“How Great Leaders Inspire Action” or Strategic Planning 101:

Most often it starts with an idea, than you chose a small group of people who have same or similar dreams as you. As a team, you collaborate and share your thoughts, feelings, and fears on what you believe and don’t believe so that you will make a decision to join together because of what you all believe. If there is agreement to work hard, together you can make the impossible possible. Trust develops.

Most new and old enterprises, companies or entrepreneurs in the world start first with the “Vision” statement, which talks about what you believe you and your team would be doing and why you are doing this. Short term for the next 18 months you develop a plan and the 3 to 5 years out dream is discussed. Always asking yourselves what would we look like if…? Why do we really want to do this? I’ve said this in past articles. “…give me a cohesive management team and I will leave strategic planners in my dust.”

Then the “Mission” statement is nothing but the actions you as a team perform to achieve your vision. This should include your key “Make or Break” which is individual measurable weekly key activity that is each of your cornerstones to success. Ask yourselves “…is the the hill we are going to die on?” Example, one of my members shared that 85% of his pilots (prospects testing whether their software service does what they said it would do) turned into a client. He is now driving every suspect, prospect toward “pilots” knowing that in 3 months on average he will have a new customer. Other client’s “Make or Break” was lead generation, he needed to see that marketing was creating more leads than the sales team could handle. Key Performer indicators, both real view (revenue, EBITDA, AR, RFQ’s, lead/yield % to name a few) and forward facing dashboards predicting your revenue or profit are meaningful snapshots so you can see the health and breath of your company. Several of my members have 10 or more KPI’s.

Next, my sense is one describes their service or their product portfolio, sharing more about what they do. Can you define what your USP (unique selling proposition) is? Why do your customers buy from you? What drives sales? If you don’t know, go out and call on your top 10 accounts and ask them, “Why do you buy from us?” Objectively speaking: those that offer the best products or services should be the ones that are purchased. Not those who are sold with a purpose.

Most likely, every company in the world follows a similar path yet how well you stick to your vision, mission, without losing focus and communicate the same to the world makes the difference. One of my members, specialty meat cutter for the fine dining industry shared at this month’s meeting “…the level of trust will never rise above the level of communication.” Leadership starts with the communication of the vision which aligns direct reports and team members to the vision.

Simon Sinek has a very popular 18 minute video clip on YouTube “why” which I encourage you to view.

Simon Sinek “How great leaders inspire action” – Why – 18 minutes


Published by edstillman

I grew up in Carlsbad, north San Diego County, lost my dad as a teenager, went into the USAF for four years and hired on with 3M in 1969. Received my AA from Santa Barbara City College, BA and Masters from Redlands University and after 33 plus years, I retired from 3M in 2002. As I look back on my life, I have been creating myself and developing my skill sets to be a business coach and a Vistage Chair. I am president of SEOT, a "personal improvement" consulting firm spending most of my time working with Central Texas executives running small to medium size for-profit companies who are focusing on improving their profitability greater than their competition. My area of interest is assisting senior executives in creating a better balance between business commitments and personal relationships. I also facilatate three leadership labs each consisting of a dozen owners, presidents and CEOs. We meet monthly both in a group setting as well as in a 1-to-1 coaching session. Our focus is to sharpen each others' skills in becoming better leaders, making better decisions and taking ourselves and companies to that next level. Who are we? My members are experienced top executives who recognize that they don’t have all the answers and who actively seek the company of successful peers—both to give and receive insights and ideas. My members mine the 200 plus years of chief executive experience that comes together in our monthly meetings and members are eager to offer their own experience and insights in the process. As a group, we spend our time exploring topics members can't discuss anywhere else. My members have many other places where they can engage in idle, "cocktail party" chatter. Our mission is to provide the setting for discussing the "undiscussable." Where or who can you go to for confidential, honest feedback to assist you in minimizing your personal "Worry List"?

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