It’s stop/start time again…for business owners!

Starting in Q4 several of my business owner members take themselves through a stop/start exercise as they look around the corner and into the new year. It’s a planning process that has stood the test of time since I started chairing in 2006. Probably more important and meaningful today considering the pandemic isn’t going away any time soon. If you haven’t gone through a reflection process it’s a way to let go of some tasks. Where is your line of sight? Are you in the weeds (tactical) more than you are looking around the corner (strategic). Example might be redo your org chart and reduce your direct reports (people) in order to focus on where your time should be focused. One of your top roles is to turn your managers into leaders. What’s the best use of your time and is that where your time is being spent? Start by listing your 2020 accomplishments and disappointments, there’s still plenty of time.

One last thought, who are your 2020 hero’s in your company? Have you recognized them, were you able to use some of your PPP funds to bonus your most deserving employees? One of my business owner members came up with a “Tip Jar” a couple a years ago. He focused on company profitability and has paid out quarterly hundreds of dollars to every employee because of their performance impacted results. Two other members are in the process of bonusing their employees by December 15th for a job well done so they will have extra dollars to spend on their gifting without having to use credit cards.

Below are a few of what we focus on and if you want the template we use, send me a text or email me at

Start with what were your 2020 significant accomplishments? (personal or professional)

What were the company’s most significant accomplishments in 2020? Also most significant disappointments?

What is the one thing you must start doing in 2021 to be a better leader? What’s the one thing you must stop doing in 2021 to be a better leader?

What personal & professional development goals have you set for yourself in 2021?

Do you create a “Plan for 2021”? Revenue, profit, and measurable goals for the year? What are the rocks, milestones, must wins or what must happen each quarter that will put a smile on the face of your employees, your leadership team and yourself. Process improvement, hiring key talent, website upgrade, software upgrades, ROI, revenue per employee, etc. My readings and experience suggests you should have no more than 5 objectives each quarter. More are looked upon as good intentions and for me over the years it was difficult to focus on more that 3 each quarter.

I’m here if you want to talk, have a deeper dive or share a cup of coffee.

Ed Stillman 512.422.6232

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"?