not learning the money they want in their business and they do not have the freedom they want in their business. Is this you too?

It really breaks my heart to think that we start a business to have more freedom and create more money then we did in corporate yet so many of us are working harder then we ever did in corporate plus we are approaching way less. And that just sucks. If this is you I want you to read on because I am going to share with you what I have noticed is the common thread between those who are not achieving their goals and those who are.

The good news is it really really simple fix, so let's get right on with it so that you can reach your goals fast! In order to reach your goals quickly you need:

1. Know what your goals are – What do you really want to achieve, in the next 30, 60, 90 days? How much money do you want to make and why. The why is important here because without the why you will probably not achieve your goals because it is not tied to anything, it does not mean anything to you, you have no sense of urgency.

2 – Know what you need to do – Now that you know what you want to achieve, ie, how much money you want to make you need to know what you need to do in order to create the result you are looking for. Let's say for example you are in the service based industry and you want to earn $ 10,000 in the next 2 weeks, in order to reach this goal you would need to know how many people you need to talk to based on your current closing rate and you would need to put a plan in place in order to be able to talk to these folks.

3 – Map it out on your calendar – Once you know what it is you want to create and why you want to create it and you know what you need to do, you want to next map this out on your calendar. Let's go back to the example we talked about in # 2, you want to create $ 10k in the next two weeks, from this step you also know how many people you need to talk to and what strategy you are going to use to get in front of these people. You can now add this to your calendar based on the amount of time you need to conduct the strategy, have the sales calls, bring the new client on board, etc. Not only does adding these activities to the calendar help keep you accounting you also know if reaching your goals is achievable, if its not based on the amount of time go back to # 2 adjust the strategy.

That's it, really simple yet very substantial, try it out over the next 30 days and see how much easier it is to achieve your goals.

What Is Strategy (and What Is Not)

MBA bingo – making strategy complicated There is an old joke – how do you know if someone has an MBA? They tell you … And as any MBA student will also tell you, you can play MBA bingo during any lecture and many CEO presentations – choose some phrases like “synergistic benefits”, “cross-pollination”, “client-centric…

MBA bingo – making strategy complicated

There is an old joke – how do you know if someone has an MBA? They tell you … And as any MBA student will also tell you, you can play MBA bingo during any lecture and many CEO presentations – choose some phrases like “synergistic benefits”, “cross-pollination”, “client-centric focus” and many others and you'll soon have the foundations for a bingo game and tittering from the back row.

What you'll also get is strategy made complicated when it really does not need to be.

The deer-in-the-headlight look

I've had the privilege of meeting some very bright entrepreneurs, who have a fantastic idea and vision. But when I ask them what their strategy is, a lot of them scribble some mind-maps onto a piece of paper and complement them with some vague discussion on a few high-level notions of what the little circles mean to their vision.

The deer-in-the-headlight look comes when I ask them some very simple questions:

1. Where do you want your business to be in 5 years' time? What turnover and margins will you be making? What markets will you be serving?

2. What is the outcome of a quick SWOT analysis – give me the top 3 points in each section and tell me what they mean to you

3. What do you need to do to get to where you want to be in 5 years' time? What resources do you need that you do not have now?

If these questions can not be answered in less than 10 minutes, you have no strategy. Equally, if they can only be answered by a lengthy thesis, you have no strategy.

What strategy is not

Strategy is not “I have a good idea and I know it will sell”. There is a big “why” and “how” left out of that statement. Equally, neither is it a set of pretty slides filled with MBA bingo.

What strategy is

Strategy is a well-thought through and succinct plan of where you want your business to be in 5 years' time and what resources that you do not have now you will put in place to get there. It is also fluid and will never remain static. Be prepared for and accept the fact that your strategic plan must evolve regularly as circumstances change and new opportunities present themselves.

Of course that is an over-simplification of a long process that leads to the succinct plan. You absolutely do have to answer the following:

  • What is my product or service
  • Who are my competitors and how do they do business
  • Who are my clients going to be and how am I going to reach them
  • What is the total market for my product or service and how much of it do I want
  • What does a SWOT analysis tell me
  • How am I going to make a profitable return (and, on this, remember that turnover is bling but cash is king!)

