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business plan

Business Insights, business plan, change, coaching, communication, cooperation, Decision making, fulfillment, Leadership Insights, Performance, Processes, Standards & Practices, Uncategorized

Your Business Needs An Annual Check Up Tool!

[sh_dropcap style=”theme” dropshadow=”true” color=”foreground”][/sh_dropcap] favorite song lyric of mine includes these words—“It’s not where you start, it’s where you finish!” These words keep me centered and focused. Now, we can apply this mantra to our business roadmap.

Virtual Mastermind Project

Benefit from a team booster approach to resolve issues who have to resolve.

We have all been exposed and heard to Standard Operating Procedures (SOP), Policies & Procedures, ISO, and Baldrige Excellence. It does not matter what you call them. What matters is how they are distributed and what assurance you have they are action items.

Consider why it is important to do this?

  • Changing business climate
  • More competitors in the marketplace
  • Catch failing processes and gaps
  • Leadership changes, like succession movement
  • Minimize risks with a solid plan
  • Loss of market share
  • New rules, regulations change quickly
  • Identify where alignment needs adjusting
  • Improve your existing market position
  • Self reflection before customers begin peeling away or want more
  • What is your essential reason? __________________________________________________________________

A mini-version of this is the VMP™ approach. It is an excellent primer to the larger process of strategic planning. Everyone participates. The process reinforces collaboration.

Many companies have annual strategic planning sessions for a three-day off site experience. To make optimized use of this precious time-meaningful and relevant-we must embed the follow-up that must happen to implement the discoveries and decisions that came from the conclave.

Often when a team is so close to the edge, it is difficult for them to see when they step over the side! An objective facilitator is the antidote to keep the event moving and productive.

What does this have to do with processes?

A positive start to your evaluation is to adopt a learner’s mindset. That will require all involved set aside their biases and contribute with fresh eyes and ideas. Begin here:

  1. Set a launch date
  2. Make a big deal about what you’re about to do. Create an identity for participants like T-shirts or caps. People want to belong to the excitement; that their presence makes a difference.
  3. Invite stakeholders from all aspects of the business including outside vendors who may or may not connect directly with your customers.
  4. Be realistic about time frame.
    1. Give the process at least a quarter to take root.
    2. Break the process into segments.
  5. Open the strategic plan:
    1. Assign portions to teams
    2. Have them assess how well each sector ties back to the major plan.
  6. Use the Baldrige Self Assessment as a starting point. There are several reliable assessments. This is the easiest to follow.
    1. ISO is another (more manufacturing oriented) evaluation
    2. https://www.nist.gov/baldrige/self-assessing/improvement-tools
    3. https://www.nist.gov/baldrige/publications/baldrige-excellence-framework

The ultimate benefit is the performance focus and a crystal clear framework.

The assessment provides clarification on business elements that can be overlooked or deliberately ignored until there is a tragic failure. Daily routines and even “best practices” can devolve into a grind. We can lose focus on what and why we are doing what we are doing!

Let me know how it works for you. I’m here to serve.

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Action plan, Behavior, Business Insights, business plan, change, Strategic Plan

Lessons Learned from Knock-Knock Jokes Apply to Strategy

Why do people find Knock-Knock Jokes funny? Sure, they’re corny and silly, but the puns and play on words can be entertaining. They are smart in their own way. One’s mind has to open to see the comedic twist. Here’s an example,”When is a door not a door?” Answer: When it’s ajar! (Groan)

Let’s apply this pattern to something more serious, something that leaders often overlook. “When is a strategy not a strategy?” Answer: When it’s a list of goals strung together!
I see this thinking pattern misunderstanding frequently when I work with small business in particular. Why? Part of the reason is because there are not many “advisors” around to correct a direction.

That is why I created the Pivotal Thinking topic for the Virtual Mastermind Projects as a benign way to start everyone on the team from the same starting line. Pivotal Thinking relies on the executive functions within the brain. When there is impairment or “lag” in these functions, decision making can be terrifying and difficult. Pivotal Thinking is affected by several functions. Read more here.

Take a “fear” temperature. This exercise is an opportunity to plant seeds of success and engagement at all levels. Preconceived notions can damage progress-the “ain’t broke” rule! Discover what fears would stand in the way of progress.
So, how do you check if you have a real strategy or not? 
1. How well does everyone connected with the company, brand, understand what’s behind it? Purpose must be embedded or it is hollow.
2. What logic can be applied at each level or extension of the company?
3. How well does the leader realize that front-line employees are critical to the implementation of the plan? It’s not enough to create the strategy and implement it. Robert Burgelman*, Stanford professor, contends (sic) that “bottom-up initiatives must come from employees that fall within set boundaries set by the strategic intent.” Strategy Is Destiny” How Strategy-making Shapes a Company’s Future

4. Self-selected choices emerge when employees pick which initiatives, led by the strategy, they believe in rather than being forced to make something work.
5. Consider intention rather than goals—Goals are the pillars that mark the intent to achieve the created strategy.  For example, how do the choices relate back to the  purpose, intention? How do individuals make it part of their job description?
Successful strategists embed room to experiment and find ways that don’t work rather than finding one answer.
6. Apply the Universal Why or Toyota’s root-cause analysis of asking why until they can’t anymore!  For example, ask, “Why are we doing this? Why did the first choice fail?”
This is a hot topic that you can bring to your organization. When everyone starts from the same place, the universe is your oyster!
*Robert Burgelman-https://hbr.org/2017/11/many-strategies-fail-because-theyre-not-actually-strategies
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Action plan, business plan, entrepreneurs, failure, Marketing, Risk, small business, start up, Strategic Plan

Turn Your Hobby Into A Business










After watching the video, create a worksheet.

Jot down notes and answer these questions:
Did you begin?
1. What stopped you?

  • Fear
  • Lack of confidence
  • Influence of others
  • Your __________

2. Define your strategic plan in three sentences.

  •     Define your objectives within your plan
  •     Define your goals within your plan


3. How solid are your resources?

  •     Credit cards? (Hint: Bad idea)
  •     Small business loan
  •     Savings
  •     401 (k)  
  •     Other

In what stage is your business plan?

  • Would you invest in this idea if you were a stranger?
  • Write out 10 single key words to describe your enterprise.
  • Write out 10 ways people would search in phrases (long-tail SEO) for your offering.
  • Who are two competitors in your channel?
  • What do you know about them? Write what you know and then research them.
  • What are three unique characteristics of your offering different than two competitors?
  • What is the worst thing that could happen to your business?
  • What is the best thing that could happen to the business?
This sheet will help you get started—Do it today!

Who needs coaching? Maybe you do to get this starship launched!

Your coach,
  CPCC, ACC
Positive Potentials LLC



©2015  Michelle Cubas All Rights Reserved.




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