Preparation, a Critical Ally for Greater Personal and Organizational Success

I have spoken to people that believe that planning and goal making are not really for them. They believe that if they plan, they will be constricted, and if they make goals, they will just set themselves up for failure. I guess that is one way to look at it, and I can understand the latter part of that. I admit that I don’t know everyone in the world (not even close), but I have never heard a successful person say something like that. There are people that seem to have a lot of luck in life, but for the rest of us, we need to prepare ourselves for success, and we need to plan for it. Graveyards are riddled with good intentions, lost hopes, failed dreams, and plenty of regrets.

Definition of "Preparation"

Preparation, Prepare, Preparing

Preparation is a part of life. We grow-up with it in everything we do. Washing our hands before dinner, getting dressed to go somewhere, brushing our teeth before bed, and a million other mundane tasks – ingrain in us that “preparation” is an important part of life. Somewhere in life, many people get tired of preparing, perhaps they failed at achieving some goals, perhaps they got sick of chasing the dream. When it comes to personal or organizational success, we always have to be preparing. How do we prepare:

  • Read books that improve our knowledge and skills
  • Hire a coach to improve accountability and learn new methods
  • Be a part of a mastermind group to improve accountability, collaboration, and meet new people
  • Attend social events and conferences to learn and increase our network
  • etc… etc…

Everyone is preparing for something, are you preparing for success, or preparing for failure? If you don’t prepare, its unlikely you’ll make it to where ever it is you want to go, in fact you may not ever start.

Definition of "Plan"

Plan, Planning

I have been talking about planning all week in the posts I’ve shared. We can prepare all the time, by reading books, getting a coach, but hopefully all that is a means to an end, an end that brings you success, happiness, security, or what ever it is you are after. Sitting down and making “a decision about what one is going to do,” and then designing a road-map to get to that destination, will bring clarity.

  • Clarity about what is more important
  • Clarity about who is more important
  • Clarity about your purpose
  • etc… etc…

If you don’t plan, you don’t know where you’re going or how you are going to get there. Whether it is organizational objectives and plans, or personal objectives and plans, they both bring greater purpose and action. Don’t be the kind of person that reads lots of books and is always preparing for something, but never sits down and makes a plan to obtain that something, and use those skills. Graveyards are riddled with smart, brilliant people, that didn’t plan or execute.

What are you going to do to start preparing and planning? Share your thoughts in the comments section.

Business, Sales, and Marketing Planning 101 – What Needs To Be In Them!

Sales-Plan-Marketing-Plan-Business-PlanWhat I am about to lay out is no secret. In fact there are probably thousands of sites that talk about this, but I am hoping that I can simplify it and and encourage everyone to understand the importance of planning, and how to do it. I wanted to write about this because it boggles my mind how many business owners/CEOs/Presidents I have met, that do not know how to write a Business Plan. Plus how many Director of Sales/VP of Sales people I have met that do not know how to write a Sales Plan, and how many Director of Marketing/VP of Marketing people that I have met that do not know how to write a Marketing Plan. Not sure how any professional of that level could get hired without the leadership ability to plan, but it seems to happen quite often.

If planning can bring so much success, then why don’t more people do it. One of the reasons I have been told by many is that they are just not sure what to put into a plan. That is exactly what I will address in this post.

Below I have laid out the critical areas that need to be detailed in a Business, Sales, and Marketing Plan. This is not all inclusive, but is more or less applicable to selling products and/or services. Plans get get quite complicated, but lets try and keep it simple.

One thing to note is that there is a lot of similar content in each of the sections, so if you are tackling all three plans, much of the effort can duplicated across the plans.

Business Plans

One thing to note with many common business plans, is that they often will contain a built in sales plan and marketing plan, or perhaps a condensed version of those plans. I don’t like to usually do that, because it becomes an difficult to manage beast. The order of the items below are how I would usually organize them, but depending on circumstances and the type of business that might change.