There are many other strategic tools to use and you can be as complicated in your analysis as you want. But if you do not have a clear, succinct and adaptable plan at the end of it you have wasted your time.

Seven Steps to Mastery of Your Marketplace

If you follow these steps, a thunderstorm of money can rain down on you and your business. Can you handle that? If not, you'd better stop reading, because these steps are like the combination of an overstuffed safe: once you learn how to open it, money just falls out. Really, these are seven steps to…

If you follow these steps, a thunderstorm of money can rain down on you and your business. Can you handle that? If not, you'd better stop reading, because these steps are like the combination of an overstuffed safe: once you learn how to open it, money just falls out. Really, these are seven steps to freedom – because when you do business the right way, you have the freedom to do what you like, and that makes life a joy.

Without further ado, let's run through these simple steps.

Step # 1: Give the customers what they want. It does not get much simpler than that. It just seems like common sense, but somehow, many businesspeople do not really understand it. They ignore what the customers want; basically, they offer what they like, and hope enough other people want it that they'll make some money. Well, they've got the formula precisely backward. The real money lies in selling people what they want. We all know customers have needs and wants; and believe me, they'll spend a lot more for their needs than on their needs.

Sometimes it's hard to tell what their wants are. Sometimes the customer will not tell; and even when they do, they may not tell you the truth. They may not know themselves. But you've got to figure it out to master your marketplace. Maybe that means reinventing your business or dropping some products from your product line, then launching new products in their place. Mastering your marketplace means giving people what they want . The bigger that need or desire is, the more money you can make.

Step # 2: Create offers that make them salivate. That's the crave factor. If you're not creating offers that you want to respond to, then why are you in business? This goes above and beyond just having something available for sale. You have to create an offer. Package it neatly, put a bow on it, make it presentable so they want to respond. Make them crave it through the best copy you can get. If you can not write it yourself, hire someone who can, because the competition in all media these days is truly fierce.

Step # 3: Maintain good sales margins. When in doubt, raise your prices and focus on your best customers and prospects. No one ever went out of business from making too much profit. These are tough times, and trying to sell things on the cheap or appeal to everyone can get you in big trouble. Wal-Mart has been able to get away with it so far by selling at big discounts, but even their business is down recently. That's scary, because Wal-Mart is the largest, most successful retail business in the world.

Step # 4: Continually improve your follow-up marketing methods. You must rain mail on your prospects. You must keep in touch with buyers on a regular basis, because you want to turn them into long-term customers. Invite them to do more business with you more often. Sometimes people ask, “How do I know how much mail is too much?” Our response is, “Whenever it stops being profitable, stop mailing.”

Most people stop following up too soon. You may be able to mail 4-5 follow-up letters to people, or you may be able to mail 15-20. If they're still responding and you're still making a profit, why would you stop? Most people do not get this right. If they follow up at all, they do so far too infrequently. Even if you're not in the DRM business, you have to have some way of following up on the leads you've captured. Whatever it is, keep at it. Pursue them relentlessly, as if their life depends on them buying your product or service. If you focus on the benefits you're able to deliver, you should feel totally confident and comfortable doing so.

Step # 5: Constantly strive to know your customers better. This is key, because if you do not know your prospects well, you will not be able to sell to them. This goes hand-in-hand with Step # 1, selling them what they want. The only way to know what they want is to know them better than they know themselves. People lie about things; they even lie to themselves. If you're a really innovative marketer (and you should be), then try to figure out exactly what they want at all times and under all circumstances.

Step # 6: Plan all your marketing campaigns so you can make a profit even with bad percentages. In other words, arrange things to make money even when response is poor and people are not coming into your store. One of the problems we entrepreneurs have is that we think too much of our promotions, overestimating how well they're likely to do. Try to get away from that mindset; spend some time thinking about worst-case scenarios. If you can make a profit even when the numbers stink, then you're onto something. That's why it's important to get a good price for everything you do or make, because you never know when response will fall. When it falls for someone who's doing business on the cheap, they're in a world of hurt and often go bankrupt.