  • Time Frame for the Plan: Generally 1 to 5 years, but updated annually for the coming year.
  • Structure:
    • 1. Executive Summary – Written last. This section summarizes the entire plan and the company goals.
    • 2. Company Summary – Explain who the company is, its mission, vision, values, and keys to success. It also might go into company ownership , facilities, and more, especially if it is a start-up.
    • 3. Market Analysis Summary– I like to detail out both primary target segments, and when necessary, secondary target segments. It is generally important to keep your focus as narrow as possible. Try to get good, solid, and current data on the segments you are targeting. This section explains not just the targets and information on them, but also the market needs, market analysis, additional segmentation, competitors, buying patterns, market needs, and anything else to narrow down and understand the markets.
    • 4. Products and/or Services Summary– Here you will detail out all the products and services that you intend to deliver. This includes, descriptions, features, benefits, competitive comparisons, fulfillment, sales literature, etc… You have to know what you are selling, and writing it out in a plan is one of the best ways, and it will keep the message consistent, throughout the organization.
    • 5. Strategy and Implementation Summary – What is it you want to do and accomplish? What do the operations look like? How will you deliver, support, and profit from the strategy? This section might also go into competitive advantages, sales strategy, marketing strategy, web and social strategies, and much more.
    • 6. Management Summary – Details out the leadership of the company that is going to execute the plan. I also like to detail out external consultants, contractors, and other services that might be needed to augment a lack of skills or experience in the organization’s management.
    • 7. Financial Plan – The financial plan details out the financial forecast, expected expenses, profit and loss, business ratios, balance statement, margin, break-even analysis, and much more. Often times this is much more chart and table oriented than written text.
    • 8. Appendix – The sky is the limit on what goes here. Could be org chart, various reports and tables that the plan references, and much more.

Like I said this is the basics. They can be much smaller, and much bigger, but this is the defacto standard that I like to start with.

Sales Plans

Sales Plans are similar in structure to business plans, although obviously focused on revenue generation. Any business can benefit from a sales plan, but generally they are most valuable when there is an actual sales organization, i.e. department/team.

  • Time Frame for the Plan: Generally 1 year, can be up to 3 years.
  • Structure:
    • 1. Executive Summary – Written last. This section summarizes the entire plan and the sales goals of the organization. I like to include a sales recap of the previous year also, as well as the sales theme for the year.
    • 2. Market Analysis Summary– This is no different than the Business Plan, although it is usually a little more sales oriented and might go into even more analysis in order to identify behaviors and tactics that need to be employed to achieve the sales targets. As with the Business Plan, try to get good, solid, and current data on the segments you are targeting.
    • 3. Competitor Analysis – This section will go into must greater detail on competitors of all kinds: direct, geographical,  vertical, indirect, and model competitors. Additionally a Competitor SWOT analysis  and summary is detailed out in this section.
    • 3. Products and/or Services Summary– Again this is pretty much the same as the Business Plan, although there would usually be more information and resources, with things like battle cards, competing products, and tactics to selling each product and/or service. If this is done poorly, you will have inconsistent results and tactics being employed from one sales person to the next.
    • 4. Sales Strategy – Another potentially large section. This section goes into company differentiators, pricing rationale, and sales differentiators. It also goes into new growth strategies, existing growth strategies that the organization is sticking with, sales forecast by month and quarter, key performance indicators, and the lead conversion strategy. Another very important part of this section is sales processes, how are things supposed to be done, including the CRM plan. Sales themes and sales pipeline milestones, sales funnel milestones, and sales quotas. Additionally you would include any information and schedules for sales activities such as events, campaigns, or launches.
    • 5. Account Management Strategy – This is a section that is not always needed, but if you need to maintain relationships after the sale, then it is a good idea to document the expected client experience, the retention goals, processes, and everything related to keeping that client happy. This is often combined with the previous section.
    • 7. Sales Budget – Pretty self-explanatory, how much money there is, how it is going to be spent and on what. Important to get into the details.
    • 8. Appendix – Again this is supporting documentation, reports, and anything else to support the plan.

Marketing Plans

Marketing Plans are similar in structure to Sales Plan, although obviously focused on lead generation. Every business, of any size, can benefit from a Marketing Plan, even if there is one employee.

  • Time Frame for the Plan: Generally 1 year, can be up to 3 years.
  • Structure:
    • 1. Executive Summary – Written last. This section summarizes the entire plan and the marketing goals of the organization. I like to include a marketing recap of the previous year also, as well as the marketing theme for the year.
    • 2. Market Analysis Summary– Pretty much an exact duplicate of the Sales Plan. If available it might go into analysis of marketing trends and analysis to the planned target markets.
    • 3. Competitor Analysis – Exact duplication of the Sales Plan. Important for marketing to understand what they are up against.
    • 3. Products and/or Services Summary– Another duplication of the sales plan, but might also include sample marketing copy and material that will be used alongside those products and/or services.
    • 4. Marketing Strategy – This will be a behemoth section if done right. You will detail out your marketing vision, differentiators, strategies, key metrics, processes, meetings, documentation, collateral, vendors, and all your marketing activities in detail (that is huge right there). Lastly you will detail your marketing schedule, by day, for the entire year. If you are freaking out at that last sentence, let me tell you how valuable it is to plan out your themes for every month, what campaigns will go out when, how much prep time is needed, what events you will be at, etc.. It amazes me the success that can be had when this is done properly. You can always course correct as needed and update the plan if strategies change during the year.
    • 5. Marketing Budget – Again, how much money there is, how it is going to be spent and on what. Important to get into the details.
    • 6. Appendix – Again this is supporting documentation, reports, and anything else to support the plan.

There you have it Business, Sales, and Marketing Plans 101. I can’t stress the importance of these plans, even in a simple format if that is all that can be done. The more detailed the plan is, the more consistent the results will be. Please share your thoughts or questions about Business, Sales, or Marketing Plans in the comments section.

Great Planning CAN Save a Bad Strategy and 19+ Questions to Answer in a Strategic Plan

Strategic-Plan-Execution-Plan-Leadership-Todd-NielsenI have seen a lot of failed strategies with companies, as I am sure you have as well. These strategies come in many shapes and sizes. Sometimes they are an idea on the back of a napkin. Sometimes they are a copy or slight modification of a competitor’s strategy, sometimes they are a fancy PowerPoint full of charts with hockey stick curves. The same is true for the personal strategies to get us where we want to go in life.

It is easy to get excited about an idea or a strategy that you just “know” is going to work and make you successful. It is easy to rush in and start executing on that strategy to bring it to fruition as soon as possible. On the other end of it all though, it is not a pretty sight to see an organization, or person, fall flat on their face, after being filled with so much hope and grandeur of success.

When an idea comes about and you just have all the confidence in the world that it is a great strategy, create a plan, DO NOT rush into it without getting things figured out. In the technology industry, where I have worked with a lot of organizations, I have seen many organizations, get into some new technology, association, service, or other supposedly great idea. They often will rush into it and then realize that on the backside they are losing money because of how difficult it is to support or bill the product/service. This is true across many industries and strategies.

When you begin to develop a plan for a strategy there are several things that have to be figured out:

  1. What is the market for the strategy?
  2. What niche(s) will you be focusing on?
  3. What is the viable target(s) within that market and niche?
  4. What is the expected penetration ratio for that niche? (Don’t do this: “If only .01% of the market buys our product, we’ll be making a killing…”) You need to look at research, talk to potential customers, and determine the true demand.
  5. How will you deliver on this strategy?
  6. What are the costs to deliver the strategy?
  7. What is the make-up of the offering for this strategy?
  8. What materials will need to be developed to sale and support the strategy?
  9. How will you support the strategy?
  10. What is your process for selling and marketing this strategy?
  11. How will you make money with this strategy?
  12. What is the true cost of the strategy?
  13. Do you have enough people, or the right people to effectively deliver this strategy?
  14. Do you have the right systems to deliver the strategy?
  15. How can you test the strategy to ensure it will work?
  16. How much work will be involved and at what cost to implement this strategy?
  17. Why is the strategy a good idea?
  18. How will you measure success of the strategy?
  19. Is this strategy in line with your mission, vision and values?
  20. and lots more…