Step # 7: Continually test. This is most marketers' least favorite activity, and even we experts sometimes do not do it as much as we should. But it is vital to your success. Constantly seek to replace ideas, systems, and initiatives with bigger, better, stronger ones. Testing is the only way you develop even better promotions. So once you have something that's working, keep looking for ways to improve it.

If you're in the mail business, run controls against the main piece you know is working, trying to beat it with new tests. Always look for ways to make something work better than it works now. We usually do head-to-head tests, so if we're mailing 10,000 pieces of mail, we might mail 5,000 of our control and 5,000 pieces of a new idea we think might work better. Sometimes that means reinventing the offer in a major way; other times it means testing a new headline or a new hook, angle or offer in an attempt to get them to respond in higher numbers. You see, what's working now will ever stop working – and you've got to have somewhere to go after that, some new offer to attract customers.

These seven steps lead to mastery of your marketplace. Of course, we could add others; but these are seven critical ones, the ones you have to push at if you want to master your market. Most business owners will tell you that's what they want; but the reality is that all too often, they're just doing the bare minimum to get by. They exist in their marketplace, but are not driving to master it.

They may not even really think about their business as being in a marketplace. They have whatever they do, and of course they have customers, but are not really thinking about their marketplace as something they could master, or even do a better job of reaching. They just do what they do, the days and the weeks flow by, they limp along as a business … and they never really try to get better at marketing.

Mastering their market is a completely foreign subject to them. All they're thinking about is how they're going to pay their bills and survival. They're just following the follower, never even trying to think outside the box. They actually that they have not spent any time thinking about mastering their marketplace is actually good news for you, because it means your competitors are very easy to beat when you follow these seven principals – especially the last two.

Learn to make good money with bad numbers. Crack the world of possibilities wide open and think outside of the box. Test rigorously and religiously – even things that are a little outrageous. You never know what's going to work the best, so you need a lot of ideas. Try to answer the question, “What if everything fails? What will I do then?” Lay out five or six of your best strategies – and then ask, “What if they all fail?”

Ultimately, your goal is to take a small amount of money and see how far you can stretch it. If you can make a profit on little or no money and the market is big enough, the sky's the limit when you roll out in a big way. These seven steps are crucial in accomplishing that – so consider deeply what it takes to dominate the marketplace you serve, to truly give the people in it what they want and need.

Are You Leaving Money on the Table in Your Biz?

Early in my practice, I had a client who is a book writing coach. When we started working together, he was trying to handle every aspect of his business on his own-customer service, tracking payments, entering items into QuickBooks, working with the clients, sales and marketing, and networking. He had been operating this way for…

Early in my practice, I had a client who is a book writing coach. When we started working together, he was trying to handle every aspect of his business on his own-customer service, tracking payments, entering items into QuickBooks, working with the clients, sales and marketing, and networking.

He had been operating this way for nearly a year, running himself to exhaustion, working about 60 hours a week, but not making the money he wanted to make. Even worse, he was not able to spend the time he wanted with his wife or young daughter who was growing up so fast, and he felt he was missing out.

No matter how hard he worked, he faced the same issues. Not enough money. Not enough time. He was in a rote and felt like he was working around the clock, constantly yet no matter how many hours he worked in the day he was not able to get the result he was looking for, more money. It reminds me of the old adage, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. The thing was because, he did not know what he needed to do. He was not focused on the things that he should have been doing, client work and sales, instead he was focused on trying to “run” his business when in fact, his business was running him.

Can you relate?

He had hit an impasse. He could not add more hours to the day. He did not have time to do everything he needed to do, and he was not even making a third of the money he wanted to make. He could not take on more clients. His days were so filled with activity, he did not have room on his calendar. Because he could not take on more clients, his income was stuck at $ 3,000 per month, his goal was to be at $ 10,000 per month, at that was just for starters. More than anything, he wanted peace of mind. Peace of mind of knowing that things are getting done, that clients are taken care of, and nothing important is overlooked.