Many of these points are for a strategy consisting of selling a product or service. Some of the questions still apply for other types of strategies. An acquisition strategy will have potentially hundreds of questions.

The point is you have to ask the right questions, and then answer them. The field is not always greener on the other side. By properly planning for a strategy, sometimes that planning will reveal that it is not a good strategy at all. In that case you can scrap it, and focus on more important strategies. If the plan reveals it is a good strategy, now is time to covert that strategic plan into an execution plan, and start executing.

Many people I’ve worked with on planning, think that planning has to be this long arduous task, and that if they took the time to plan out a strategy, the opportunity would pass them by. That is rarely the case. If that is the case with a strategy, you are probably already too late anyway. If you were to plan things out, you might realize that there are ways to modify the strategy to make it better than a competitor’s.

There are many types of plans, and a strategic plan is something to take seriously. No organization or person wants to end-up falling on their face, broke, and with lots of regrets.

Please share your thoughts in the comments section.

4 Planning Lies & Why Great Leadership Hinges on Great Planning


It happens… there are some people who have a great idea and can whisk their way into a market and do much more than “make ends meet.” There are some people who can get promoted into a new position and think that their charm and charisma is going to take them far. There are some leadership teams who meet weekly, solve problems and expect massive growth from just solving problems.

I hate to break it to these people, but eventually things flat-line. This is true for businesses and it is true for our personal success and development. Planning is a very unsexy act that so many leaders get completely wrong. In my precious post, 25 Stellar Reasons Why You Need a Killer Plan, I talked about the huge number of advantages to planning. I won’t go into that. What I want to do is smash down the lies that I often hear about planning, and my take on why good leadership, hinges on good planning.

Lie 1: Planning Will Produce a Huge Document That Will Only Collect Dust

I have helped organizations with Business Plans, Strategic Plans, Marketing Plans, Sales Plans, IT Plans and more, and lots more people with personal success plan. Sometimes the plans end up being a page, and sometimes they end up being 100+ pages. There are many formats to choose from and the depth of the plan is dependent on many factors. To say that in an organization, a plan will only collect dust, is essentially stating that the organization has one of the following problems:

  1. They wrote a bad plan that can’t be followed
  2. The organization has severe execution and/or leadership problems

When planning, plans have to be created and vetted through scenarios and research. Then the plan has to be broken down into manageable and readable details so that it can be followed. A poorly written plan will end up being a waste of time in many respects, and yes that type of plan will collect dust. As leaders you need to dig deep, plan hard, and ask for help if planning is not one of your strong suits.

Lie 2: Planning Will Not Allow Me to Be Innovative and Agile

Hogwash… as my father used to say. You don’t become a robot when you plan properly. Good plans take many things into account and while a detailed plan is usually better, they should never constrain you. The fact is that a good plan will liberate you. It gives you direction, guidance, and confidence to be moving in the right direction. It gives you milestones to shoot for at intervals, and if done properly good planning will make you more agile, and give you the opportunity and resources to be more innovative, more productive, and more agile.

Lie 3: Planning Wastes a Lot of Time

Is planning a waste of time, or is not planning a waste of time? In my experience the latter is true. Leaders tend to have so much going on that they find any task outside of their core duties to be a waste of time. Pulling themselves from those daily tasks and dedicating their mind and activities toward planning for a few days, or even a few hours, seems daunting. Couple that with the plague of an inability to execute and it can be easy to give “planning” a bad name. After a good solid planning session with leaders, lasting anywhere from a few hours to a few days, I have never heard anyone tell me they felt like it was a waste of time. A plan provides structure for the chaos of leadership. With that structure, chaos can be ordered, and what was previously thought to be unachievable, can be achieved.

Lie 4: Cool People Don’t Plan

Well, I’d rather be uncool and successful, with a plan to get where I want to go; than cool, chaotic, unorganized, and no idea where I should be going. While this subtitle is written in jest, I have seen a huge negative stigma around planning. That it is hard, not fun, and a waste of time. Get over it, leaders do hard things. Planning can bring so much success, that it is worth every bit of angst, and the time spent planning, if done properly, will more than make-up for the whatever things you would have been doing during the planning session.

Great Leadership Hinges on Great Planning

Between the previous post, 25 Stellar Reasons Why You Need a Killer Plan, and this post, I hope you are now convinced on the importance and value of planning. To be a great leader you have to have the ability to plan. Business and life have so much chaos, and so much uncertainty, that leaders need to take the time to plan their success. Whether in life or business – hoping for success – is never as fruitful as planning for it.

What other lies have you heard about planning, and what is holding you back from being a better planner? Let me know any questions you have on planning, or anything about planning that frustrates you in the comment section.

Planning – 25 Stellar Reasons Why You Need a Killer Plan


Do you want to know a little secret to success? You want to know how to focus and prioritize your work? You want to know how to get yourself or your organization out of a funk, and increase success many fold over? Start planning. Planning isn’t sexy, it is often grueling, tiring, and frustrating, which is why many people and organizations, fail to create proper plans to make themselves or their business more successful. There are plans of many types. Strategic Plans, Annual Plans, Quarterly Plans, Monthly Plans, Sales Plans, Marketing Plans, Life Plans, Success Plans, Execution Plans, and the list goes on and on… In the next week of posts, more or less, I’m going to dive into this topic of planning. I’ll be sharing the elements of a good plan, how planning can save a bad strategy, the lies and myths of planning, and different types of plans, as well as what needs to be in them. Before we dive into that, one must have a desire to take themselves or their organization to a new level, they have to not just plan for success, but plan well. If you have any doubt on the importance of planning, take a gander at these 25 stellar benefits.

25 Stellar Reasons to Start Planning Now!

  1. A plan helps you stay focused
  2. A plan helps you assess our progress
  3. A plan helps to avoid unnecessary risks so they can be overcome or avoided
  4. A plan helps drive creative and strategic thinking
  5. A plan provides clarity on activities, terminology, and methods
  6. A plan reinforces your proposed budget and gives it teeth
  7. A plan helps to overcome shortcomings
  8. A plan helps to avoid over commitment
  9. A plan helps you to be proactive, instead of reactive
  10. A plan helps you say no
  11. A plan helps you prioritize activity
  12. A plan puts you in control
  13. A plan provides motivation
  14. A plan provides understanding
  15. A plan provides accountability
  16. A plan solidifies what you want to accomplish
  17. A plan provides a road-map
  18. A plan helps you understand your ideal client
  19. A plan helps you understand your market
  20. A plan helps to identify gaps
  21. A plan saves money and time in the end
  22. A plan increases execution
  23. A plan separates the kids from the adults (figuratively speaking)
  24. A plan gives you freedom
  25. A plan sets you up for success

If you still have doubts about planning, stay tuned for the rest of the week. Lots of good stuff to come.

Please let me know if you have any other great reasons why planning is important, and also let me know any questions you have on planning, or anything about planning that frustrates you in the comment section.

Execution Explained – In a Tiny Nutshell

Execution-In-A-Nutshell-Todd-Nielsen“Everything is theoretically impossible, until it is done.” An American science-fiction author, Robert A. Heinlein, is responsible for capturing the essence of execution in these  eight simple words.