He knew he could not continue everything in his business if he wanted it to grow, but he had no clue what it would look like to set up the business properly. He realized if he did hire an assistant to help, he would not know what to tell them to do.

It was this exasperation that led him to reach out to me.

In our first conversation, I told him that he should stop trying to do everything. That it is not only impossible to do it all, it's a just plain terrible idea.

“You can not be good at everything. You should be doing your genius work. What comes naturally to you, what comes easily to you.”

In the first three weeks, he cut his workload to 35 hours per week, and his income more than doubled, from an average $ 3,000 a month to $ 6,500 a month.

The 12 Paths to Power

There are two sides to becoming powerful. The first is being able to act effectively; in fact, the definition of power is the ability to act. The second side of power is staying out of other people's control. That's a big one in itself. During my career, I've identified 12 paths to power: Path #…

There are two sides to becoming powerful. The first is being able to act effectively; in fact, the definition of power is the ability to act. The second side of power is staying out of other people's control. That's a big one in itself. During my career, I've identified 12 paths to power:

Path # 1: Know yourself intimately . I believe this one is the most important. Many businesspeople overestimate their chances of success and wildly under estimate their chances of failure. This is especially true of wild-eyed, optimistic entrepreneurs. That's one good reason to get up at 5 AM with a blank piece of paper and try to think through things from as many angles as possible. Know your strengths and weaknesses, and say no to what I call “open-ended aspirations.” People who are very ambitious – and I am one – tend to want it all. That's open-ended ambition, and it's a recipe for disaster. You have to know what you do not want as well as what you do want.

Path # 2: Be an information filter and a knowledge sponge. Keep searching for the truth. Keep trying to figure out what makes other people tick, and why they do what they do. Greater knowledge of yourself and the world around you gives you a wider range of actions to choose from.

Path # 3: Get it together. Focus like a laser on what you want. Many people want it all, so they're not very powerful. This reflects what I was saying about open-ended ambition.

Path # 4: Live an upright life. Honesty really is the best policy. One of my favorite quotes is “To thine own self be true.” I've said it to myself thousands of times when I did not know what to do. If you're true to yourself, you can not be false to others.

Path # 5: Take a shot. You can not win if you do not play. Dream big dreams. Go for the gold. Take massive action: start moving in a lot of different directions, and figure things out as you go.

Path # 6: Hang in there . Persevere no matter the pain, as H. Ross Perot once said. You'll find that those who make it in this world are the ones who hang in there longer than everyone else.

Path # 7: Pick doable objectives . Do not waste your time and energy fighting losing battles.

Path # 8: Do not make a big deal about being the boss . Be humble. You need other people around to help you win.

Path # 9: Do not motivate other people to oppose you. They say that friends come and go, but enemies stay forever. Do not make people any more jealous than they already are if you're super successful already. Do not strip someone down and cause them to seek revenge.

Path # 10: Put your adversities to good use . Adversity contains the energy you need to succeed. Problems spur you to action. It's up to you to decide what to do with that action.

Path # 11: Calm down. Open-ended desires lead to nothing. Be satisfied with what you have-and then keep pushing. So pace yourself and push yourself.

Path # 12: Think win-win. You empower yourself by empowering others. As Zig Zigler once said, “You can have anything in this world you want, if you help enough other people get what they want.” Think about how you can help other people while helping yourself in the process.

Those are my 12 paths to power. I urge you to reread them and think about them deeply. Are there more paths? Yes, of course there are – but focus on and master these first.

Do You Choose Death, Failure, or Strategic Planning? – Choose Wisely!

Leaders from all types of organizations whether non-profit, for-profit, private, and / or public often under seriously under the significance of good. This is a significant mistake since the benefits of strategic planning can define an organizations entire future in terms of longevity and the achievement of its' mission. An organization that unwisely decides not…

Leaders from all types of organizations whether non-profit, for-profit, private, and / or public often under seriously under the significance of good. This is a significant mistake since the benefits of strategic planning can define an organizations entire future in terms of longevity and the achievement of its' mission.