Execution is simply translating ideas into action. It is getting things done to achieve a goal, desire, or vision. People define success in business very differently; it might be by their profitability, their culture, their size, being “#1,” or a hundred other things. In the end, no success can be achieved if people can’t get things done.

Going from “A” to “B” in real life is never easy, or we would all be accomplished in our fields. So what are the specific steps of executing a purpose? Well for a business it can be complicated and far reaching, but if I had to throw a process that can take months into a nutshell it would consist of these basic actions:

Write Down What You Want To See Happen. Make it as plain and detailed as possible. Write it all down, then try to simplify and clarify the goals as much as possible.

Prioritize Your Goals. Which one is most critical? Which one will have the biggest impact? Start with that one—not the one that is easiest, or most familiar to you. Don’t assume you can do it all. It is better to focus on what you can achieve.

Evaluate And Examine It. Visualize this goal as a destination on a map, while you examine routes to get there. Which routes are possible, and by what means? Are the impossible routes really impossible? What if you were to create a route—be a trailblazer? Continuing this analogy, look at the landscape. What are the obstacles (the competition)? Where are your fallback routes? What or who do you need to reach your destination?

Research And Collaborate. Talk to people who know more than you do. Talk to people who think differently than you do. Get all the perspectives you can on your destination.

Make A Plan And A Timeline. Be specific. Write down everything, create your map. You can always modify the details later, but you cannot modify what you haven’t written down.

Break Down The Plan Into Small, Doable Actions. The biggest problem with execution is that most people look too far ahead when they need to be watching the road right in front of them. Break down everything; when things will get done, who will do them, how you will determine if you have achieved the small actions. A series of small steps can lead a long way toward your destination, if you have done all the preparation beforehand.

…and finally,

Don’t give up. Change of course if you have to, change vehicles when necessary; but if you’re ever going to get there… keep going.

Execution is what makes the world turn, and its what turns companies into huge successes. If you tell your spouse that you love them, but you don’t execute on those words and show your love, then its doomed. The same goes for business. You just gotta execute!

Differentiation & Vanilla Ice Cream | The Leadership Book Corner

DifferentiationI know I am an odd one, but I actually like vanilla ice cream, in fact it is my favorite flavor. Yet, even vanilla ice cream has a lot of varieties, and there are a few brands that are greatly superior than the others. Whether your business is about ice cream, candy, technology, widgets, or some other gadget …differentiation is one of the things that separates the good from great!

In order to have great differentiation, you have to have a great strategy. Tweet This!

Steve Van Remortel, takes on this subject in his book Stop Selling Vanilla Ice Cream: The Scoop on Increasing Profit by Differentiating Your Company through Strategy and Talent. As the title implies this is not another book about differentiation through innovation, branding or marketing – but through great strategy development and talent development.

In this book Steve explores 4 phases of his, “Stop Selling Vanilla Ice Cream” process, these are:

Phase 1: Planning Process Preparation – This phase is focused on building a team and making sure everyone on the team is in the right place where they will bring the greatest value. It involves collecting the content that is needed to make sure the strategy development is effective.

Phase 2: Building the Team and Strategy Development Preparation –This phase is focused on various models and exercises to build and develop a team and improve the team communications. It delves into laying the foundation for greater strategy development.

Phase 3: Strategy Development – As the title implies this is where the actual strategy is developed and defined. In this process the team discusses and analyses the organization’s competencies and target market, and then create a strategy based on those results.

Phase 4: Strategy Implementation – This is the one I am big on …the execution. Steve takes the reader through more planning to make sure that departments and individuals can now implement the strategy.

I really liked how he used a real company, Connecting Cultures, Inc.  throughout the book to explain the process from beginning to end. It helped to conceptualize how the process would look and be deployed in an organization. The book includes access to online templates and resources to help you in your own implementation as well. Even if you do not implement the process, there is some great knowledge on strategy that would be valuable for any leader.

Steve’s book was just launched last week, go pick-up a copy today!

The Urgency For Good Leadership

Leadership“There is no tomorrow to remember if we don’t do something today, and to live most fully today, we must do that which is of greatest importance. Let us not procrastinate those things which matter most.” This message from Thomas S. Monson is eloquently said, yet it is advice that has been received over and over from leadership figures for years. The concept has been a said a million different ways, and yet it has taken me years to fully comprehend the deep significance in my leadership and personal success.

There are a lot of businesses still struggling in this economy. There are still a lot of good people without jobs and a lot of good people struggling personally and financially. There are people working long hours for little pay and struggling to make ends meet.

With that said, there is something that really breaks my heart and cuts me to the core. It boggles my mind and I struggle to comprehend the reasoning. I can only come to a conclusion that people are emotionally broke. The problem I am referring to is the unwillingness to become greater today, for a better tomorrow. I talk with a lot of business owners and employees of businesses that know things are not peachy. Yet what are they doing to improve their ability. Do they read books, to overcome their weaknesses and find answers to their problems? Do they read blogs of experts that teach tidbits of clues on a million topics of self-improvement? Do they make goals and plans and actually stick to those plans?

It breaks my heart that I can see the capacity of individuals, that they cannot see in themselves. So instead of a book, instead of a blog, instead of goals, instead of asking for help, instead of preparing for the future…….they “do their job,” go home, and “veg.”

The world needs good leadership, our nation needs leaders, our businesses need leaders. Leaders and managers that have a hunger and thirst for knowledge, improvement, and execution. These are the people that will get ahead, these are the people that will understand, these are the people that will have a brighter future – because, “There is no tomorrow to remember if we don’t do something today”

So, now that you’ve read this article, how are you going to use this information to create urgency and preparation for a better tomorrow?

Please take a moment and share your ideas in the comments section below, share this with your social media friends, and subscribe to receive A Slice of Leadership notices, and occasional leadership advice, articles, tips and freebies.

Achieving Success with Personal Leadership

Personal LeadershipThe world is full of recipes for success, but many times we forget that success comes from within ourselves with work that we do. I would even claim that success is mainly about attitude. When you have the right attitude, you focus on the right things, obstacles are there to overcome, you feel better and work more efficiently. I am sure you know what happens if you have a bad attitude: nothing seems to work at that time. Here are some questions for you to ask to become more successful through your own attitude towards other people and life. Even though you may not have answers to every one of them, thinking about these matters will already take you towards your personal success.

Am I sure that those I love, feel loved by me? 

Love is the all-healing force of the world. Too many couples go days, weeks or even months without showing each other their love. Everyone wants to be loved, but even more everyone wants to love.  Any bad day will become better when you love someone so that it shows. And do not limit your love just to your spouse; tell your parents, best friends or to any other people that you love them and see the difference in your personal success!

Do I feel grateful every day for having whatever I have or get today?

Every day when I go to bed I thank for at least three things. It really lifts up your spirit to be grateful for what you have or you got that day. And do not limit it only that; thank for what you are going to get also! You can be brave and thank beforehand for what you are going to get. Try it out for one week and see how it changes your thinking. When you face hard times, it is much easier when you are thankful for other things that you already have. And if those hard times will not kill you, they will make you stronger and that is something to be grateful! Thanking beforehand for what you will get will set your mind towards getting that thing.

Have I done my best to avoid unkind acts and words?

Think only positive. There is nothing to gain by revenge, doing bad acts, saying bad things or even thinking bad things about anything. You are what you think, so if you think well, you are good. And people judge you by what you do, so if you do unkind acts, people think you are bad. So, do yourself a favor and avoid all bad acts, words and thoughts. That will promote your personal success by being the person, who everyone wants to hang around with.

What can I do today to make the world better place?

All of us can do something to make this world better place for everyone, every day. What have you done or what are you going to do today? As you well know: what goes around comes around.