An organization that unwisely decides not to undergo a strategic planning process thinks that they are making the right decision. The truth of the matter is however that they are unknowingly choosing their own organizational death or future failure over the long term. As the old saying goes, a failure to plan is simply a proactive plan to fail and time will not needlessly be kind just because the cause is a good one. The vision and mission of an organization must be a priority for success.

Strategic Planning For Success

A truly progressive organization or at least one that is seeking to be progressive will have a strong desire to succeed. To pursue success in whatever form, an organization must choose to develop a comprehensive strategic plan. Comprehensive is undeniably the operative word in regards to organizational success and in order to maintain the comprehensive characteristics the strategy formulation process must include the following basic factors:

– Staff and leadership training and development

– Cultural unity and team building

– Strategic change management

– Strategic agility (ongoing evolution and adaptation)

– Vision casting (plan communication and marketing)

– SMART goals and objectives (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely)

In addition to these noted basic components the following are identified as mission critical success factors and must also be present for plan success:

– Model for decision making

– Sound and appropriate organizational structure

– Customized metrics and strategic plan monitoring

– Plan evaluation, measurement, corrective action, and adaptation

To ignore these basic and critical success factors is to ignore the very purpose for which the strategic plan was first conceptualized and created substantially which is the actual execution of the plan. A great plan must have all of the noted components to set the stage for rising above mediocrity and bringing about excellence!

Wrap Your Strategic Planning In Excellence

Many leaders know or learn how to plan to plan but are conceptually ill equipped to effectively execute the plan once created. Some actually have even become obsessed with the process of planning alone and continue to go through a series of repeated process and analysis over and over again. This cycle of repeated process addition has sometimes been compared to being on a process hamster wheel and can even be characterized as “Paralysis of Analysis” or “Strategic Agility Inability.”

Activity is not necessarily an indication of progress. In order to truly be effective in executing any strategic plan one must move from the process phase and actually begin implementing the plan. Effective implementation involves wrapping your plan in excellence.

To wrap a strategic plan in excellence, top leadership must be fully committed to embracing and owning the process of plan execution. Execution should not be deferred by delegation to others. Of course all good leaders must sometimes delegate a task which is not necessarily problematic. The key is that one can delegate the authority but the responsibility must remain with the leader.

Therefore the responsibility for the execution of the plan rests directly with top leadership. Every good or great plan is created for the ultimate purpose of skillfully executing the plan over a prescribed timeline and must not simply sit on a shelf collecting dust.

Commit To Paying the Price for Strategic Planning

As previously mentioned many leaders make the mistake of misjudging the true value of strategic planning. The leader undervalue error is generally caused by an inability to recognize the plan as being more than just an enhanced administrative process so they will not always pay what it is really worth. The reality is however that the intrinsic benefit of strategic planning is actually immeasurable in value. The financial costs of professional strategic planning can range between five-thousand and fifty-thousand dollars depending on the size of the organization, and the agreed upon scope and scale of the project.

In an earlier empirical study on management decision making which also incorporated Journal of Management History information the findings showed that there is a good deal of support for the study's hypotheses. A strong and positive relationship was formed between formal strategic planning and firm performance. The test results also verify the moderating roles of environmental turbulence, organization structure and firm size on the strategic planning-performance link.

What this is basically confirming is that the cost of strategic planning is well worth it. There is always a price to pay for success and a price to pay for failure. If one must pay a price, then why not choose to pay the price to be successful.

Leaders must make the decision to spend the money simply because their organization future is at stake. The culture of scarcity and continuous off cycle contractionary policy must be abandoned. Strategic planning must become financed and become part of the annual budget process. Simply put, what gets budgeted gets done. The undertaking of strategic planning goes beyond the financial commitment of paying the price for success with your treasure, but also your time and your talents. Without a customized plan (and they should always be customized) you send your organization to begin dying a slow death. Your next steps if you are wise will be to choose a qualified consulting firm, make the decision to spend the money, and get going to realize your future success. So what will you do? Will you choose to die, fail, or go forward with your strategic plan?