Have I helped anyone less fortunate?

You can read this, so for sure you are doing better than many other people in this world (many of them cannot read, do not have Internet, etc.) so what can you do to help less fortunate people? Giving is the start of receiving process…

Have I done and reviewed my personal success plan?

Better tomorrow is earned today. So, have you done and reviewed a good, sound personal success plan for better future? You have very limited time in your life, so you better use it wisely. Have you written personal mission statement? Have you set goals for this and next year? Have you identified your roles in your life? And did you write all that down and review it regularly so that you stay on the track?

What worthwhile I have yet to accomplish?

What is your dream? Are you working towards it? Did you know that only difference between a dream and a goal is that are you working towards it? What is out there something that you really want to accomplish? Have you done a road-map and are you walking along it? Many dreams can come true if you just work persistently towards it.

What wonderful memories do I have?

If you want to dwell in past, you should then dwell only in good memories. Get rid of bad memories by writing them down, learning whatever you can from them and then forgetting them. Enjoy the feeling of good memories and make bad memories tools for learning and getting over them. Only good memories are of value to you (bad memories have value in teachings, not in memories itself).

Does my integrity hold as well in public as in privacy?

Are you living a double life? If yes, then quit it. The reason is that if you live your life by any other rules than by your internal ones, you will have conflicts and loose energy in thinking what should you do in each situation. Establish yourself ground rules that you can live by in every situation. And review those rule, if needed. Deny those activities that do not suit your integrity and go full with the ones that are in inner peace with you.

Each of these questions are big ones and you can easily find many books to help you on your journey. Only thing you need to bear in mind is what you really want to achieve and keep on working towards it and one day you will succeed for sure!

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Leadership: It is not about you! Get over it.

LeadershipLeadership is not just a title; and a leadership title, does not necessarily make someone a leader. There are many unsung people in every organisation who exercise the attributes of a leader everyday without the recognition of title. These are the ones who take ownership for their own area of the organisation. They do the best they can to fulfill the cause or vision.  They are often un-thanked, forgotten, and overlooked.

What a leader needs to remember is that they are not the most important person in the organisation. A great leader is more concerned with the vision and cause of the organisation than their own position.

A great leader does not want or need people to think like them, but rather to be able to freely think for themselves. The Japanese poet/philosopher, Matsuo Bashō 1644–1694 says, “Do not seek to follow the footsteps of men of old.  Seek what they sought!”

This is a great lesson that is often overlooked. Do not wish to be like the leader, rather seek the vision that they have and own it for yourself. The difficulty begins where there exists an egocentric leader in charge. The egocentric leader will see the up-and-coming leader as a threat to their own position and will do all they can to alienate and disempower the new leader.

Failure to train, empower, and trust up-and-coming leaders within the organisation will ultimately lead to the failure of it to set or achieve long term societal changing goals. By not establishing clear succession plans the organisation may be doomed to disappear.

The focus of any organisation is to fulfill the vision that has been set. The role of the leader is to see that it happens. When the leader forgets about the cause to focus on the position then it is like a ship out of control heading for danger.

There are risks in leadership, tough decisions need to be made at times and someone will be accountable for them. For the leader to be so engrossed in their own stature and direction that they forget to listen to and trust subordinates is a disaster waiting to happen.

Leadership requires trust in a team of people, people who are like-purposed not like-minded. For there to be great decisions made, great debate must take place. There should be differences of opinions, clashes of wills, and challenges faced.

An egocentric leader will surround themselves with like-minded people, dare I say “yes men”, who will just blindly follow the leader wherever they go without questioning them. This is a highly dangerous situation and I would suggest if you find yourself in that situation look for the exits now.

If you are the leader, take some time out over the next few days to question yourself. Ask yourself “why did I accept this role?” “How important is the vision to me now?” “Is there someone else who could take over from me if I wasn’t around?” Now take action on your answers.

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